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Keeneland Bans ‘Indian Charlie’ Newsletter From Grounds

Keeneland officials have notified Ed Musselman not to distribute newsletter

Keeneland officials have notified Ed Musselman, creator of the popular “Indian Charlie” newsletter, that the one-sheet humorous bulletins he writes and distributes are not welcome on Keeneland’s grounds.

Musselman received a letter Oct. 1 that was dated Sept. 20, 2018, from Keeneland director of security Phillip E. Gardner, and signed by Gardner, Keeneland president and CEO Bill Thomason, and Keeneland vice president and chief operating officer Vince Gabbert informing him the newsletter, which  is distributed during race meets and sales, “is not allowed to be distributed, by any fashion, on Keeneland grounds … indefinitely.”

The ban includes Keeneland’s main grounds, the Rice Road training center, Red Mile Horse Racing Center, the Thoroughbred Club, and the Thoroughbred Training Center, all owned and/or operated and maintained by Keeneland management.

Gardner states that any failure to follow Keeneland’s request will result in a formal ejection notice being served to Mussleman and any of his employees.

“Once a formal ejection notice is served, and subsequently violated,” said the letter, “the Lexington Police Department will be asked to intervene, and Keeneland management will pursue criminal procedures against all ejected parties as applicable.”

The “Indian Charlie” newsletter and Musselman himself had been ruled off Churchill Downs in 2014 after a controversy arose over a piece Musselman wrote about backstretch workers. Keeneland honored that ban, according to Bob Elliston, Keeneland’s vice president of racing and sales. Eventually, Churchill Downs relented and Keeneland followed suit, but, according to Elliston, Keeneland made the stipulation that Musselman not distribute the newsletter on its grounds.

“When our director of security observed Musselman distributing the newsletter during the recent September sale,” said Elliston, “he was reminded not to do so.”

Musselman maintains that Keeneland officials have known for the past several years that he has been distributing “Indian Charlie” around the Lexington track, and that the newsletter has been available in the track kitchen, racing office, and barn area.

“Keeneland officials are reacting to specific recent articles in the newsletter,” Musselman said. “Keeneland is a great place and I can’t knock it. I respect its private property rights and I will go paperless for any editions that come out during Keeneland events.”

Musselman, who has been producing the “Indian Charlie” sheets since 1994, said the next “Indian Charlie” newsletters are scheduled for Oct. 21-23 around the Fasig-Tipton October Sale.

Sports Wagering Symposium Outlines Changing Landscape

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In a gravelly voice that clearly has spent many hours cheering teams and horses, race and sports book legend Victor Salerno offered racing some verbal encouragement as it prepares for fast-emerging legal sports wagering.

Salerno, a 40-year veteran of the race and sports book industry in Nevada, offered that encouragement at the Sports Wagering and Impact on Horse Racing Symposium presented by BloodHorse and Breeders’ Cup Sept. 6 at Keeneland. Three panels at the symposium outlined the opportunities and potential challenges for racing, as legal sports wagering comes online throughout the country. Racing relies on pari-mutuel wagering as its economic engine.

“You shouldn’t be afraid to do this,” Salerno said of tracks also offering sports wagering, noting tracks that do so will increase their foot traffic, providing opportunities to reach new customers. “Racing’s a great sport; we have to keep it going.”

At the three-hour presentation, panelists touched on wide-ranging topics related to sports wagering, including the benefits and challenges of offering sports wagering at tracks; opportunities for current advance-deposit wagering companies to expand to sports wagering or partner with sports wagering sites to cross-promote one another; an opportunity for racing to provide needed content for wagering in this new environment; the addition of non-pari-mutuel wagers in racing, like fixed-odds bets; and challenges that could include a competitive disadvantage as high-takeout racing in an atmosphere where low-takeout sports betting will be readily available.

Monmouth Park vice president of business operations Bill Knauf offered some firsthand experience since the New Jersey track brought in William Hill to operate on-track sports wagering in June. Knauf said the sports betting crowd is largely male and younger than the typical horseplayer. He noted the sports betting crowd has helped the track improve its simulcast handle as bettors are showing up early and staying late to watch West Coast baseball games.

