Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
Veteran jockey Corey Lanerie leapt back into contention to defend his Fall Meet leading rider title at Churchill Downs with a four-win day on Thursday to put him two wins behind Edgar Morales in the standings with three days and 36 races remaining.
“Days like (Thursday) make you want to keep riding no matter how many races you ride,” Lanerie said. “I wanted to keep riding. It’s fun when you have the right horses to get the job done.”
Lanerie, a 16-time leading rider at Churchill Downs, trailed Morales 18-16 wins to begin Friday’s 12-race program. The 44-year-old native of Lafayette, La., has won the last six Fall Meet riding titles.
On Thursday’s program, Lanerie guided home Undrafted in the fifth race and followed that with three wins in the last four races, including a victory aboard English Affair in the $100,000 Cardinal Handicap (Grade 3).
Spring Meet leading rider Brian Hernandez Jr. began Friday with 15 victories in the rider standings to rank third. Tyler Gaffalione’s 14 wins were in fourth while Florent Geroux and Ricardo Santana Jr. were tied for fifth with 12 wins each.
The Fall Meet leading trainer’s race was just as competitive as the jockey’s race as Dallas Stewart held a slim 9-8 win margin over Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen to start Friday’s action. There was a five-way tie for third between Tom Amoss, Brad Cox, Mike Maker, Kenny McPeek and Ian Wilkes with six victories each.
G M B Racing and Loooch Racing Stables continued to battle it out at the top of the owner’s standings with four wins, each.
BREEDERS’ CUP JUVNEILE RUNNER-UP KNICKS GO INSTALLED AS 2-1 MORNING LINE FAVORITE IN SATURDAY’S KENTUCKY JOCKEY CLUB – The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (Grade I) runner-up Knicks Go was made the slight 2-1 morning line favorite when he faces 13 promising 2-year-old rivals in Saturday’s 92nd running of the $200,000 Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) at Churchill Downs.
The 1 1/16-mile race is the co-headliner on the penultimate day of the 21-date Fall Meet. Billed as “Stars of Tomorrow II,” each of the 12 races is exclusively for 2-year-olds that may have aspirations of trail-blazing their way to next spring’s Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (GI) and Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI).
Knicks Go, a speedy son of Paynter, led wire-to-wire in the Oct. 6 Breeders’ Futurity (GI) at Keeneland at odds of 70-1. The Maryland-bred, owned by KRA Stud Farm and trained by Ben Colebrook, finished 2 ¼ lengths behind the Bob Baffert-trained Game Winner in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at odds of 40-1.
Chief among Knicks Go’s competitors in the Jockey Club is Breeders’ Cup Juvenile third-place finisher Signalman, who is the 5-2 second choice on the morning line for owners Tommie Lewis, David Bernsen and Magdalena Racing and trainer Kenny McPeek. Signalman finished one length behind Knicks Go in the Juvenile after breaking from post 14 and rallying from 10 lengths off the early pace.
Earlier in the card, Three Chimneys Farm and Fern Circle Stables’ Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (Grade I) runner-up Restless Rider will challenge seven 2-year-old fillies as the 7-5 morning line favorite in Saturday’s 75thrunning of the $200,000 Golden Rod (GII).
Trained by Kenny McPeek, Restless Rider scored an ultra-impressive 11 ¼ length win in the Debutante Stakes in late June at Churchill Downs and a 2 ½-length score in the Alcibiades (GI) at Keeneland in October prior to her runner-up effort in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.
The Kentucky Jockey Club and Golden Rod are both Road to the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks point series races, respectively. The Top 4 finishers in each race will be awarded points on 10-4-2-1 scale. The Golden Rod goes as Race 9 at 4:57 p.m. (all times Eastern). The co-featured $200,000 Kentucky Jockey (GII), which attracted 14 colts and geldings, is Race 11 at 5:56 p.m. First post is 1 p.m.
CHURCHILL DOWNS, FAIR GROUNDS TO OFFER ‘FLEUR DE LIS’ PICK 4 SATURDAY – Churchill Downs Racetrack and Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots have teamed to offer horseplayers a cross-track Pick 4 on Saturday.
Billed as the “Fleur de Lis Pick 4,” bettors will be required to pick the winners of four races late Saturday afternoon: two races at Fair Grounds in New Orleans and two stakes events at Churchill Downs. The minimum wager on the Fleur de Lis Pick 4 is 50 cents.
Here’s the sequence for the inaugural Fleur de Lis Pick 4, which features 40 entries (plus two also-eligibles):
· Leg 1: Fair Grounds Race 7 (4:35 p.m. ET)
· Leg 2: Churchill Downs Race 9 (4:57 p.m. ET)
· Leg 3: Fair Grounds Race 9 (5:35 p.m. ET)
· Leg 4: Churchill Downs Race 11 (5:56 p.m. ET)
Fair Grounds will serve as host of the Fleur de Lis Pick 4.
The Fleur de Lis is a symbol that is deeply ingrained in the history of both Louisville and New Orleans and has traditionally been used to represent French royalty. The English translation for the French “fleur-de-lis” is flower of the lily.