Jockeys Guild News and Articles
Thursday, March 06, 2014
Jockey Aaron Gryder is right where he wants to be
Gryder has ridden all over the world, but he says he's back in Southern California to stay and will ride Blingo in Santa Anita Handicap on Saturday.
5:42 PM PST, March 5, 2014
Jockey Aaron Gryder's life is not just a story. It's an odyssey.
When he climbs aboard Blingo on Saturday in the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap, the most prestigious race for older thoroughbreds west of the Mississippi, he will be an afterthought.
Gryder doesn't mind that. He understands.
This Big Cap, after all, has three of the best horses in the world. All three could have easily skipped this one and headed for Dubai and the March 29 Dubai World Cup, with a $10-million purse that makes it the richest in the world.
Santa Anita will offer only $750,000, but that — as well as the chance to run in great competition at the track where they will once again hold this year's Breeders' Cup — was enough to keep Mucho Macho Man, Will Take Charge and Game On Dude in the U.S.A.
Mucho Macho Man won last year's Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita. Will Take Charge lost by a head in that race and was the Eclipse Award winner as the best 3-year-old. Game On Dude, favored in last year's Classic, has won two Big Caps and could become the first in the race's 77 years to win three times.
It's easy to get lost in that limelight, even though the Blingo-Gryder length-and-a-half victory at Santa Anita in the Feb. 8 Grade II San Antonio was impressive.
"Hard to overlook those big horses," Gryder says. Blingo has morning-line odds of 8-1 for Saturday's race.
It's not hard to overlook Gryder. He hasn't been around much.
He is 43 now. The teenager from West Covina got his first win at Caliente in 1987 at age 17, and then proceeded to win the jockey title that year at Hollywood Park as an apprentice. Those were the days when the jockey colony here included names such as McCarron, Shoemaker and Pincay, among others.
So, there was no question about Gryder's talent. Only his restlessness. His career was always on the move. He has been to Dubai 17 times, Saudi Arabia 28 times. He has ridden in Hong Kong and during the 2012 London Olympics, he was riding at Ascot.
Gryder should have been a consultant on George Clooney's movie "Up in the Air." Gryder is a poster child for bonus miles.
Now, the racing prodigal son of Southern California has come home. For good, he says.
"I don't have any regrets," he says. "I saw the world, I saw many great places and great things. But I also mismanaged my career. It took me 26 years to learn my lesson, but I'm here now, and staying."
He returned in October. He has two children, is divorced and moved in with good friend and fellow jockey Mike Smith, a Hall of Famer who has mostly stayed in Southern California.
One night, as Gryder struggled to reacquaint himself with the racing scene here, he was at dinner with Smith. At the next table was trainer John Shirreffs and his wife, Dottie. Smith encouraged a conversation, Gryder said he'd like to work some of Shirreffs' horses, and Shirreffs said OK.
Neither was a stranger to the other. Sherriffs had trained Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo and his gentle preparation of Zenyatta created a racing legend. Gryder, though mostly missing in action around the Southland, had given the racing world at least two monumental memories.
The first was in the 2009 Dubai World Cup, back when its purse was a measly $6 million. That year, he took a middle-odds Well Armed wire to wire to win by an astonishing 14 lengths.
Then, in the 2012 Breeders' Cup Marathon, a 1 3/4-mile race, he rode a 9-year-old Argentine horse named Calidoscopio. In the final turn, Calidoscopio was so far back he wasn't even in the picture. Then, Gryder turned him loose and he won going away.
That looks routine compared with last June 17 and the Brooklyn Handicap at Belmont Park. This time, more than 30 lengths back as the horses got to the final turn on a muddy track, Calidoscopio, now 10, revved up under Gryder's ride and won in his last few strides.
The race caller, Larry Collmus, told the crowd the winner had "come from the clouds."
After several weeks of working horses for Shirreffs, Gryder got a text message one day. It was Shirreffs, asking if he would ride Blingo in the San Antonio. Equally excited about the assignment was Smith, who had ridden Blingo seven times.