Knauf said tracks have plenty of available parking, interior space that readily can be used to build first-rate sports books, and through their simulcast operations are familiar with bringing in multiple TV signals. He noted tracks routinely offer more such signals than even a Las Vegas sportsbook.

Panelist Victor Bigio, an online gaming marketer at Sportech, said tracks also have the space to host eSports events that are quickly gaining in popularity with young people. He said tracks should take advantage and offer those events and accept wagers on them.

Many states soon will be making these decisions. Beyond the three racing states that have already launched full sports wagering this year—New Jersey, Delaware, and West Virginia—Sara Slane of the American Gaming Association noted another 19 states have had bills proposed.

William Hill U.S. executive Dan Shapiro noted the planning that went into Monmouth has produced a facility where sports betting and race betting are well-integrated. He said a sports betting facility at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races is in the casino and separated from racing. He thinks the Monmouth model has a better chance of success for both sports wagering and race handle.

“What Monmouth has done with that integrated experience is the model we think tracks should look at in the future,” Shapiro said.

Just hours after TVG (FanDuel Group) announced Thursday plans to add a pair of Sunday morning shows that will largely focus on betting the NFL, FanDuel Group general counsel John Hindman said that variety should bring a more diverse group to the racing channel and its various sports and race wagering platforms.

He said the FanDuel platform will market race wagering, noting it will be presented in a way that will make sense to sports bettors. He also noted the benefits of cross-marketing—millions of dollars have been spent promoting FanDuel, initially a Daily Fantasy site, in recent years.

One aspect of betting sports those customers understand, on some level, is takeout in the 5% or 6% range. Ed Hannah of The Stronach Group said with those expectations, racing will need to thoroughly examine its much higher takeout (the amount of money not returned to bettors in winnings, which in racing is retained largely for tracks and purses) as it tries to attract new customers and retain current players.

“Lesson No. 1 is the takeout rate is too high. We need to figure out a more optimal takeout rate,” Hannah said. “There’s a little more wiggle room on multi-race or multi-interest wagers.”

He noted that in the online atmosphere, sports bettors will quickly notice the difference.

“People putting money in their deposits will notice that difference,” Hannah said, explaining that because of takeout, the average sports bettor can make a $100 deposit last much longer than the average horseplayer. “We have to do a lot of thinking about (takeout).”

Sports betting faces its own battle for customers, many of whom currently wager through illegal bookmakers, local or offshore. Panelists noted that one way legal operators will be able to compete is by offering a greater variety of wagers and events. They said the frequency of races, offered throughout the week, should prove attractive to sports betting sites.

Hindman noted that race wagering routinely is one of the top sports in terms of handle in other countries that already allow sports wagering.

While panelists offered a wide variety of opinions and ideas, all acknowledged the fast-changing landscape and racing’s need to be innovative rather than shrink away.

“We can take (the emergence of sports wagering) and put it toward the enhancement of the racing industry here,” Salerno said. “Don’t be afraid.”

Churchill Downs Inc. Hopes to End Racing at Calder

Horsemen note that such a move would cost some $10 million in purse money.

Florida industry groups have lined up to oppose a plan by Churchill Downs Inc. to end Thoroughbred racing at its Calder property, a move that could cost horsemen about $10 million a year in purses generated by slot machines at Calder Casino.

In February, CDI was awarded a pari-mutuel jai alai license from Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering. With that approval, CDI currently holds pari-mutuel licenses for both jai alai and Thoroughbred racing at Calder, but the latter will expire in 2020.

In documents submitted to the DPMW, CDI said it wishes to switch from racing to jai alai, a move that would reduce its expenses associated with statutory purse fund requirements. On July 31, Calder submitted an email to the DPMW requesting a declaratory statement from the regulator about whether the switch would jeopardize its casino license.

Under state law, the casinos at Gulfstream Park and Calder both pay into a single Thoroughbred purse fund, a commitment of 10% of their slot machine revenues. Even though Gulfstream owner The Stronach Group has taken over racing operations at the former Calder Race Course property—now run as Gulfstream Park West—the Calder casino generates revenues for purses and breeder awards all year. The Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association estimates revenue from the Calder casino committed to the purse fund will reach $9 million-$10 million this year.

