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Digest (Jan. 27): Jockey Weston Hamilton wins first race as Eclipse champion

Jockey Weston Hamilton won his first race as an Eclipse Award champion Sunday at Laurel Park, guiding P & H Stables and C & B Stables’ Weekend Flyer to a 3 ½-length win in the fourth race.
Jockey Weston Hamilton won his first race as an Eclipse Award champion Sunday at Laurel Park, guiding P & H Stables and C & B Stables’ Weekend Flyer to a 3 ½-length win in the fourth race.

Jockey Weston Hamilton won his first race as an Eclipse Award champion Sunday at Laurel Park, guiding P & H Stables and C & B Stables’ Weekend Flyer to a 3 ½-length win in the fourth race.

Hamilton, 20, was riding for the second day since being honored as North America’s top apprentice jockey, leading all bug riders with 118 wins and $3.5 million in purse earnings. He began his career as a journeyman Dec. 22.

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Weekend Flyer ($7.40), a daughter of 2003 Horse of the Year Mineshaft, broke her maiden in her fifth career start and second of 2019 for trainer Charles Frock, winning the $25,000 maiden claimer for 3-year-old fillies in 1:39.45 for 1 mile over a fast main track.

“I love winning here. This is my home. It feels good to win at home. It felt good to just come right back and win one,” Hamilton said. “I’ve got to keep the ball rolling and keep riding hard.”

City of Light splashes to victory in $9 million Pegasus World Cupat Gulfstream Park.

Hamilton was at Gulfstream Park’s Sport of Kings Theater in Hallandale Beach, Fla., to pick up his award, becoming the 11th Maryland-based rider to earn the Eclipse as champion apprentice, joining a list that includes Hall of Famers Chris McCarron (1974) and Kent Desormeaux (1987) and contemporary Victor Carrasco (2013).

“It definitely is an honor and a blessing to be a part of that list. I’ve heard and seen a few of them ride and they’re really good riders, so it’s an honor to be included with them,” Hamilton said. “It was just real exciting. Honestly, I almost lost it a little bit. I had my whole family there and everybody was looking at me and it was a big deal for me and my family and everybody.”

More horse racing: Stronach Stables’ multiple graded-stakes winning millionaire Something Awesome exited Saturday’s $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream Park in good order after racing in contention for 6 furlongs before dropping back to be 10th behind City of Light. The 8-year-old gelding was doing well enough Sunday to return to the track for trainer Jose Corrales, who said both he and 6-year-old two-time stakes-winning stablemate Unbridled Juan will return to Laurel Park by the end of the week. Unbridled Juan ran fourth, beaten a total of two lengths, in a three-way photo finish behind winner Aztec Sense in the one-mile Fred W. Hooper (G3) on the Pegasus undercard. Breaking Lucky was second, a neck ahead of Fellowship, with another head back to Alex Cintron riding Unbridled Juan.

… Jockey Kent Desormeaux rallied X S Gold over the final furlong at Santa Anita to earn his 6,000th career victory. The 48-year-old Hall of Famer won the first race by a head for trainer Jim Cassidy to reach the plateau. Desormeaux won his first race at Evangeline Downs in his native Louisiana on July 13, 1986. He soon moved to Maryland and went on to be the nation’s leading rider in 1987 with 450 victories. Two years later, he again led the nation with 598 wins. In 1990, he relocated to Southern California. He has won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness three times each, the Belmont once and has six Breeders’ Cup victories.

Et cetera

Speed skater Biney defends title, sets world record

Speed skater Maame Biney defended her 500-meter world title, winning gold at the World Junior Short Track Championships in Montreal this weekend while setting a new junior world record. Biney, a native of Accra, Ghana’s capital, who moved into her father’s Rockville home at age 5 before relocating to her current residence of Reston, Va., recorded a time of 43.212 seconds in her quarterfinal round, beating the previous record of 43.55, set in 2017. “I love it,” Biney said. “I felt really good and skated really well. It’s a really good birthday gift, because my birthday is in two days.” Biney will travel to Dresden, Germany, this week to compete at the ISU World Cup Short Track.

Major League Soccer: D.C. United hired Dane Murphy as the club’s new technical director. Murphy, formerly of Real Salt Lake, will assist with the D.C. United first team in addition to building the roster of the club’s new United Soccer League side, Loudoun United FC.

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