(Jockey Joel Rosario won the meet’s “Jockey’s Title” with two full days of racing to go, and he set a record for most wins ever at the exclusive, 6-day meet this year / Photo by Coady Photography)
(Jockey Joel Rosario booted home Tobys Heart to victory in Sunday’s Nelson’s Green Brier Whiskey Music City Stakes at KY Downs / All Photos by Coady Photography)
(Jockey Joel Rosario has ridden the likes of Koala Princess to Stakes wins at KY Downs in the last few days / All Photos by Coady Photography)
A few thoughts about this and that in the wacky world of Thoroughbred racing:
As the character “Chandler” might say if the TV show “Friends” was still on the tube and entertaining us every live long week:
“Can you be any hotter than Joel Rosario?”
The 36-year-old jockey — who was born and grew up on a farm just outside Santo Domingo before arriving in the United States in 2006 and before he starting kicking butt in California — has been a man on an absolute mission at the recent, abbreviated, and star-studded grass meet at Kentucky Downs.
Let’s be honest here peeps:
I have never, ever, ever witnessed a single rider dominate a race meeting or ride any better for the past two weeks that this guy.
After all, he wrapped up the Kentucky Downs’ riding championship on Thursday — with two full days of racing yet to go. At that time, he already had 13 trips to the winner’s circle.
After all, he won 10 races in the first two days of the 6-day meet, and that was just a toe in the water to test the temperature.
After all, he swamped the old record number of wins for the meet — which was 12 and first set in 2004 when Rafael Bejarno set that mark. Florent Geroux equalled that number of wins in both 2015 and 2016.
After all, after being blanked on Saturday, he came back on Sunday with grit and grandeur mixed into style and grace. He won the Nelson’s Green Brier Whiskey Music City Stakes with Tobys Heart. He won the Ainsworth Stakes with Koala Princess. He won the 5th with Dressed. He won the 2nd with Star Command. For those scoring at home? That is 4 more wins and adds up to a whopping 17 for the meet.
That is 17 wins. Five more than the record.
Wow. Just wow.
As Rosario often does, he gave much credit to his agent, the incomparable Ron Anderson. And, there’s no doubt. Much credit has to go to Anderson — who has secured the mounts for various riders who have won 15 Triple Crown races, so far; 5 Kentucky Derby events, so far; and 37 Breeders’ Cup Stakes, so far — is the agent to the stars.
Yet, make no mistake. The ultimate credit must go to the man sitting on the back of those 1,500-pound athletes with a heart beating as fierce as the great Ali’s when he was standing over a fall Joe Frazier.
And, make no mistake.
Joel Rosario is the best rider on God’s green Earth (better known as Kentucky Downs), New York, California, and all points in-between.
(Corey Lanerie / Photo by Holly M. Smith)
Speaking of Riders, Here’s Hoping that Corey Lanerie Is Ready To Return This Week:
At the end of the Ellis Park meet, one of Kentucky’s finest riders — Corey Lanerie — was tossed from his mount and he landed awkwardly on his shoulder. The next day he took off this mounts, and many expected the veteran rider to be ready for mounts at both Indy Grand and Kentucky Downs over the last two weeks.
Unfortunately, we discovered that Lanerie separated his shoulder and was in a fair amount of pain that required a couple of weeks of rest and rehabilitation.
We chatted with Corey this week, via text. Here is what he had to write:
“I’m OK…separated by AC joint so it hurts a little bit…but will be alright…The doctor actually gave me the OK to ride as soon as I think I’m OK.”
Here’s hoping that Lanerie is back in the saddle this coming Thursday night, when Churchill Downs revs up its’ annual September meet. He’s a class act. And, a grand rider.
The man is a staple here in the Bluegrass.
(Bob Baffert / Photo by Gene McLean)
Churchill Downs Will Not Allow Horses Trained by Baffert to Gain Points Towards 2022 Kentucky Derby:
Just this week, Churchill Downs announced its’ “Road to the Kentucky Derby” for 2022, and the series of races that will have points attached to them. This list of races is impressive. And, the list of races is important.
But there was one bit of information that was first reported by Matt Hagerty, of “The Daily Racing Form,” that was truly more important and critical than just the list and series of races.
Hagerty reported that Churchill Downs — which has previously banned the embattled trainer Bob Baffert from both the grounds and entry into any race at the famed racetrack for the next two years in wake of the positive test result from 2021 KY Derby winner Medina Spirit — would not award any points towards the 2022 KY Derby if won by a horse trained by Baffert, or in the immediate care of anyone associated with the trainer.
Now, that is what I am talking about.
Finally, a racetrack stepping up to do what is right and doing what it can to protect and enhance both the image and integrity of the game and sport.
The next move is now in the court of the owners who still place their valuable horses in the care of Baffert. Let’s see what is most important to them.
And, by the way, if you are wondering why the Kentucky Racing Commission has yet to take an official action on the 2021 Kentucky Derby and the test results that came shortly thereafter?
Why don’t you ask Baffert and his attorneys. Seems as if the delay is in their court, too.