The Florida HBPA has filed motions with the DPMW opposing CDI’s plans to change the Calder pari-mutuel license from Thoroughbred racing to jai alai. Late Aug. 23 in a joint release, Gulfstream Park, the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association, and the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company each expressed opposition to CDI ending racing in favor of jai alai.

The Florida FTBOA noted that voters approved casino gaming at Calder with the understanding that it would support Thoroughbred racing. It said that support has allowed CDI to successfully operate slot machines at its Calder property since 2010.

“Now, Churchill Downs apparently sees the opportunity to pull a ‘bait-and-switch’ in the interests of increasing its profits, with little regard for the economic harm its moves will cause to the faithful Florida trainers, owners, and breeders that have long supported its racing program, as well as the other Florida tracks and participants in Florida’s Thoroughbred industry,” the FTBOA noted.

Calder officials believe that under the language of the state law, a move from racing to jai alai should be allowed. Under the company’s interpretation, it’s not a high bar to clear for such a switch. It said the law only requires the property be located in Miami-Dade County, existed at the time added gaming was adopted, and conducted live racing in the calendar years 2002-03—all standards Calder meets. If the DPMW agrees with the company’s assessment, Calder plans to offer summer jai alai and discontinue Thoroughbred operations.

The Florida HBPA noted that following the 2004 state-wide vote that allowed slot machines at Calder and six other pari-mutuel facilities in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, the legislature recognized the “importance of protecting and promoting Florida’s Thoroughbred racing industry against the possibility that Calder and Gulfstream Park, the state’s two Thoroughbred tracks eligible for slot machine gaming, would abandon their Thoroughbred racing activities and instead offer patrons slot machine gaming only.”

In a filing with the DPMW, the Florida HBPA noted that in 2004 it committed $1 million to Calder to help campaign for the approval of slot machine gaming at tracks. It also outlined the far greater interest in Thoroughbred racing, as opposed to jai alai.

“The division knew, or should have known, that the substantial interests of FHBPA and its members would be or would likely be adversely affected,” the FHBPA argued.

In the release, Florida industry groups said if Calder is allowed to abandon Thoroughbred racing, the negative impact will be significant.

“It is extremely disappointing to watch Churchill Downs continue its effort to extricate itself from the racing business in Florida while adding millions more to its bottom line in slot revenue,” OBS officials said, before referencing the elimination of the grandstand and barns on the Calder property. “Calder’s Florida mission is illustrated by its past performances, which include bulldozing over half of the barn area, taking a wrecking ball to the grandstand, and supporting decoupling. Its latest attempt to exit racing via jai alai is a backdoor effort to continue operating slots and reopen its card room without horse racing. If Churchill gets its wish, the implications will stretch far beyond the Florida borders, and ripple effects will be felt nationwide in the sales ring, on the racetrack, and in the breeding shed.”

Decoupling is a proposal being debated that, if adopted, would allow operators to cease pari-mutuel wagering but retain their casino license.

In terms of casino operations, Gulfstream noted that if Calder eliminates its commitments to racing, that reduction in expenses will provide its casino a competitive advantage in the South Florida area. It also said Thoroughbred racing and breeding in the state would be hurt.

“We are obviously worried about the unlevel playing field and advantage Calder would have, along with the loss of breeders’ awards and purse money that has helped grow the industry,” Gulfstream officials said. “The ability just to change the use of a license after being granted slots under a different license would undermine all the growth we have achieved.”

On Aug. 24, a CDI spokesperson declined to comment on the Florida industry release.

Calder began advertising a part-time position on the company website and on LinkedIn for a jai alai player manager/trainer Aug. 6 and a position Aug. 9 for a cesta and pelota maker. A cesta is the basket a jai alai player wears on his or her hand to throw and catch the ball, and the pelota is the ball.

Since 2014, The Stronach Group has run the racing operations at Calder, which races as Gulfstream Park West. According to the DPMW, in fiscal year 2016-17, Gulfstream Park West offered 37 race dates and 346 races, with total purses of $7,593,910.

Study: Betting Could Help Sports Attract Younger Fans

For horse racing, this crowd should provide target for some crossover.

Sports-betting adults are more affluent, younger, more diverse and better educated adults than the general population, according to an American Gaming Association commissioned study from Nielsen Sports.