"He said he thought I had a great horse, that I had a real chance," Gryder says. "We looked at film. He told me tendencies, what to look for."
Smith, of course, was to be in the same race. He has ridden Game On Dude for eight of his last nine races and was on the favorite for the San Antonio. But when Game On Dude didn't fire and finished well back, Gryder and Blingo were the team of the hour.
After all the picture-taking and back-slapping, Gryder got to the jockey room, looked at his phone and saw a special text, coming from probably the most disappointed man in the room.
"It said, 'Great ride, man,' " Gryder said. "It was from Mike. He was 30 feet away at his locker but wanted to be sure I got it."
Saturday, Smith will be on Game On Dude again, the legendary Gary Stevens on Mucho Macho Man, and veteran Luis Saez on Will Take Charge.
In the stands, rooting for Gryder, will be mom Joyce and grandma Minnie, 93.
"I'll just get Blingo into our own little vacuum, like before," Gryder said. "Just comfortable."
Which is what Gryder says he is now too. Home and comfortable.
Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
Thursday, March 06, 2014
Wayne Lukas is one asking questions at ‘It’s My Derby’ museum fundraiser
If you think record-setting trainer D. Wayne Lukas is a great interview subject, you should see him in action as the one asking questions.
For the fourth year, Lukas will be the moderator for a lively panel discussion (that’s really a conversation) among past winners as part of an important Kentucky Derby Museum fundraiser entitled “It’s My Derby.” In fact, Lukas came up with the idea as a means to raise money for the museum with relatively little overhead. The first one was 2010 during Breeders’ Cup Week, with the Hall of Fame trainer taking over as conversation facilitator the next year.
“I said, ‘There are so many people who don’t have an opportunity to really get to know the participants in the Kentucky Derby, nor do they get to hear the stories that are so interesting behind the scenes: What goes into it, what happened and didn’t happen. A lot of it is hilarious, a lot is very interesting,’” Lukas said by phone from Arkansas.
“It’s fun, and everybody enjoys it. I think the audience enjoys it. But I think the guys on the stage, the camaraderie come out real strong, as well as the audience getting an up-close and personal look.”
This year’s event will be April 18 in Keeneland’s sales pavilion, with the participants including 2013 Derby winner Orb’s co-owner and breeder Stuart Janney and trainer Shug McGaughey, along with Barclay Tagg, winner of the 2003 Derby and Preakness with Funny Cide and two-time winning jockey Chris McCarron (Alysheba in 1987 and Go for Gin in ‘94).
Lukas, a four-time winner of America’s greatest horse race, is a master at drawing out participants’ memories of their Derby and racing experiences. So what the fans witness is members of the coveted Derby-winning have a relaxed conversation.
It’s like Jon Gruden or Bill Cowher interviewing a current NFL coach or player (or ESPN/ESPN 680′s Bob Valvano interviewing anybody in any sport).
You might be the best reporter out there, but there’s nothing like someone who has been there, done that for really getting the good stuff. Especially if that person knows how to ask questions, at which Lukas turns out to be a natural.
“I think they have a tendency to relax and maybe tell some stuff they wouldn’t tell otherwise,” Lukas said. “Of course, I know a lot of it, so I can pull it out and get the right story, too.
“… First of all you get the respect of the guy you’re after. They know you’ve done it. It’s not like I’m sitting up there going, ‘Gosh, what’s it feel like to win the Kentucky Derby.’ We’ve won four; I know exactly what it feels like. So you can push a different button. And leading questions like you can look at a Jerry Bailey or a Pat Day and you say, ‘What’s the most difficult thing in the race?’ And it’s surprising some of the answers they come up with, the strategy and the plotting that go into it.”
This is among the reasons that Lukas was awarded the Eclipse Award of Merit, for his contributions to the sport beyond just the record stats he’s assembled: Museum communications director Wendy Treinen said she gives “total props” to Lukas on It’s My Derby.