(LTS to give out the the first “Dr. J. David Richardson Humanitarian Award” this Wednesday night at the LTS Stakes Dinner / Photo by Coady Photography)
Louisville Thoroughbred Society Stakes Dinner — This Wednesday Night:
This Wednesday night, “The Louisville Thoroughbred Society” will be hosting its’ first “LTS Stakes Dinner” and will be presenting two very special awards.
The first will be the inaugural “Dr. J. David Richardson Humanitarian Award,” which will be bestowed to an individual of remarkable accomplishment and character. The identify will be revealed for the first time on Wednesday night, just before the 5-course meal will be presented.
The award is named after the famed head of surgery at the University of Louisville and one of this sport’s greatest sports. Just a week ago, to the shock and bitter heartbreak of many, Dr. Richardson succumbed to the evils of Covid, while in Saratoga for the summer festival of racing. We are now hoping to honor Dr. Richardson’s memory; many accomplishments; and great humanitarian efforts with an award that we hope will live long into the future. Just like the immense shadow of the man in which it is named after.
The second award is the “LTS Stakes Honored Guest Award,” and it will be given to Churchill Downs Chief Executive Officer Bill Carstanjen.
Carstanjen, along with other top executives at the world’s most historic and prestigious racetrack, has been instrumental in assisting the launch of the game’s best and most attractive new wagering / social venue — now known throughout the Kentucky circuit as the LTS. The premier private membership club opened its’ doors for the first time on St. Patrick’s Day of 2021. Since, it has seen astounding growth and has been a destination location for many racing fans and socialites.
(Bango and trainer Greg Foley / Coady Photography)
LTS Stakes — The Inaugural Event Comes This Saturday As Part of the “Downs After Dark” Program & Part of a Major 4-Stakes Card:
The first LTS Stakes — a 6-furlong sprint event for the 3YOs & Up — will be launched for this first time this coming Saturday night and part of a 4-Stakes card that will light up the Fall racing scene and spark many on the road to this year’s Breeder’s Cup.
The first “Downs After Dark” program of the meet will feature the G3 Iroquois — which is a “Win & You’re In Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Division” Stakes; the G3 Locust Grove — which is for the fillies and mares 3YOs & Up; the G3 Pocahontas — which is a “Win & You’re In Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Division” Stakes; and the LTS Stakes.
The field for the first running of the LTS Stakes is expected to include Bango, who is on a three-race and 3-Stakes win streak and is a horse who has found a great fondness for Churchill Downs, and Dennis’ Moment, who returned to the races off a long layup to nearly win an allowance event at Ellis Park recently.
More to come when we get the full entries and a chance to peek at the Past Performances.
Chill bumps already popping.
(The front foyer and entrance to the LTS / Photo by Gene McLean)
Just a Simple Question: Why Has the Local Press; the Horse-Related Press Ignored the LTS?
As we finish up this Sunday night, I have just a simple question.
Why has the Kentucky so-called “press” or what is left of it, and the horse-related publications, as well, totally ignored the emergence and the news of The Louisville Thoroughbred Society?
Does it have to do with jealousy?
After all, there is not another “turf club” or private-membership establishment — either at or associated with a racetrack in this country — that comes close to matching the LTS for amenities and service. I know. I think I have been and visited nearly every one of them. And, none of the others come close. None.
If you don’t believe me, and I know I am a bit biased, then just ask our members. We built it. They have come. Fields of many dreams.
Does it have to do with ignorance?
I don’t know how.
After all, the LTS recently held a “press luncheon” and invited various members of Kentucky’s top newspapers and all the industry press entities that make it a living to cover the vast array of news associated with both the racing and breeding industries in this country and abroad. The list included several writers from each of the following:
The Lexington Herald-Leader.
The Louisville Courier-Journal.
The Daily Racing Form.
The Thoroughbred Daily News.
The Paulick Report.
There were others. Lots of others.
And, not a single one sent a representative to inspect the facility and enjoy a free lunch. Now, you know something is up and awry when the press doesn’t show up for a free lunch. I’ve seen Tim Sullivan trip over Marge Schott trying to get a warmed-up hot dog at old Riverfront Stadium.
To date, not a single one of these publications have written a single word about the launch or the emergency of the LTS. Not a single word.
I will have to give Sue Finley and Ray Paulick some credit. At the very least they did RSVP with regrets. All of the others just didn’t respond. Silence. Crickets. How rude is that? Come on. I’ll tell you how rude. It’s despicable.
What does it have to do with?
Whatever it is, in truth, it is truly sad.
The LTS is millions of dollars worth of investment in an entity that was built to spread good will and fun with and in the Thoroughbred industry. Within.
And, the LTS was created with the simple idea that it can and will spread enthusiasm and awareness for the Thoroughbred industry with new audiences and potential investors. If the industry does not do that. It will be without.
I would bet no other press entity or a combination of all the press entities above combined have spent the kind of resources that we have — investment of both money and time — to make the sport; the industry; the game better and more accessible to others.
Yet, not a word.
Yet, not a photograph.
Yet, not a mention.
Sad. Truly sad.
It’s a state of “Depression” for “de press.”