Crete, IL --- With the 2013 racing season in the books a couple of very familiar faces on the Chicago circuit toted home top honors in the training and driving ranks as veterans Perry Smith and Mike Oosting each completed “daily doubles” by sweeping the training and driving titles, respectively, at Maywood and Balmoral Park.
The 62-year-old Smith, who is a Crete, Ill., resident, began his career back in the mid-1970s as a driver-trainer before becoming a full-time trainer in 1989. Since then Smith trained-horses have racked up 1,296 victories and more than $8.3 million in purse money. Currently, Smith has 35 head in training at Sawgrass Farms.
“I did a lot of racing at both tracks this year,” said Perry. “The key to being successful is knowing where your horses fit and getting them in those spots. If you’re realistic about them and put them in the right spots you can be successful and make money with them.”
In the Maywood standings Smith recorded 69 victories from 347 starts for a 19.9 percent win ratio. David McCaffrey finished second with 56 winners from 426 starters while Angie Affrunti was third with 50 wins in 221 starts.
The Balmoral title came down to the final weekend but when the smoke cleared it was Smith edging out another veteran, Nelson Willis, by a 71-69 margin. Smith sent out 422 starters at the Crete oval for a 16.8 percent win ratio. Mike Brink finished third with 52 trips to the winner’s circle.
On the driving side of the docket, Mike Oosting continued to dominate the ranks, defeating Casey Leonard by a margin of 219-201 at Maywood Park and 270-197 at Balmoral Park for his “daily double.” John DeLong finished third in the Maywood standings while Dave Magee was third at Balmoral.
The Balmoral title was the eighth in the last nine years for the Beecher, Ill., resident who now sports 5,651 career wins and more than $35.5 million in purse earnings. It also marked the eighth straight year the 52-year-old Oosting has finished with a UDR of higher than .300.
For complete stats and information on both tracks, including the big Meadowlands handicapping contest taking place at Maywood Park and the Illinois OTBs which starts on Friday (Jan. 3), visit www.maywoodpark.com and www.balmoralpark.com.