The research identifies groundbreaking demographic and behavioral characteristics of self-identified bettors who the AGA believes will populate the future legal U.S. betting landscape. A second, forthcoming element of the project will estimate the amount of revenue this demographic can help unlock for the major U.S. sports leagues.

For horse racing, the crowd should provide a target for crossover.

Experts: Horse Racing Left at Gate in Digital Marketing

Among this crucial demographic for sports leagues and broadcasters, 71% of those research participants who currently bet with a bookie say they would shift some or all of their betting activity to a regulated market if they had access to a legal platform.

According to Nielsen Sports, 44% of sports bettors are adults under the age of 35, as opposed to 31% of the general population. Looking at household income, 29% earn $100,000 or more, almost double the proportion of the general population.

“The Nielsen Sports data supports what we’ve long expected: access to legal sports wagering will increase fan engagement in major sport contests and enable a significant revenue generation opportunity for major sports leagues and teams,” said Sara Slane, senior vice president of public affairs for the AGA. “Expanding access to legal sports betting will bring millennial audiences back to sports broadcasts and stadiums, which is a huge benefit for sport enterprises across the country.

“However, this potential will only be realized with proper policy frameworks that empower consumers with competitive odds, access to all bets, and the ability to tap into modern platforms including mobile. Without this focus on consumers, the illegal market will continue to thrive.”

Nielsen Sports surveyed more than 1,000 adult sports fans—including fans of the National Football League, major league baseball, the National Basketball Association, and the National Hockey League—and self-identified sports bettors nationwide, identifying demographics and consumption habits to quantify the value of the legal sports betting market.

Additional research is underway to quantify how much each league can realize from widely available, legal, regulated sports betting. Topline findings from the research are available here.

Breeders’ Cup Host Sites Announced Through 2021

Breeders’ Cup officially announced Santa Anita Park, Keeneland, and Del Mar as the host sites for the next three editions of the World Championships.

In a press conference Aug. 17 at Santa Anita, it was announced the Arcadia, Calif., track would host the two-day event for a record-setting 10th time Nov. 1-2 in 2019. Keeneland, which hosted its first Breeders’ Cup in 2015, will welcome the 2020 edition Nov. 6-7. Del Mar—a first-time host in 2017—gets the event back Nov. 5-6 in 2021.

All three tracks planned press conferences Friday to announce Breeders’ Cup plans.

“Everybody knows how great Santa Anita is, so it’s never a question of ‘if,’ but ‘when’ for this place,” Breeders’ Cup president and CEO Craig Fravel said after the announcement Friday at Santa Anita. “Given the success of Del Mar and Keeneland, the same holds true for those.”

Churchill Downs is hosting the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Nov. 2-3, the ninth time the Louisville oval has put on the fall spectacle. With Friday’s announcement confirming a California-Kentucky rotation for the next three seasons, the two states will have combined to host 14 consecutive editions of the event.

“The Bluegrass served as the ideal backdrop for the 2015 Breeders’ Cup, and we could not be more excited to have Keeneland serve as the host of the 2020 edition of the World Championships,” said Keeneland president and CEO Bill Thomason. “Building on the success of the event for the industry and the community, we anticipate an even greater spectacle in 2020 and look forward to the Breeders’ Cup returning home once again.”

The last time the Breeders’ Cup was held at a track outside of Kentucky or California came in 2007, when Monmouth Park hosted the first year the event was expanded to a two-day format, and Fravel said Friday there is still interest from tracks outside of the two states.

“When I started in 2011, there was an option of two places, and there wasn’t anybody else in the mix to hold an event like this. One of the things we tried to do with Keeneland and Del Mar was to validate the different track model for holding the event, and that’s what happened,” Fravel said. “To me, we have greater and greater options going forward. We have inquiries from Laurel Park, who has made no secret of their interest, and our friends at Monmouth Park, now that they have sports wagering and some new dollars coming in … I think they’d like to be considered, and obviously we’ve talked about New York.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a static rotation. I hope to create an environment where people are wanting us to be there, asking us to be there, and doing what’s best for racing to encourage us to come.”

Tim Ritvo of The Stronach Group, which owns both Santa Anita and Laurel, said he would have liked for Laurel to be one of the three future sites but was hopeful for a 2022 bid for the Maryland track.

