With only four days left of the Churchill Downs spring meet, the race for the riding title is neck-and-neck between defending leading rider Corey Lanerie and Julien Leparoux.
Lanerie has won seven of the last eight Churchill Downs titles, including five in a row. He enters Sunday’s action with a 37-36 edge over Leparoux.
“I’m real happy with the way the meet has gone,” Lanerie said. “I’ve got a lot of support behind with the trainers and everything. I get to ride a lot of the better horses this meet, so it feels good.
“I’ve had a great meet, trying to get the riding title. It means a lot to me, because I have won so many, so it’s kind of like I want to hold that spot. You would hate to give it up. If I don’t get it, there are a lot of other good riders here, too, and as long as I can keep winning and making a good living, I’ll be very happy. But I definitely want to get it. It’s a goal in mind to get it, so I’m going to give it every chance I’ve got.”
Lanerie scored the second grade I victory of his career with Bill Cubbedge’s 6-year-old mare Molly Morgan in the La Troienne on Kentucky Oaks Day—the highlight of his meet. His first was aboard Hooh Why in the 2009 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland.
“It was a big deal to win that race, especially on Oaks Day, (it was) pretty special,” Lanerie said.
Lanerie plans on shipping around to different tracks after the spring meet concludes, before going to upstate New York in late July to ride full-time at Saratoga Race Course throughout their summer meet.
Leparoux is a nine-time leading rider at Churchill Downs, but hasn’t won a local title since the 2011 fall meet.