Journeyman jockey Jorge Vargas Jr., riding his first full meet in Maryland, and Claudio Gonzalez, the state's leading trainer in 2017, were crowned meet champions on the closing day of Laurel Park 's 60-day winter-spring stand Sunday. Thanks to a three-win afternoon Saturday, Vargas took a 49-46 advantage over 19-year-old apprentice Wes Hamilton into Sunday's card, where he had four mounts. He won with Prime Time Man ($4.40) in the second race, Mila Jane ($2.60) in the sixth and Snow Fighter ($5.40) in the seventh to finish with 52 wins and more than $1.7 million in purse earnings from 267 mounts. Hamilton, also competing against his father and two-time Maryland riding champion Steve "Cowboy" Hamilton, was blanked in six mounts Sunday and wound up second in wins and purse money with nearly $1.2 million. Hamilton, who began riding professionally Dec. 11, had a meet-high 315 mounts. Gonzalez, 41, earned his sixth individual meet title and third in a row after Laurel's 2017 summer and fall stands. He did not have a horse entered Sunday, ending with a meet-high 40 wins, 155 starters and $1,082,637 in purse earnings. Kieron Magee, Maryland's leading trainer from 2014 to 2016, sent out Prime Time Man and Mila Jane on Sunday and finished second with 24 wins. Vargas and Gonzalez will carry their momentum into the Preakness Meet at Pimlico Race Course, which opens Thursday. The 12-day stand includes 15 stakes, eight graded, worth $3.7 million in purses highlighted by the 143rd running of the Preakness on May 19.
Mount men capture first NEC track title in 21 years
The Mount St. Mary's men's outdoor track and field team secured the team's first Northeast Conference championship in 21 years at the Mount's Morgan Track. The Mountaineers won a pair of gold medals Sunday as Sean Fahey captured first place in the triple jump while the 4x100m relay team of Keiko Martin, Justin Kimble, Andrew Lapreziosa and Workcuff won gold. The women's team finished in third place for the team's best finish since 2015. Senior D.J. Workcuff was named the men's Most Valuable Performer while freshman Kayla Barnes took home Most Outstanding Rookie Performer honors. Workcuff is the first Mountaineer to win the MVP honors on the men's side since Andre Smith in 1992. In the men's standings, the Mount captured first place with 172 points to edge Central Connecticut (170). It is the Mount's first men's outdoor track and field team championship since 1997. Sacred Heart won the women's meet with 136.5 points, followed by Central Connecticut (128) and Mount St. Mary's (122.5).
More college track and field: The Navy men's and women's teams each claimed the Patriot League outdoor championship titles this past weekend at Lafayette's Metzgar Fields Athletic Complex in Easton, Pa. The men's team recorded 281 points to earn its fifth consecutive outdoor title, while the women's team amassed 178.5 points to win the championship for the first time since 2012. Midshipmen women's coach Carla Criste and men's coach Jamie Cook each received Patriot League Coach of the Year honors, while freshman Clayton Thompson was picked Male Rookie of the Year. The Loyola Maryland women placed eighth with 25 points.
College baseball: Right-hander Alex Cuas allowed one unearned run and had a career-high seven strikeouts in seven innings to lead host Towson (13-35, 6-12 Colonial Athletic Association) to a 5-3 victory over College of Charleston (32-16, 14-7). Mark Grunberg hit a pair of RBI singles for the Tigers. ... UMBC fell, 5-1, to first-place Hartford (19-26, 13-5 America East ). Senior Matt Campbell hit a solo home run in the eighth for the Retrievers (18-23, 9-9). ... Mount St. Mary's (20-25, 14-11 NEC) beat Central Connecticut, 9-8, in extra innings to win the weekend series over the Blue Devils (15-26, 9-16) to remain in the conference playoff picture. Alex Kriss, Patrick Causa and Thomas Savastio led the Mount offense with three hits each and combined for three RBIs and two runs. Michael Kuypers allowed no runs in 42/3 innings and struck out three to earn his third win of the year.
Women's college tennis: The Johns Hopkins women beat visiting Haverford, 5-0, to win their 12th straight Centennial Conference championship, while the Blue Jays men defeated visiting Swarthmore, 5-0, for their 12th straight conference title.
Women's college golf: Maryland sophomore Xiaolin Tian travels to Austin, Texas, today to compete as one of 24 individuals in postseason play at the NCAA Austin Regional. Tian tees off at 10:40 a.m. at the par-72, 6,341-yard University of Texas Golf Club. There, she will compete against five other individuals. The low six teams and the low three individuals not on those teams will advance to the national championships May 18-23 at the Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.
National Women's Soccer League: The Washington Spirit fell, 2-0, against the host Utah Royals on Saturday night at Rio Tinto Stadium. Utah took an early lead on a seventh-minute strike by U.S. international Kelley O'Hara , assisted by Amy Rodriguez . Royals midfielder Diana Matheson added a goal in the 66th minute.
— From Sun staff and news services