by Jennie Rees (Paulick Report)
Corey Lanerie rode at Ellis Park Friday for the first time this summer as the four-time meet titlist resumed riding regularly following the June 22 death of his wife, Shantel.
With his third mount of the day, Lanerie was back in the winner’s circle for the fourth race, with track announcer Jimmy McNerney saying, “Hide the Honey with Corey Lanerie on her back, and an angel on his.”
“It feels great to be back riding, doing what I love,” Lanerie told the media before the first race. “Kind of get life moving forward again, because it’s hard. I think when I get back to riding, it will kind of get my mind freed and back to normal life. It’s going to be weird. I really don’t know what I’ll feel like out there. I actually rode last weekend, and it was pretty good. Once I get on the horse, I focus on the race and my job, whatever I have to do. I think I’ll go out there and do my job and just let it go as it is, and I think I’ll be fine.”
Shantel Lanerie was undergoing treatment for Stage 1 breast cancer when she underwent emergency surgery for an infected colon on June 21. She died the next day.
Lanerie wears an undershirt with “Fight with Shantel” on the collar embroidered in pink, as well as a bracelet.
“Before it happened, we’d ordered these shirts to ‘Fight with Shantel,’ so I’m going to just keep wearing them in honor of her,” he said. “The bracelet is the same thing. A bunch of us are wearing them, and we won’t forget her.”
The Laneries have a 10-year-old daughter, Brittlyn. Shantel and Brittlyn were regular fixtures at the racetrack, known for their splendid attire when Lanerie received an award or reached a milestone victory.
“There will be an empty spot for sure,” Lanerie said. “Because she supported me through thick and thin. She was there when I wasn’t doing any good and at my best moments.”
The jockey said his daughter is doing well. He said Brittlyn is with family in Louisiana and would be doing some traveling with close friends. But he acknowledged that facing life as a single parent is daunting.
“I think it’s sunken in,” he said. “Now I’m just scared of whatever the future has in store and whatever I’m going to have to do. I was lucky. She did everything, so it’s going to be a learning process for me. That’s kind of where I’m at, and I’m just going to take it day by day.