“It’s his concept as a fundraiser for us and he is essential to its success,” Treinen said. “He shared the idea of a casual conversation with winners and the opportunity for fans to ask questions, over lunch one day. With his support, this event has raised more than $100,000 for the museum over the last three years. The event truly captures our mission to share the Derby experience and to honor the horses and humans that make this The Greatest Race.
“The respect that his friends and industry connections have for Wayne has opened the many doors necessary for us to pull this off. He pushes us to think bigger and better every year. When Wayne makes a suggestion, you make it happen. In true Wayne Lukas style, ‘no’ just means you didn’t ask the question
In a twist this year, Funny Cide and 2009 Derby winner Mine That Bird (in town as part of the cast’s bus tour promoting the movie “50 to 1”) will be on hand in Keeneland’s outdoor sales walking ring.
The event includes a live auction of one-of-kind Derby Week experience packages with each racing celebrity. Lukas, for instance, stages a brunch at his home, his guests being able to view more than 40 years of trophies from America’s most prestigious races. Other auction items have included dinner at Jeff Ruby’s or another top-line Louisville restaurant, or a round of golf with the Derby participant.
“Asking Derby winners to spend time with strangers during the highest pressure time of the year, isn’t easy,” Treinen said. “When they hear that Wayne is personally asking for their involvement, and hosting a brunch in his own home — sometimes two that week between training and the races — they have been happy to help.”
A success every year, look for this It’s My Derby to be monstrous its first year at Keeneland. This is exactly the sort of thing Keeneland embraces and does so well with their terrific facilities, resources they’re not afraid to tap into and desire to do things that promote the sport and help bring in new fans.
It will be stunning if it’s not heavily promoted, so get your tickets early.
The general admission ticket is $50, which includes appetizer food stations, cash bar and open seating. The event is scheduled to begin immediately following Keeneland’s last race, approximately 6 p.m. The $150 V.I.P. ticket includes a pre-event reception (scheduled for about 5:30 p.m.) with open bar, specialty bourbon tastings, a chance to mingle with panelists and premium seating.
Also available is a $15 walk-in ticket, with open seating and cash bar (food not available). For more information, contact Carla Grego at email@example.com or 502-992-5905.
The cast changes every year, with past participants including Bob Baffert (twice), Nick Zito, Pat Day, Angel Cordero, Gary Stevens, Jerry Bailey, John Velazquez, Mike Pegram, Carl Nafzger, Calvin Borel, Michael Matz, Todd Pletcher and Edgar Prado.
Thursday, March 06, 2014
RIDING LEGENDS TO APPEAR AT INAUGURAL JOCKEYS AND JEANS EVENT
Hall of Fame jockeys Pat Day, Jacinto Vasquez and Walter Blum, along with recently retired rider Ramon Dominguez and Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Mike Manganello, will be among the attendees March 29 during racing at Tampa Bay Downs for the inaugural Jockeys and Jeans fundraiser under the big tent in the Backyard Picnic Area.
Jockeys and Jeans is open to the public. Tickets for the casual-wear event are $35, with proceeds benefiting the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, a 501(c)(3) organization that provides financial assistance to about 60 former jockeys who have suffered catastrophic on-track injuries.
The long-term objective of the PDJF is to create an endowment that will enable the fund to be self-sufficient. Dominguez, who suffered a career-ending traumatic brain injury in a spill at Aqueduct in January of 2013, will be the featured speaker.
Other retired jockeys planning to attend are Diane Crump, the first female jockey to ride in the Kentucky Derby; Barbara Jo Rubin, who at age 19 in 1969 became the first woman to win a race on a recognized track, at Charles Town; and William Klinke, a former Tampa Bay Downs jockey nicknamed “The Colonel.”
A general autograph session will begin at 2:30 p.m. on the first floor of the grandstand.
