(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.”
Horses. Jockeys. Fans. And, we speculate, for the rain clouds above, too.
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:
|3||Corey J. Lanerie||24||2||4||5||$67,153||8%||11||46%|
|5||Julien R. Leparoux||6||2||1||1||$53,305||33%||4||67%|
|15||Colby J. Hernandez||8||0||1||3||$15,590||0%||4||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%|
|23||Ricardo Santana, Jr.||4||0||0||1||$6,175||0%||1||25%|
(Statistics Compiled by Equibase)