“We were hoping to get (Laurel) involved in this round, but we’re eager to make a strong bid for 2022,” Ritvo said. “We weren’t really ready yet, with the facility, but we had a great meeting yesterday about the build-out will look like, and the state is going to put together an advisory committee to give a really big push for 2022.”

Ritvo also said there will be $5 million in renovations at Santa Anita before the 2019 Breeders’ Cup, including new open-air suites in the grandstand and improvements to the upper levels of the clubhouse area. He said the upper-level grandstand suites would be like a “deck at your house, where you can sit and be casual.”

Regarding a potential Breeders’ Cup at a New York Racing Association track, Fravel said “capital improvements” would likely be required for a successful bid.

“I know they have a plan. It’s just the timing that’s unclear,” Fravel said. “I’m hopeful that within the next six months or so, we’ll have a clear picture of what their plan is. … There would have to be more concrete indications of what would happen and when. The experience, unfortunately, in New York is that best-laid plans get waylaid by factors outside of people’s control.”

Cabo’s Rumor First Stakes Winner for Amanecer de Oro

By BloodHorse Staff

 

Colt also represented first winner for his sire.

Northpointe Thoroughbreds’ homebred Cabo’s Rumor wore down rivals in the final furlong and drew off for a three-length victory in the $60,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile Stakes at Louisiana Downs Aug. 4 to become the first winner and first black-type winner for his sire, Amanecer de Oro.

Sent off at 9-1 odds in the eight-horse field, Cabo’s Rumor stalked the early pace from the outside in fifth and fourth through fractions of :22.59 and :45.23 and steadily advanced on the turn. The 2-year-old bay colt responded when set down for the drive by jockey Emanuel  Nieves and covered the six-furlong distance in 1:13.01 over a track rated fast.

Trained by Steven Duke, Cabo’s Rumor was making his fourth career start. Out of the Kafwain mare The Rumor’s True, Cabo’s Rumor broke his maiden at second asking June 18 at Louisiana Downs.

Amanecer de Oro was a multiple stakes winner, with all his black-type victories coming in the state of Louisiana. The son of Afternoon Deelites retired with seven wins from 31 starts and $401,193 in earnings. He is a half brother to stakes winners Dynamic Time and Tactical Brush.

Amanecer de Oro stood the 2018 season at Holly Hill Farm in Louisiana for an advertised fee of $1,250. He has two starters from his first crop of racing age.

Illinois Racing Board Moves Ahead on Historical Racing

Board accepted report that defines historical horse racing as pari-mutuel.

The Illinois Racing Board agreed at its July 26 meeting to move forward with planning for implementation of wagering on historical horse racing terminals through the state’s three remaining racetracks.

Without objection, the full board accepted a report from a committee headed by commissioner Thomas McCauley that found historical horse racing is pari-mutuel wagering, as defined under Illinois law, and could be implemented without legislative action.

By accepting the report, the board also agreed that staff “be directed to draft suggested rules to be considered by the board, whereby organization licensees could lawfully and permissibly conduct historical horse racing.”

Before historical horse racing can become a reality, those rules would have to be approved by the IRB and the governor’s staff, then submitted to and approved by the legislature’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules. A court challenge also would be likely, as anti-gambling groups steadfastly oppose any expansion.

McCauley and chairman Jeffrey Brincat emphasized historical horse racing—a slot machine-like game with pari-mutuel pools and payouts based on results of previously run races—is the industry’s second choice to legislation that would authorize full casino gaming at tracks. A gaming expansion bill was left pending in Springfield, Ill., at the end of the spring legislative session but could be revived in the post-election veto session.

“Were that to happen, the HHR committee suspects that HHR might then be dropped for the much more lucrative games, which the casinos have,” McCauley said. “But that is speculation, and we have to deal with the reality that confronts us.”

Asked whether HHR rules might be ready to roll out in November, absent legislative action on gaming expansion, Brincat said he believes the process will be “expeditious.” But he warned delays are possible in a complicated legal and political environment.

Fairmount Park in downstate Collinsville, Ill., and Hawthorne Race Course in suburban Chicago actively support the historical horse racing proposal. Arlington International Racecourse, the report noted, is neutral.