The 37-year-old Dominguez has become an unpaid advocate for the work done by the PDJF on behalf of disabled riders. He was forced to retire last year as a result of injuries incurred when his mount clipped heels with another horse, unseating the jockey, who was kicked by a trailing horse. Dominguez was hospitalized three weeks before being released.
He retired with 4,985 victories and $191,615,698 in purse money won. He won Eclipse Awards as Outstanding Jockey in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Dominguez’s situation has raised awareness within the Thoroughbred industry of the long-term effects of concussions and head injuries on jockeys years after they have retired from the saddle.
Fans attending Jockeys and Jeans will have the opportunity to take photos with the jockeys, enjoy a barbecue luncheon and beverages and bid on unique racing memorabilia. Everyone will receive an autographed commemorative poster and there will be a cash bar. The gates will open at 11 a.m. and the first race is at 12:25 p.m.
Tickets may be purchased online at the PDJF website at www.pdjf.org
For details, call Eddie Donnally at (818) 653-3711.
Thursday, March 06, 2014
Jockey T.D. Houghton Recovering After Mountaineer Spill
Jockey T.D. “Terry” Houghton is recovering from surgery for injuries sustained in Saturday’s fourth race at Mountaineer Park. According to agent Tim Freking, Houghton, 44, sustained multiple breaks in his collarbone and a fracture of his T9 vertebra when mount Syeshacat went down inside the quarter pole. Houghton underwent two surgeries for the fractures at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Presbyterian Hospital, one to fuse the T9 and another to insert a plate to repair his collarbone.
“He was extremely fortunate not to be paralyzed or even to be killed,” said Freking.
Surgeons expect Houghton to make a full recovery. He is expected to heal in eight weeks, but may take longer to be back in the starting gates.
Houghton was unconscious after falling and remained groggy for the first few days after the accident, according to Freking. The jockey, who picked up his 5,000th career win last year, was frustrated to have fallen so early in the meet, but remains in good spirits and is determined to be back to normal soon.
“He just wants to ride,” said Freking. “That’s all the kid wants to do, so it’s a disappointment for him that he went down on the first day.”
Houghton remained in the ICU on Wednesday afternoon but was expected to transfer out of the unit by Wednesday night. He did not suffer nerve damage in the incident, and is sitting up and talking.
The Colorado native began galloping horses at Hazel Park in Michigan while he was still in high school, and was an integral part of the state’s jockey colony for many years. He has suffered brain damage during a serious spill at Great Lakes Downs in 2002 which took a year’s worth of therapy to overcome.
Freking said he had not received word on Syeshacat’s but knew the filly had stayed down on the track after the fall.
Thursday, March 06, 2014
Lebron is Hilton Garden Inn Jockey of the Month at Tampa Bay
From Tampa Bay Communications Department
Throughout his relatively short career, jockey Victor Lebron has displayed a knack for making a quick positive impression.
In 2008, in his first graded stakes race, Lebron piloted Swift Temper to a four-and-a-half length victory in the Grade III Gardenia Handicap at Ellis Park at odds of 21-1.
Last year, in his first meet at Oaklawn Park, Lebron won four races during the first five days, including the American Beauty Stakes aboard Cheery.
It shouldn’t have come as any surprise, then, that the 29-year-old native of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands won his first race this season at Tampa Bay Downs after moving his tack from Turfway Park in Kentucky in late January.
Since that victory on 4-year-old filly Hot French Fries for owner Rolf Obrecht and trainer Anthony Granitz, Lebron has established himself in the top rank of Oldsmar riders under agent Doug Davis. With 10 victories from 55 mounts – including the $100,000 Super Stakes on Feb. 22 aboard Our Double Play for Rigney Racing and trainer Phil Bauer – Lebron is the Hilton Garden Inn Jockey of the Month.
“No matter where I go, I always try to try my best and get along with everybody, and I always seem to fall into the right spot,” said Lebron, who has ridden 1,376 winners since starting his career in 2005. “Having a lot of riders here didn’t bother me. Wherever I go, I consider myself one of the best riders at the track, and I work hard to keep that level of confidence.”
