Matias, Alvarado, Torres, Sanguino and Belvoir take home Portland Meadows crowns
The names atop the Portland Meadows Jockey and Trainer standings were all new faces to the top, as Javier Matias took his first Thoroughbred riding title, Felimon Alvarado his first training title, Luis Torres his first Quarter Horse riding title at Portland Meadows, Juan Sanguino won his first Quarter Horse training title, and Howard Belvoir took home the Leading Owner crown.
Javier Matias is a veteran of the Northwest racing scene and has been a solid rider at both Portland Meadows and Emerald Downs for a number of years. But this was truly a breakthrough season for Javier, who won with 70 mounts during the fifty-five day season. Matias got off to a very fast start and opened a comfortable lead in the standings and finished ten wins ahead of Eliska Kubinova who finished second. Matias was clearly the earnings leader among riders as well, with his mounts totaling $282,116 in earnings for the season. He scored various Stakes and Handicap wins including winning an Overnight Handicap aboard Vegas Flyer and the Oregon Ms. Stakes with Bahati Gold. Maybe his biggest win of the season came aboard Swiss Exploit as he rated that runner perfectly off the pace before drawing away to win the $25,000 Route Claiming Series Final. "I really had some great horses this season," said Matias. "I really gave a lot of effort this year and am so happy."
Matias, who celebrated his 40th birthday earlier in the season, will now head to Emerald Downs to ride when their meet kicks off in mid April. For more information on Javier CLICK HERE
Felimon Alvarado secured his first training title at Portland Meadows as he started off hot and finished hot, winning 34 times from just 104 starts on the year. Alvarado had a week to remember back in October when his runners went a perfect 6 for 6 over the course of the racing week from October 24th to October 26th (for story on that CLICK HERE). Alvarado did most his work with claiming horses, consistently putting them in good spots and the results of his horsemanship showed, as his horses finished in the money at a 55% rate. For more information on Felimon, CLICK HERE.
"This was the first year i've really had a lot of good horses," said Alvarado. "I was able to give some horses breaks and still have plenty to run. I'm so thankful to my owners and my help, and everybody really for all their help."
Alvarado said he'll run some at Hastings and Emerald, but will give many of his horses some time off to bring them back for the Summer Meet at Portland Meadows.
Luis Torres has won nearly every fair meet riding title available in Oregon and some in Washington, but scored his first Portland Meadows Title as he was the leading Quarter Horse jockey this season with 18 winners. Torres has collected previous titles at Sun Downs, Grants Pass, Prineville, Tillamook, and Union, and this year had a solid year, including numerous QH Stakes wins.
"I was so lucky to ride for good trainers and horses," said Torres. "People like John Harris, Hector Magallanes and so many others helped me to get to this title." Torres took numerous stakes events this year both Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds including multiple stakes wins with LG Jet for trainer John Harris. Torres also took home a $125,000 stakes event at Los Alamitos back in the fall. For more information about Luis, CLICK HERE
Juan Sanguino took home his first Quarter Horse training title at Portland Meadows this season and did so with 16 wins from just 65 starts, good for a 25% win clip. The 33 year old Hermiston, Oregon resident trained Sissis Little Nipper who finished first in all six of his starts this season, including a win in the Director's Handicap. Sissis Little Nipper was disqualified from one of those races, but no horse finished ahead of him in a race this season.
"I'm so happy to have been the leading trainer," said Sanguino. "I really had some good horses this season like Sissis Little Nipper and Hannibal Lector."
Howard Belvoir took the owners title with 15 wins from 87 runners sent to the post. "I really had a good crew down there this meet," said Belvoir. "We brought down a lot of horses that still had conditions, and that's what it takes to win. My crew really did a wonderful job." Belvoir is perenially a top owner and trainer at Emerald Downs in Auburn, Washington, where he has won the Grade 3 Longacres Mile twice, in 2008 with Wasserman and 2009 with Assessment.