McCauley said the Illinois horse racing industry “is in a desperate economic condition. It is not hyperbolic to say that its viability is in doubt. Two of five tracks have closed in the last several years. The live dates of certain Thoroughbred race meetings have declined by 40% or more.”

The report noted that Illinois racing has not been allowed to compete with tracks that have gaming in nearby states.

“This may seem shocking at first blush,” the report said, “but for those of us who have witnessed the industry’s steady downward spiral, caused almost entirely by the state government’s refusal over the last 17 years to allow meaningful competition (with other states), that tragedy does not shock. Indeed, it undoubtedly was inevitable.”

Lagartijo is Real Solution’s First Winner

Real Solution
Real SolutionCourtesy Calumet Farm/ThoroStride

Won a 5 1/2-furlong maiden claimer by 3 1/4 lengths.

Blue Star Racing’s freshman sire and grade 1 winner Real Solution  picked up his first winner July 7 when his son Lagartijo won a 5 1/2-furlong maiden claiming race in his third start at Hipodromo de las Americas in Mexico City.

The colt out of the winning Danehill daughter Keeping Watch had been making steady progress since he debuted June 1, when he finished third, four lengths behind the winner. In his next start, Lagartijo was second by only a half-length. Then, in breaking his maiden, he won in near gate-to-wire fashion by 3 1/4 lengths in a final time of 1:07.20 for owner Cuadra San Jorge.

Lagartijo is the fourth winner produced by Keeping Watch from four foals to race. The mare’s most recent trip through an auction was at the 2017 Keeneland January Winter Mixed Sale where Sycamore Shade Racing bought her for $10,000 in foal to Kitten’s Joy .

Ken and Sarah Ramsey bred Lagartijo in Kentucky. The Ramseys also bred and raced Real Solution, who won the Arlington Million Stakes (G1T) and Knob Creek Manhattan Stakes (G1T). Real Solution placed in the Man o’ War Stakes (G1T), Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational Stakes (G1T), and Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap (G1T).

The son of Kitten’s Joy entered stud at Ramsey Farm with $1,374,175 in earnings. After one breeding season, the stallion was transferred to Calumet Farm, where he stood two seasons before being shipped to Blue Star Racing in Louisiana. The stallion stands at Blue Star Racing for $5,000.

Goldencents, Apriority Get First Black-Type Winners

Pickett and Atchata won editions of the D.S. Shine Young Futurity July 14.

Spendthrift Farm’s Goldencents  was represented by his first black-type winner July 14 when his son Pickett scored a nine-length, gate-to-wire romp in the D.S. Shine Young Futurity for colts at Evangeline Downs.

Trained by Glenn Delahoussaye, the 2-year-old gelding broke sharply in the 5 1/2-furlong sprint, shook free from the rest of the pack as they hit the turn, and drew off in the stretch under a brisk drive to finish in 1:05.37.

Saturday’s win was the second for Pickett, who broke his maiden May 30 with an equally speedy 6 1/2-length win going 4 1/2 furlongs.

Goldencents, whose three grade 1 wins included consecutive Breeders’ Cup Dirt Miles, is the son of fellow Spendthrift stallion Into Mischief . The now 8-year-old horse broke his maiden on debut at Del Mar and competed in graded stakes races for the rest of his career.

Goldencents retired in 2014 with a record of 7-7-0 from 18 starts and career earnings of $3,044,000. His advertised fee for the 2018 breeding season was $12,500.

Also taking home the first black-type win for her sire Saturday was Atchata, a 2-year-old daughter of Apriority. Competing in the filly division of the D.S. Shine Young Futurity for Louisiana-breds, she dueled for the lead and kicked away in the lane to win by 6 1/2 lengths.

The win was the second in three starts for the bay filly, who debuted May 24 on grass for trainer Steve Asmussen. She finished third in that maiden special weight debut at Belmont Park. Atchata won next time out going six furlongs on the Belmont inner turf but was switched to the dirt for the Futurity.

Bred in Florida out of the Storm Bird mare Midway Squall, Apriority was his best at 4, when he won the Mr Prospector Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park for trainer David Fawkes. The Donald Dizney homebred started 36 times and retired at 7 with a record of 6-9-3 and earnings of $525,829.

The son of Grand Slam entered stud in 2015 at Elite Thoroughbreds in Louisiana, where he stands for a fee of $2,000.

