(Rider Corey Lanerie signs autographs at Ellis Park last summer)

From the Media Team at Keeneland:

LANERIE STORY HIGHLIGHTS 10TH ANNIVERSARY
HORSES AND HOPE PINK DAY

During today’s 10th Anniversary Horses and Hope Pink Day, Keeneland jockeys will wear pink leg bands that read “Fight with Shantel” to support Shantel Lanerie, wife of jockey Corey Lanerie (pictured at left), who is undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

” src=”blob:https://thepressboxlts.com/c7b262cd-9fd0-4206-9254-6edcc2b63053″ alt=”image006.jpg” align=”left” hspace=”12″ v:shapes=”Picture_x0020_2″ class=”Apple-web-attachment Singleton” style=”width: 2.1916in; height: 2.9166in;”>Horses and Hope was established in 2008 by the Kentucky Cancer Program with former first lady Jane Beshear and the Pink Stable, made up of members of the racing community, to increase breast cancer awareness, education and treatment referral, along with providing lifesaving screenings to members of Kentucky’s signature horse industry workers and others across the Commonwealth. Horses and Hope’s cancer screening van travels across Kentucky, screening men and women for seven types of cancer. The program has provided more than 7,000 mammograms.

Shantel, who was diagnosed earlier this year, is beloved in the tight-knit racing community and known as a wonderful cook who celebrates her Cajun roots with such specialties as crawfish bisque. The daughter of a racehorse trainer, she met Corey at Evangeline Downs in Louisiana and has held several jobs at the race track, from photographer’s assistant at Churchill Downs to mutuel clerk at Fair Grounds.

She and Corey have been married 21 years and have a 10-year-old daughter, Brittlyn.

After today’s second race (post time 1:39 p.m.), Keeneland will present a check to Horses and Hope on behalf of Shantel.

At 1:50 p.m., Keeneland’s jockeys will gather in the Winner’s Circle with Mrs. Beshear and Shantel. Jockeys will have the pink saddle towels for the fourth race (post time 2:45 p.m.), the Horses and Hope.

 

COX HAVING FUN IN QUEST FOR FIRST KEENELAND TRAINING TITLE

Through the first 14 days of the 16-day Spring Meet, Brad Cox leads all trainers with 13 wins as he takes aim on his first Keeneland title. Cox, who has a 50 percent win percentage, has three starters remaining this meet – one today and two Friday.

Cox is two wins ahead of both Wesley Ward, whose final starters of the meet are entered in four races today, and Chad Brown, whose final two starters are racing Friday.

North America’s fifth-leading trainer of 2018 by earnings with $4.16 million, Cox said earning his first leading Keeneland training title would be an unexpected bonus to a season punctuated by the triumph of Michael Dubb, Monomoy Stables, The Elkstone Group and Bethlehem Stables’ Monomoy Girl in the $500,000 Central Bank Ashland (G1) on April 7. Monomoy Girl, Cox’s first Keeneland stakes winner, is one of the early favorites for the Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs on May 4.

“Winning the Ashland with Monomoy Girl was the major goal,” Cox said. “This has been a pleasant surprise to be in this position. Hopefully, it will work out. We have some live horses running the next few days, so we will see what happens. It is a little stressful, but it is fun.”

Cox credits his Keeneland success to several factors.

“We have a large number of horses and a lot of quality horses, and their owners allow us to place them in the proper races,” he said. “And I have a great staff. Obviously, if you have a lot of horses, you have to have a lot of help and my staff is second to none. They are as good as anyone out there.”

Cox, a Louisville native, grew up going to Churchill with his father and opted for a track job after graduating from Iroquois High School in 1998. He learned the basics under various trainers before working as an assistant to Dallas Stewart for five years. He obtained his own training license in 2004.

Cox came to Keeneland this year after being the leading trainer by wins at Fair Grounds. He also had a string at Oaklawn Park, where he ranked fourth by wins.

FORMER BETOLOGIST BACK AT KEENELAND
AS CO-OWNER OF BEWITCH STARTER

When Vagas Mathiesen took a self-described breather from the insurance business in Omaha, he expected to spend time doing relaxing chores at his friend Pat Waresk’s Central Kentucky Thoroughbred farm. But an online ad for a position at Keeneland as a BETologist during the 2015 Fall Meet changed his plan.

BETologists are Keeneland’s wagering experts who assist fans with questions. The position interested Mathiesen, and he landed the job after a Skype interview.

The BETologist experience renewed Mathiesen’s interest in Thoroughbred racing, which had originated at Omaha’s Ak-Sar-Ben race track, where his grandfather owned Thoroughbreds.

“I have many pictures of me in the winner’s circle at Ak-Sar-Ben,” he said.

Mathiesen returns to Keeneland Friday to watch a horse he owns in partnership compete in the closing-day feature, the $150,000 Bewitch (G3).

She is Sully’s Dream, a 4-year-old daughter of Colonel John who is coming off a win in the March 24 New Orleans Ladies Stakes at Fair Grounds. Mathiesen owns the filly, trained by John Ortiz, with Pat Waresk, Ralph Ebert, Michael Waresk and Randy Taylor.

Mathiesen said he stopped following racing when his grandfather died 1998 but returned to the sport in the summer of 2016 when he claimed Sly Star for $5,000 at Prairie Meadows in Iowa. The filly went on to win several races, including a stakes in Nebraska.

Since then, Mathiesen has expanded his Thoroughbred portfolio to include other racehorses and broodmares in partnerships. On April 1, he acquired an interest in Sully’s Dream.

“When I was in Kentucky for the 2015 Keeneland season, I saw her every day when she was a yearling at Pat Waresk’s farm,” he said. “So I am very happy to now be a part owner.”