Lebron – who won 263 races in 2008, the first of three consecutive years in which his mounts earned more than $3-million – has won several graded stakes, including last year’s Grade II Indiana Oaks on Pure Fun for trainer Ken McPeek.
It was another McPeek runner, though, that gave Lebron his most memorable moment in the sport. After riding Frac Daddy to a second-place last spring in the Arkansas Derby, Lebron was invited for the return engagement in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands.
And, in the unlikeliest of coincidences, he rode in the Run for the Roses against Goldencents and jockey Kevin Krigger, who attended St. Croix Central High School with him back home. They were the first jockeys from the Virgin Islands to ride in the Kentucky Derby and two of only a small number of African-Americans to compete in the race.
Frac Daddy finished 16th and Goldencents 17th, but Lebron hardly felt like a loser.
“It was an amazing experience. It’s a thrill just to get there, and all your nerves start going out of place because you want that moment to come so bad,” Lebron said. “Just getting to the post parade and the starting gate – you’re like ‘Let’s go, let’s go, I want to do this, I want to do this.’ I tried to take it as an every-day race because I didn’t want to push my plan out of place.
“You want to enjoy everything about it, but it’s my job not to let nerves and stage fright get in the way. It really is an indescribable feeling. You have to live through it to appreciate it fully,” Lebron said.
Lebron and his wife Ruth have four daughters: Maya, 10; Leslieann, 9; Lea, 4; and Jaslean, 2. After riding at Tampa Bay Downs four years ago during the second half of the meet, he is considering putting down roots in the Sunshine State.
“I’ve liked this track from the first time I came here four years ago,” said Lebron, who has won riding titles at Turfway, Indiana Downs and Ellis Park. “It’s a place I can consider home, and I can see myself riding here every winter. The weather is beautiful, and my family being here helps a lot. I would love to stay in Florida – maybe ride at Gulfstream and Calder this summer – and show off my talents and open new doors.”
He shouldn’t have any problem making a fast impression.
Wednesday, March 05, 2014
Scott Wells Re-Elected TRA President
Scott Wells, president and general manager of Remington Park and Lone Star Park, was re-elected for the second year of his two-year term as President of the Thoroughbred Racing Associations (TRA) at its annual Board of Directors’ meeting Tuesday at the Ft. Lauderdale Marriott North Hotel in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Wells has been on the TRA Board since 2005.
The TRA Board also re-elected Peter N. Berube as Vice President, Joe Wilson as Secretary, William I. Fasy as Treasurer, and Christopher N. Scherf as Executive Vice President.
Wells directs the operations of Remington Park in Oklahoma City and Lone Star Park in Dallas, which are part of Global Gaming Solutions, the racing, gaming and entertainment division of the Chickasaw Nation.
Berube serves as Vice President and General Manager of Tampa Bay Downs in Oldsmar, Fla. and has been with the organization for 19 years. He has been a member of both the TRA and Equibase Boards since 2007.
Wilson is Chief Operating Officer-Racing Operations for Greenwood Racing which owns Parx Racing, Atlantic City Race Course and is a partner in Freehold Raceway. He has more than 30 years of experience in the racing industry including 15 years with Greenwood and 17 years between Amtote and Scientific Games. He has been a TRA Director since 2002.
Fasy is President of Delaware Park and has more than 35 years experience in the hospitality and entertainment business. He has served as TRA Treasurer since 2001.
Scherf has been the TRA Executive Vice President since 1988. Prior to joining the TRA in 1982, he was Director of Press Relations for the New York Racing Association.
Newly elected to the TRA Board as Directors or Alternates were Howard “H” Withers for Fair Grounds, Darren MacDonald
Tuesday, March 04, 2014
'Dependable' DeCarlo quietly finding success in return to Aqueduct
From NYRA Communications Department
In 1985, jockey Christopher DeCarlo won with his first mount when he rode Romeo's Mistress to a victory in a $25,000 claiming race at Aqueduct Racetrack. Things have come full circle for DeCarlo 29 years later as the 45-year-old veteran has found himself back at the Big A after establishing himself as a top rider in New Jersey, competing overseas, and having a brief foray as a stock broker.
