|Lanerie Clinches NTRA All-Star Jockey Championship Berth
Corey Lanerie, Lone Star Park's all-time leading rider, clinched the 12th and final spot for the sixth annual NTRA All-Star Jockey Championship on June 21 with two wins Sunday afternoon at Lone Star Park. The 27-year-old native of Lafayette, Louisiana, topped the Lone Star Park jockey standings with 37 wins at the completion of Sunday's nine-race program, two victories more than Anthony Lovato's 35 and three ahead of Gerard Melancon's 34.
Lone Star Park's leading rider through the first Sunday in June annually represents the local jockey colony against 11 of the best jockeys in the country. On Tuesday, invitations to compete were extended to Robby Albarado, Russell Baze, Jorge Chavez, Eddie Delahoussaye, Kent Desormeaux, Victor Espinoza, Chris McCarron, Laffit Pincay Jr., Edgar Prado and Alex Solis. John Velazquez received an invitation from racing fans on Saturday as the leading voter getter in an online poll at ntra.com.
This will be the third time Lanerie will compete in the event.
"I hope that the third time's a charm," said Lanerie, who has won more than 1,600 races and $24 million since he started riding professionally in 1990. "I'm going to give it my best and try to represent Lone Star in the best way I can - just take it to them. To ride with the best and be competitive, it really feels good. It gives you an opportunity to prove yourself against top-notch riders."
In 1999, Lanerie finished second to Pincay, horse racing's all-time win leader, for his best finish in the event.
"I owe Laffit," Lanerie said. "He beat me one year. I was second to him, so I'm looking for revenge."
Lanerie won Sunday's first race at Lone Star Park aboard Run Don't Dance and the nightcap with Rockies, a pair of Steve Asmussen-trained runners. Lovato crossed the wire in first twice, but was disqualified in the sixth race when Texas Racing Commission stewards ruled that his mount Da Charm, a 5 ¼-length winner, caused interference at the start of the one-mile affair. Melancon had one win on the day - Ringing Echo in the seventh race.
In other Jockey Championship news, it appears that Albarado will be unable to compete in the event after he was injured during the running of Sunday's fourth race at Churchill Downs when his mount Maestro, who was leading at the time, fell with less than a sixteenth of a mile before the finish.
The 28-year-old Albarado, who is second in the Churchill Downs standings with 29 wins, fell to the ground and may have been struck by oncoming horses, Wild West and Clear Title, who were racing in third and fifth, respectively.
According to Churchill Downs physician Dr. Robert Couch, Albarado was alert after the mishap but sustained injuries to his left hand. He was sent by ambulance to Caritas Medical Center for further examination.
Should Albarado be unable to compete, the Jockey Championship selection committee will reconvene sometime next week to choose a replacement rider.