Recovering Corey Lanerie Returns to Winner’s Circle

Jockey credits support of friends, family since June 22 death of his wife, Shantel.

By Jennie Rees, Ellis Park track publicist

Corey Lanerie rode at Ellis Park July 13 for the first time this summer, as the four-time meet titlist resumed riding regularly following the June 22 death of his wife, Shantel Lanerie.

With his third mount of the day, Lanerie was back in the winner’s circle for the fourth race, with track announcer Jimmy McNerney saying, “Hide the Honey with Corey Lanerie on her back, and an angel on his.”

“It feels great to be back riding, doing what I love,” Lanerie said before the first race. “Kind of get life moving forward again, because it’s hard. I think when I get back to riding, it will kind of get my mind freed and back to normal life. It’s going to be weird. I really don’t know what I’ll feel like out there. I actually rode last weekend, and it was pretty good. Once I get on the horse, I focus on the race and my job, whatever I have to do. I think I’ll go out there and do my job and just let it go as it is, and I think I’ll be fine.”

Lanerie rode in four stakes July 7 at Arlington International Racecourse near Chicago and came away with a pair of fourth-place finishes. Those were his first mounts since June 17.

Shantel was undergoing treatment for stage 1 breast cancer when she underwent emergency surgery for an infected colon June 21. She died the next day.

Lanerie wears an undershirt with “Fight with Shantel” on the collar embroidered in pink, as well as a bracelet.

“Before it happened, we’d ordered these shirts to ‘Fight with Shantel,’ so I’m going to just keep wearing them in honor of her,” he said. “The bracelet is the same thing. A bunch of us are wearing them, and we won’t forget her.”

The Laneries have a 10-year-old daughter, Brittlyn. Shantel and Brittlyn were regular fixtures at the racetrack, known for their splendid attire when Lanerie received an award or reached a milestone victory.

“There will be an empty spot for sure,” Lanerie said. “Because she supported me through thick and thin. She was there when I wasn’t doing any good and at my best moments.”

The jockey said his daughter is doing well. He said Brittlyn is with family in Louisiana and will be doing some traveling with close friends. But he acknowledged that facing life as a single parent is daunting.

“I think it’s sunken in,” he said. “Now I’m just scared of whatever the future has in store and whatever I’m going to have to do. I was lucky. She did everything, so it’s going to be a learning process for me. That’s kind of where I’m at, and I’m just going to take it day by day.

“It will be hard. With my career, to be honest, I don’t think I can do it as a single parent. I’m going to have to get some help. Shantel’s parents are going to come for a couple of weeks, and after that, my parents are going to come, my mom for sure, for at least three weeks, maybe a month so we can get Brittlyn settled in. Then I’m probably going to have to end up hiring a nanny or somebody. Because she likes to dance and all that, and to get her to and from practice with the hours I work, it just wouldn’t be possible.”

Lanerie said he greatly appreciates the outpouring from the racing community.

“The support and the family love has been great. Everybody has reached out to me and offered their help, anything they can do. We’re a big family here, and it really showed. A lot of people have stepped up and just gone above and beyond, just with phone calls and stuff to do. It was amazing, so heart-warming.”

Lanerie, a 43-year-old native of Lafayette, La., who has made Louisville home since moving to the Kentucky circuit in 2005, has won the last two Ellis Park training titles, as well as in 2013 (a tie with Roberto Morales) and 2010. The winner of more than 4,400 races, Lanerie is a 15-time meet leader at Churchill Downs.

Lanerie and Brittlyn were part of the award presentation when the jockey’s good friend Brian Hernandez Jr. was honored as leading rider for Churchill Downs’ spring meet. Hernandez held a one-win margin over Lanerie when Shantel was hospitalized on June 21.

“That was pretty special because Brian worked really hard and is a really good jockey,” Lanerie said. “He deserved to be leading rider. He came down (to Louisiana) for the wake. He was going to stay if I wanted him to, but I said, ‘If anybody is going to get it, Shantel would want you to have it. So go there and do what you do.'”

Lanerie said he made the decision to return to riding because “It’s not going to get any better. Life has to go on, and I figure the sooner we go and start doing things and trying to get normalcy back in our life, things will be better.”

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