DeCarlo, who lives in Oceanport, N.J., formerly competed at Gulfstream Park in the winter before spending the first part of 2011 in Saudi Arabia, where he won 26 races, including the Group 3 National Guard Cup, from 108 starts. For the past three winters he has remained closer to home, splitting his time between Parx Racing, Aqueduct, and Tampa Bay Downs in 2012 and riding almost exclusively at Aqueduct in 2013 and 2014.
Through Monday, DeCarlo has won 1,077 races in North America during his career and has won with nine of his 48 mounts at Aqueduct since racing switched to the inner track on December 11.
"I started here, so it's always been my home," said DeCarlo. "A lot of the jockeys I started with aren't here anymore, so it's a whole new colony. Todd [Pletcher] has given me a shot. David Jacobson and George Weaver have been helpful to me, and when you ride for guys like that you can't help but win because they do such a fantastic job."
DeCarlo's decision to compete in New York stems from his desire to remain with his family.
"Once my daughter [Nina] started school I didn't want to be far away from her, so the logical thing was to come back here [to Aqueduct]," said DeCarlo, 44. "I can go home every night. The drive is rough. The only thing that really stinks are the tolls. I have to ride two races just to break even, but the money is here. If you win one race here it's like winning three races in New Jersey."
Originally from Edison, N.J., DeCarlo has benefited throughout his long career from the support of Hall of Famers Angel Cordero, Jr. and Jorge Velasquez, literally since his infancy.
"My grandfather was a singer in Puerto Rico and was really famous," said DeCarlo. "He always wanted to be a jockey but got too big. He was friends with Angel's dad. [Cordero, Velasquez, and my grandfather] always used to be together. When I was born [Cordero] told my grandfather, 'If he stays small, we're going to make him a jockey.' That's all I wanted to do, and I'm living my dream. Even to this day he still helps me. I had two of the best teachers ever."
DeCarlo's biggest win of his career came at age 17 when he guided Wise Times to a triumph in the 1986 Grade 1 Haskell Invitational Handicap. Wise Times added a score in the Travers in next start, but DeCarlo was injured and was unable to ride that day.
In the early 1990s, DeCarlo temporarily quit riding in order to become a stock broker, but the allure of horse racing remained too strong and he soon found himself back in the saddle.
"I got my stock broker's license in 1990, and I did that for a year, a year and a half," said DeCarlo. "The only reason I got into it was because my dad had been in the business. I didn't get any real satisfaction out of making a sale. Had I gone to school and had that programmed into me, it would have been a bigger deal than it was, but after riding horses and winning races you always want to compete. I got the opportunity to ride in France, and I jumped at it. When I jumped at it, I realized this is what I really want to do with my life."
DeCarlo's primary base since 2001 has been Monmouth Park, where he is Todd Pletcher's first-call rider.
"It's a relationship that has developed over the years," said Pletcher. "He's one of Angel's protégés, and Angel always promoted him. He started riding stakes horses out of town, and we had a high strike rate. Once he moved his tack to Monmouth, we continued to have success, which made it a logical relationship."
Since 2012, DeCarlo has won 14 stakes, and seven of those victories have come aboard horses trained by Pletcher, including the 2012 Queens County with San Pablo and 2013 Busanda with Princess of Sylmar at Aqueduct.
"Chris is an intelligent rider who seldom makes mistakes and is deceptively strong," said Pletcher. "He's not a flashy rider, which sort of hides his ability, but he's one of the most dependable riders you can find."
Friday, February 28, 2014
SANTA ANITA JOCKEYS CAPTURE ANNUAL CHARITY GAME
From Santa Anita Communications Department
In what might be termed a throwback to the James Naismith era, Santa Anita’s Jockeys defeated Holy Angels School, 27-20, in the 47th annual charity basketball game last night at La Salle High School in Pasadena.
