(Jockey Tyler Gaffalione is closing in on a really good Fall meet at Churchill Downs / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)
(But can Gafflione catch Corey Lanerie, the master of ceremonies at most Churchill Downs’ race meets? Time will tell / Photo by Holly M. Smith)
(The sun is setting fast on another meet and another year of Churchill Downs’ racing / Photo by Holly M. Smith)
There’s not much time left in Churchill Down’s annual Fall / November race meet. Just five more race days, which kick off on Wednesday — the day before the big turkey comes to town. Just five more live race days left under the Twin Spires for all of 2019.
Where has the time gone? Seriously? It has gone about as fast as a 3-year-old on Derby Day. Maybe faster.
But there may be — perhaps, could be — just enough time for young, aspiring, Luke Skywalker-like rider Tyler Gaffalione to catch the Obi-Wan Kenobi of the Kentucky jockey colony, Corey Lanerie, in the race for the Jockey’s Title this November.
After Sunday’s races were concluded, Lanerie — who seemingly wins the Churchill Downs’ riding championships as often as there’s a big party here every year on the First Saturday in May — has totaled 28 wins, 22 seconds and 21 thirds in 147 rides this meet. His horses have earned an amazing $1.03 million in purses.
Just a week ago, Lanerie’s lead seemed to be insurmountable. Untouchable. Undeniable.
And, it still may prove to be.
Closing fast is Gaffalione. So far this meet, Gaffalione — who just recently moved his tack to the Kentucky circuit from his previous home base in Florida — has 22 wins, 21 seconds and 14 thirds in 102 rides this meet. His horses have won over $1.511 million in purses, too.
That means that Gaffalione has to win, on average, 1.5 more races per day that his target over the final few days to catch and surpass Lanerie at the wire?
Can it be done? Certainly.
Will it be done? Let’s watch and find out.
At the least, there is now a race.
Here’s a look at the Top 25 riders so far this meet:
|1||Corey J. Lanerie||147||28||22||21||$1,603,747||19%||71||48%|
|3||Julien R. Leparoux||89||18||12||10||$1,153,619||20%||40||45%|
|4||Ricardo Santana, Jr.||101||19||16||12||$1,118,228||19%||47||47%|
|5||Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr.||111||14||20||20||$991,525||13%||54||49%|
|11||Jon Kenton Court||66||5||6||10||$316,841||8%||21||32%|
|13||Joseph Rocco, Jr.||55||2||5||5||$268,317||4%||12||22%|
|18||Alex L. Canchari||61||3||3||6||$183,061||5%||12||20%|
|24||Fernando De La Cruz||22||2||0||1||$120,057||9%||3||14%|