From Churchill Downs
Two of the three “human races” run through the weather-abbreviated 24-day Fall Meet at Churchill Downs are nail-biters and likely to go down to the last two or three races on Sunday’s 11-race program.
While the crowns for the meet’s top owner and training were tight when the day began, there was no suspense in the contest for leading jockey. Corey Lanerie will need to clear a spot in his increasingly-crowded trophy case for another “Leading Rider” honor from Churchill Downs.
Heading into Sunday’s Fall Meet finale, Lanerie had ridden 34 winners and held an insurmountable advantage over second-place Shaun Bridgmohan (25 wins) and third-place Julian Leparoux (23).
With the Fall 2014 trophy already secured, Lanerie has won five straight riding crowns at Churchill Downs and seven of the last eight. He is knocking on the door of becoming one of the top 10 riders in the 140-year history of Churchill Downs with 619 career wins at the track heading into Sunday’s races. He currently ranks 11th on the track’s all-time win list behind Hall of Famers Pat Day and Calvin Borel.
“It’s awesome,” Lanerie said. “It’s a great feeling to have business where the owners and trainers are sticking behind me. I have the opportunity to ride a lot of horses, and a lot of the better horses, and it makes for a good meet.”
Lanerie enjoyed a solid career at tracks in Louisiana and Texas prior to his move north to Kentucky. It was a big decision and he was optimistic that he could make his presence known, but he admits it would have been difficult to dream that his decision would work out so well.
“I was scared to come here,” Lanerie recalled. “I was doing pretty good on the Louisiana and Texas circuit and I was scared to take a jump. But I made the move and I did okay the first few years, and then things started to click.”
Lanerie said he was fortunate to have veteran jockey’s agent Terry “Jaws” Miller on his side when he arrived in Kentucky. Miller’s connections and Lanerie’s ability resulted in early success, and he has steadily climbed the ladder each year since his arrival.
“Without him to get me started, I might not be here today,” Lanerie said. “It was kind of like a kick-start to be able to come and get on business right away without people knowing me. I think that’s been the big day.”
Lanerie, who will head to Florida at the end of the Fall Meet to ride through the winter at Gulfstream Park, has one stakes victory among his Fall Meet wins at Churchill Downs. He was aboard Bill Cubbedge’s Molly Morgan for her victory in the $200,000-added Chilukki (Grade II).