(Rider James Graham / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)

(Rider Rafael Bejarano / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)

Ellis Park kicked off its’ annual Summer Race Meet last week to the thunderous sound of horse’s hooves, jockey’s yelps and chirps, thunder strikes above, and, for the fist time in a very, very long time in Kentucky, the sound of some people in the stands.

Those people are who we used to call “spectators.” And, they have been sidelined since mid-March due to the pandemic and the onslaught of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Now, racing enthusiasts can trickle back in to the Henderson facility, as long as they purchase a seat and practice both social distancing and wear a mask. Both of those asks are not unrealistic in these days and times.

And, by all accounts, it was fun to be back at the ole’ “Pea Patch.”

For all.

Horses. Jockeys. Fans. And, we speculate, for the rain clouds above, too.

All accounts.

After the first week of racing, Ellis Park will now take a week off and allow Keeneland Race Course to conduct 5 days of spectacular racing in Lexington. The historic venue lost all of its’ Spring Meet due to the pandemic.

Now, Keeneland will get to bring back 5 days — packed with Graded Stakes races throughout the cards — starting on Wednesday and running through Sunday.

Yet, the first week of racing at Ellis did bring some interesting developments, and some drama, too.

After Sunday’s racing was done, riders James Graham and Rafael Bejarano — who recently returned to Kentucky with both his tack and his game — are tied at the top of the “Rider Standings” with five wins apiece.

Graham has logged a record of 5-3-2 in the first 18 mounts, winning at a .28% clip.

Bejarano has gone 5-2-6 in 22 rides so far, winning at a .23% rate.

And, jockey Miguel Mena, who is just two wins off the pace of the front-runners, has already achieved a personal milestone this meet and is looking for more wins to add to his career totals. In 25 rides this meet, Mena has a mark of 3-2-3 and has won at a .12% rate.

Here’s a look at the Top 25 riders so far this meet:

1 James Graham 18 5 3 2 $77,795 28% 10 56%
2 Rafael Bejarano 22 5 2 6 $72,800 23% 13 59%
3 Corey J. Lanerie 24 2 4 5 $67,153 8% 11 46%
4 Miguel Mena 25 3 2 3 $53,375 12% 8 32%
5 Julien R. Leparoux 6 2 1 1 $53,305 33% 4 67%
6 Declan Cannon 13 1 4 1 $41,085 8% 6 46%
7 Joseph Talamo 4 1 1 1 $40,420 25% 3 75%
8 Alex Achard 7 1 1 1 $38,325 14% 3 43%
9 Florent Geroux 7 1 1 1 $37,505 14% 3 43%
10 Tyler Baze 9 2 0 2 $36,585 22% 4 44%
11 Adam Beschizza 12 1 4 1 $29,678 8% 6 50%
12 Crystal Conning 5 1 2 0 $27,385 20% 3 60%
13 Gerardo Corrales 6 3 0 0 $23,240 50% 3 50%
14 Martin Garcia 5 1 1 0 $19,100 20% 2 40%
15 Colby J. Hernandez 8 0 1 3 $15,590 0% 4 50%
16 Declan Carroll 14 1 2 2 $15,560 7% 5 36%
17 Mitchell Murrill 6 2 0 1 $14,795 33% 3 50%
18 David Cohen 3 1 0 0 $9,850 33% 1 33%
19 Julie Burke 2 1 0 0 $9,080 50% 1 50%
20 Jesus Lopez Castanon 2 1 0 1 $8,750 50% 2 100%
21 Joseph Rocco, Jr. 9 0 0 1 $7,775 0% 1 11%
22 Chris Landeros 4 0 2 1 $6,750 0% 3 75%
23 Ricardo Santana, Jr. 4 0 0 1 $6,175 0% 1 25%
24 Rogelio Miranda 1 1 0 0 $6,000 100% 1 100%
25 Isaiah Wiseman 8 0 1 1 $5,220 0% 2 25%

(Statistics Compiled by Equibase)