(Jockey Jon Court / Photos by Holly M. Smith)
From the Churchill Downs Media Team:
Veteran jockey Jon Court is the elder statesman in the Churchill Downs jockey colony at age 60. However, the journeyman rider continues to ride at a top level and remains optimistic about the future of his career.
“I’ve been very fortunate and blessed to be able to have a body that still cooperates and to have live horses underneath me,” said Court, who had five wins through 28 days at the Spring Meet. “I know I’m at the top of the stretch in my career but that means I still have a quarter-mile left to go. I’ve been around the block for many years and love what I do.”
Court has won more than 4,200 races in his career that began in 1980 at the now defunct Centennial Race Track in Littleton, Colo. Court started his jockey career before eight of the current Top 10 riders in the Churchill Downs colony were born.
“When you get to this stage of your career, some of the younger riders come up and ask for advice,” Court said. “I’m very open and love doing that. It makes you realize you are very blessed to be in that sort of situation where fellow riders are asking you for advice. I’m very lucky.”
Court was named to ride six horses over the next three days of racing at Churchill Downs. Among his scheduled mounts was a 2-year-old named Curly Tail for trainer Dallas Stewart and owner Willis Horton. Stewart and Horton remained successful with Court earlier this year when he rode Will’s Secret to a third-place finish in the $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI).
“There have been many loyal trainers and owners who have stuck with me for a number of years,” Court said. “This game is tough but loyalty goes a long way.”
OLD FORESTER MINT JULEP CONTENDERS DOMINGA, SISTER HANAN CROSS-ENTERED IN SUNDAY ALLOWANCE – Don Alberto Stable’s stakes-winning filly Dominga along with Sumaya U S Stables’ three-time winner Sister Hanan were entered in a conditioned allowance race Sunday at Churchill Downs in lieu of running in Saturday night’s $150,000 Old Forester Mint Julep (Grade III).
The 1 1/16-mile Old Forester Mint Julep, run over the Matt Winn Turf Course, is carded as Race 9 with a post time of 10:11 p.m. (all times Eastern). The 11-race Downs After Dark program gets underway at 6 p.m.
The complete field for the Mint Julep from the rail out (with jockey, trainer and morning line odds): Mintd(IRE) (Ricardo Santana Jr., Brendan Walsh, 12-1); Juliet Foxtrot (GB) (Tyler Gaffalione, Brad Cox, 6-5); Hendy Woods (Florent Geroux, Mark Casse, 6-1); Vezpa (BRZ) (Joe Talamo, Paulo Lobo, 30-1); Lashara (GB) (JulienLeparoux, Mark Casse, 20-1); Dominga (Shaun Bridgmohan, Cox, 8-1); Flash n’ Dance (Marcelino Pedroza, Marcus O’Donnell, 30-1); Tuned (GB) (David Cohen, Graham Motion, 12-1); Crystal Ball (James Graham, Rodolphe Brisset, 6-1); Sister Hanan (Corey Lanerie, Ben Colebrook, 10-1); and She’sonthewarpath (Adam Beschizza, Steve Margolis, 8-1).
Dominga and Sister Hanan are the top two betting choices in Sunday’s featured ninth race at 2-1 and 5-2, respectively, on the morning line odds. The allowance event, worth a purse of $106,000, has a post time of 4:55 p.m.
DOWN THE STRETCH – Racing continued Friday with a first post of 12:45 p.m. for the nine-race program. The card featured a $57,755 carryover in the 20-cent Derby City 6 that spanned Races 4-9. … Saturday is Downs After Dark – Rock the Downs presented by Budweiser. The evening of entertainment features live racing, music from Rock United on the Plaza Stage, special themed cocktail specials, LED jugglers and stilt walkers from CirqueLouis and music performances from the Pagoda. Guests are encouraged to break out their best rocker wear including vintage band shirts, leather jackets, denim, plaid or even glam. … Likely Stephen Foster (GII) favorite Maxfield worked five furlongs in 1:01 Friday at Keeneland. Nominations to the $600,000 Stephen Foster close Saturday along with its six supporting stakes: the $300,000 Fleur de Lis (GII), the $300,000 Wise Dan (GII), the $150,000 Bashford Manor (GIII), the $150,000 Debutante (Listed), the $150,000 Tepin and the $150,000 War Chant. To nominate, call the Churchill Downs Racing Office at (502) 638-3806. … “Inside Churchill Downs” will air Friday at 6 p.m. on ESPN 680/105.7. Churchill Downs’ Darren Rogers, Kevin Kerstein and Scott Shapiro will get fans ready for all the racing action over the weekend. Those outside the Louisville area can listen online at www.espnlouisville.com. … The Backside Learning Center at Churchill Downs is partnering with Equine Trail Advocates for a “Youth Horsemanship Summer Program.” Each week, several of the Backside Learning Center’s students will enjoy different aspects of taking care of horses and will eventually learn how to ride. More information can be found on the Backside Learning Center’s Facebook page at: www.Facebook.com/BacksideLearningCenter.