Churchill Downs’ Jockeys Visit Norton Children’s Hospital on Thursday, June 28

(Retired jockey Pat Day joined some active riders from the Churchill Downs’ jockey colony to visit patients at Louisville’s North Children’s Hospital in Louisville / Photo Courtesy of Coady Photography & Churchill Downs)

From the Media Team at Churchill Downs:

A cherished annual tradition will continue for a 31st consecutive year when Churchill Downs jockeys and track officials visit with young patients, their families and friends at Louisville’s Norton Children’s Hospital on Thursday, June 28.

Retired Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day will join a roster of more than a dozen active riders headed by three-time Kentucky Derby winner and Hall of Famer Calvin Borel, Kentucky Oaks winner Florent Geroux, Julien Leparoux and Ricardo Santana Jr. for the renewal of the annual visit to Children’s Hospital that began in 1988. Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery and other track representatives will join the riders during Thursday’s visit with young patients at the hospital..

The event is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. (EDT) Thursday in lobby of the hospital located at 231 East Chestnut St.The riders and track officials will divide into groups to visit and distribute toys and mementos to patients on several floors.

Day ranks atop Churchill Downs’ all-time victory list with 2,482 wins that include a triumph in the 1992 Kentucky Derby aboard Lil E. Tee. Borel ranks second on the track’s all-time win list and won an unprecedented three Kentucky Derbys in four years on Street Sense(2007), Mine That Bird (2009) and Super Saver (2010). Other jockeys expected to participate in Thursday’s Norton Children’s Hospital visit include Joe Rocco Jr., Channing Hill, Gabriel Saez, Declan Cannon, Rogelio Miranda, Adam Beschizza, Edgar Morales, C.J. McMahon, Rayan Gazader, Samuel Camacho Jr. and Jack Gilligan.

Media coverage of the annual visit by Churchill Downs jockeys to Norton Children’s Hospital is welcomed. Interested media should enter the hospital through its main entrance on East Chestnut to meet with the riders, Churchill Downs representatives and hospital staff and volunteers. If they wish, media crews can accompany jockeys on their tours.

The visit by jockeys to Norton Children’s Hospital first occurred on Kentucky Oaks Day in 1988 with the participation of four Kentucky Derby jockeys – all future inductees into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. The jockeys, who would guide the first four finishers in the Derby, were Gary Stevens (rider on the victorious Winning Colors), Day (runner-up aboard Forty Niner), Eddie Delahoussaye (third on Risen Star) and Jerry Bailey(fourth on Proper Reality).

The Norton Children’s Hospital visit was conducted in its early years on Kentucky Oaks Day, but the ongoing expansion of Derby and Oaks racing and entertainment schedules prompted the annual event to be scheduled later during the Spring Meet.

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The horses came in early, they went to the training center (at Keeneland) for a couple of days because this place wasn’t open,” he said. “We shipped in, got a couple of gallops over the track. (Assistant trainer) Aime Dollase did a great job, she was here the whole time. Everything looked really good when we got here. The horses were happy. I never won two in a row like this, in stakes. It’s pretty good.”

The Ladies Turf was the 19th career start for the 5-year-old mare, who won for the fifth time in her career. She came into Kentucky Downs off a four-month layoff following a last-pace finish in the Grade 2 Distaff Turf Mile at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby day.

“The owners are pretty happy right now,” Baltas said. “We’re just very grateful. She was actually coming off a layoff so we gave her some time after the Santa Anita meet. She was a little sore, just body sore and needed a little break. I got her back at the beginning of Del Mar, so I got like four or five works on the grass at Del Mar. We were looking for a race, and the guys said let’s send her here. They found the spot. We were thinking the Ladies Sprint or here. We thought this would probably be better, the mile. It was an owner-trainer decision and just worked out.”

Richard Baltas, Trainer of the winner
  • Gene McLean

    Gene McLean

    Gene McLean began his professional career in 1977 as a sportswriter and columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky., and was recognized as one of the state’s best writers, winning the prestigious “Sportswriter of the Year” honor in 1985. Now the President and Publisher of The Pressbox, McLean sets ...

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