Top Riders & Trainers for Spring-Summer Meet at Churchill Downs

Going into the final couple of weeks of the 2017 Spring-Summer Meet at Churchill Downs there is little doubt who are the leading contenders to win the riding and training titles.

Corey Lanerie, who has emerged as one of the top rides in the entire Midwest and now on the national scene, is once again dominating the jockey standings.

After last weekend, Lanerie now has 45 wins in 200 starts, with another 33 seconds and 37 thirds. His mounts have earned nearly $2,000,000 in purse money already – and one of the biggest weekends of the season is coming up on Saturday. The Grade 1, $500,000 Stephen F. Foster will highlight a card that has another four Graded Stakes on the card.

Four of the top five riders at the current meet have already earned over $1 million in purse money, while the fourth-leading rider in terms of number of wins, Ricardo Santana, has already moved his tack to New York’s Belmont Park.

The race for the trainer’s title is a bit closer. Steve Asmussen, who became only the third trainer to ever win 600 races or more at Churchill Downs earlier this meet, has a 3-win edge over Brad Cox going into this week’s racing.

Asmussen joined Hall of Famers Bill Mott and Dale Romans for most wins by a trainer at legendary Churchill Downs. In addition, he finished second in this year’s Kentucky Derby with Lookin At Lee, the only colt to make all three legs of this year’s Triple Crown.

If that’s not enough to celebrate already, Asmussen will saddle Gun Runner for the Stephen Foster Stakes on Saturday night, and he is the likely to be the prohibitive favorite for the winner’s share of that $500,000 purse.

Here is a closer look at the standings:

Top Riders:

Corey Lanerie: 200 – 45-33-37 = $1,950,197
Brian J. Hernandez, Jr: 160 – 30-36-23 = $1,393,347
Julien Leparoux: 103 – 19-12-16 = $1,541,062
Ricardo Santana, Jr: 88-17-14-9 = $511,510
Florent Geroux: 98-17-10-18 = $1,121,389

Top Trainers:

Steve Asmussen: 71-15-11-9 = $940,511
Brad Cox: 58-12-11-12 = $828,989
Brendan Walsh: 31-12-6-2 = $441,262
Ian Wilkes: 55-12-5-13 = $713,637
Tom Amoss: 42-12-5-8 = $463,007

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds
  • Gene McLean

    Gene McLean

    Gene McLean began his professional career in 1977 as a sportswriter and columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky., and was recognized as one of the state’s best writers, winning the prestigious “Sportswriter of the Year” honor in 1985. Now the President and Publisher of The Pressbox, McLean sets ...

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