Proceeds of the game, sponsored by J. Paul Reddam’s CashCall and Meticulous Talent, benefited the Holy Angels athletic program, the Kentucky-based Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF) and the Eye on Jacob Foundation.
Drayden Van Dyke led the jockeys in scoring with nine points. The 19-year-old sharpshooter showed a good eye throughout as the riders led at halftime, 14-10, and held Holy Angels at bay through the second half before an enthusiastic crowd.
In addition to Van Dyke, other jockeys who participated were Joe Talamo, Omar Figueroa, Edwin Maldonado, Rafael Bejarano, Orlando Mojica, Iggy Puglisi, Kayla Stra and Kent Desormeaux’s son, Josh, and Karen Headley’s son, Berkeley.
Hall of Famers Eddie Delahoussaye, Laffit Pincay Jr., Gary Stevens and Mike Smith all signed autographs and memorabilia before the game.
“It was a good crowd and everyone had a lot of fun,” said HRTV’s Kurt Hoover, who coached the Jockeys to the victory. “Fans were lined up pretty deep for the autographs and memorabilia signings.”
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
COREY LANERIE WINS 64TH ANNUAL SANTA ANITA GEORGE WOOLF MEMORIAL JOCKEY AWARD
Corey Lanerie, one of the Midwest’s most successful jockeys, has been named the winner of the 2014 Santa Anita George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award by a nationwide vote of his peers.
It is expected that Lanerie, who is currently based at Gulfstream Park, will venture west to Santa Anita to accept the award in either March or April.
Lanerie, who broke his maiden at Evangeline Downs in April, 1991, outpolled four other finalists; David Amiss, Dennis Carr, Aaron Gryder and Scott Stevens.
Presented annually by Santa Anita since 1950, the Woolf Award is one of the most highly coveted honors in all of racing as it recognizes those riders whose careers and personal character earn esteem for both the individual and the sport of Thoroughbred racing.
Born Nov. 13, 1974, in Lafayette, Louisiana, Lanerie, began galloping horses at age nine and like so many Cajun riders before him, he rode at unrecognized “bush” tracks prior to officially launching his professional career.
A winner of more than 3,500 races, Lanerie has won multiple riding titles at Churchill Downs and was leading rider at Churchill’s 2013 Autumn Meeting. He has also been leading rider at Ellis Park in Kentucky and at three Texas tracks—Lone Star Park, Sam Houston Park and Retama Park.
Born to ride, Lanerie’s grandfather was a trainer who owned horses and his father, Gerald, became a trainer following a career as a jockey.
Held in the highest regard by horsemen and fellow jockeys wherever he has competed, Lanerie currently resides in Louisville, Kentucky, with his wife, Shantel, and their young daughter, Brittlyn.
The Woolf Award was created to honor and memorialize the legendary jockey George “The Iceman” Woolf, who was regarded as one of the greatest big money riders of his time. Woolf died following a spill, which has often been attributed to the effects of diabetes, on Santa Anita’s Club House turn Jan. 3, 1946. The Woolf trophy is a replica of the full-size statue of the late jockey which adorns Santa Anita’s Paddock Gardens area.
Last year’s Woolf Award was won by Mario Pino.
Santa Anita Park is a Stronach Group company, North America’s leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator. The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida, and is one of North America's top race horse breeders through its award-winning Adena Springs operation. The Stronach Group is one of the world's largest suppliers of pari-mutuel wagering systems, technologies and services. Its companies include AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology; Xpressbet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service; and Monarch Content Management, which acts as a simulcast purchase and sales agent of horseracing content for numerous North American racetracks and wagering outlets.The Stronach Group is also a major producer of televised horseracing programming through its HRTV cable and satellite network and is North America's premier supplier of virtual online horseracing games, as well as a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry.
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