From Churchill Downs Media Team / Darren Rogers & Kevin Kerstein:

DOYLE RETURNS TO RIDING AT CHURCHILL DOWNS FOR FIRST TIME SINCE BECOMING A MOM

 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Thursday, May 23, 2024) – Jockey Sophie Doyle returned to riding at Churchill Downs on Sunday, marking her first mount beneath the Twin Spires since her daughter, Emilie, was born nearly two years ago.

          Doyle, who began riding professionally in Kentucky in 2014, wasted no time returning to the racetrack in the mornings, breezing horses for her fiancé, trainer Chris Davis, just three months after giving birth. Doyle’s expertise was crucial in the preparation of Epic Ride for Kentucky Derby 150 being the regular exercise rider for the talented John Ennis-trained 3-year-old colt. Epic Ride would go on to finish 14th in the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (Grade I).

          Doyle began her triumphant return to riding races earlier this spring, winning two races from 13 starts with two seconds and one third. She’s named to ride You Make Me Happy on Saturday at Churchill Downs as well as several horses throughout the week at Belterra Park and Presque Isle Downs.

          “It’s wonderful to be back here at Churchill Downs,” Doyle said. “It’s been almost two years since I’ve been back riding here. It was the first place I won a race when I began my career in North America and having Emilie beside me makes it even more special.

          “I really enjoy seeing Emilie’s love for horses and how she interprets them. When mommy is winning she knows it’s great. I’ve been told after children, mom’s have superpowers. My day starts pretty early taking care of her and working horses. Plus, I have my off-track Thoroughbred Jaz N Tap. Now, it’s back to race riding again.”

          In Doyle’s last full-time season in the saddle, she tallied 83 wins from 493 starts with purse earnings of $2.5 million.

GAFFALIONE, ASMUSSEN, JUDDMONTE EARLY SPRING MEET LEADERS – Jockey Tyler Gaffalione, trainer Steve Asmussen and owner Juddmonte led their respective categories through 14 days of the 44-day Churchill Downs Spring Meet stand.

          Gaffalione, who’s tallied 13 wins from 90 starts, had a two-win lead over Jose Ortiz and three-win cushion over Florent Geroux and Luis Saez.

          Asmussen’s 10 wins from a whopping 57 starts led all trainers. Brad Cox was in second with nine wins followed by Mike Maker with eight wins.

          Juddmonte’s six victories led all owners. They were followed by Anthony Tate, TEC Racing and Three Diamonds Farm with three wins.

DOWN THE STRETCH – Live racing at Churchill Downs resumed Thursday for a five-day week. The Twilight Thursday program featured eight races, $2 domestic beers at the East Paddock Bar, live music fromKevin Niehoff and local food trucks Acme Chicken Bowls, Bamba Eggrolls, Con Aji y Café, HurriKanes and Spinelli’s Pizza. First post was 5 p.m. … Following overnight rain and scheduled scattered thunderstorms throughout the afternoon, there was no turf racing Thursday. The main track was labeled as fast for training Thursday morning. … “Inside Churchill Downs” will resume Friday at 6 p.m. on ESPN 680/105.7. The one-hour broadcast, hosted by Churchill Downs’ Darren Rogers and Kevin Kerstein, will look back on the Preakness Stakes (GI) and preview the Saturday program at Churchill Downs with racing analyst and the voice of Ellis Park and Turfway Park, Tony Calo. …  Monday is Military Appreciation Day at Churchill Downs and all active and retired military members can receive free general admission with a valid military ID. … For more information about racing from Churchill Downs, visit www.churchilldowns.com.