Lanerie, Cox Clinch Summer Titles At Ellis Park

Jockey Corey Lanerie, trainer Brad Cox and owner Joey K. Davis clinched the meet titles Sunday for Ellis Park with Monday’s closing card still to go.

Monday’s special 12-race Labor Day card will feature the same Value Day discounted prices on draft beer, soda and hotdogs that are offered on Sundays.

Lanerie, who missed the first six days of the meet following the death of wife Shantel, started off strong upon his return and was steady the rest of the meet, blowing past the leaders on Aug. 19 when he went 4 for 5, capped by sweeping the Ellis Park Debutante (Serengeti Empress) and Ellis Park Juvenile (Whiskey Echo). He finished Sunday with 29 victories for the meet, five more than Shaun Bridgmohan, who is named to ride only two horses Monday.

“It’s just getting the right horses in,” said Lanerie, who is named to ride seven horses on Monday’s 12-race closing card. “I had good business coming into here, and I ride a lot of the right horses. Good clients, good people behind me. My agents done a really good job, and we’ve been winning races.

“When I first came back from everything going on, I didn’t know if I’d even have a chance to be leading rider. As I got close, I made it a goal in my mind to try to be leading rider for Shantel, in her honor. Just to make her proud, just keep doing what I’m doing, keep winning races. It’s going to be a weird feeling standing there when I’m accepting the award the award and she’s not right there.

“When I came back, you could say I had an angel on my back riding with me. Things just started clicking right away. I expected it to be slow coming back. I only missed six days here, but I was gone for almost a whole month away from Kentucky, where you’re out of sight, out of mind. So I didn’t know how my business would pick up right away when I came back. But I was fortunate enough where I kind of picked up where I left. I started winning races, and the more you win, it kind of just snowballed. People want you, and it’s been great.

“I’ve ridden a lot of good babies here, riding for Steve Asmussen. Tom Amoss’ filly seems really good. There’s a lot to look forward to with these 2-year-olds. They have so much upside to them going forward. You just never know what you have underneath you for the future. Maybe a Kentucky Oaks and a Derby.”

It’s Lanerie’s fifth title at Ellis Park, including his third straight since returning to a Kentucky summer base after riding at Saratoga the prior two years. Lanerie also won the 2013 title in a tie with Roberto Morales (brother to Ellis’ leading apprentice jockey, Edgar Morales) and an outright title in 2010. Lanerie also seemingly tied for the 2012 title with Brian Hernandez, but one of his mounts subsequently was disqualified for a medication violation.

Brad Cox earned his second Ellis Park training title with 22 victories out of 65 starters, including the 3-year-old first-time starter Mylady Curlin’s win in the 10th race. Although Cox has no runners on Monday’s closing card, he has an insurmountable lead over the 11 wins that put Ian Wilkes and Chris Hartman in a tie for second, with everyone else mathematically eliminated as well.

“It’s been a great meet. Ellis has been very good to us,” said Cox, who in 2015 won the Ellis title for his first training championship at any track. To show how his stable has exploded the past couple of years, Cox in the past 12 months has won titles at Churchill Downs’ September and fall meets, his second straight Fair Grounds title, Keeneland in the spring and now Ellis.

Cox’s haul included a meet-leading three stakes and seven allowance races. He won Ellis’ $50,000 Good Lord Stakes with Majestic Affair, the $100,000 Kentucky Downs Preview Tourist Mile with Mr. Misunderstood and the $100,000 Kentucky Downs Preview Calumet Farm Turf Cup with Arklow. Cox also won three stakes during the 2017 Ellis meet, when he finished second in wins behind two-time defending training champ Steve Asmussen.

Tessa Bisha oversees Cox’s Ellis Park division.

“It’s not as if we just ship in,” said Cox, who has his main base at Churchill Downs but also has horses at Indiana Grand as well as New York and Louisiana. “We’ve had around 60 horses stabled there all summer. It definitely fits well in our program. I’m definitely grateful for all the great assistants and all the clients who send us horses and give us opportunities. We won with some quality horses down there, broke some maidens and won several allowances and three stakes. So it’s been a very productive meet.”

The one surprise was that he didn’t run in more 2-year-old races, with two wins out of 13 starters.

“I think they’re just a little bit later than they have been for us,” Cox said. “I can’t really give you a reason. It just seems they are a month or two later than they have been the last couple of years. I think things will start picking up with the 2-year-olds come Churchill September.”

Joey K. Davis started the day with seven wins out of 15 starts that secured at least a tie for the owner’s title. However, Calumet Farm needed to have its two-horse entry in the seventh race finish in a dead heat for victory to get to seven wins. Calumet won the race with No. 1 Ship but no dead heat with stablemate Invested in what was the farm’s final race of the meet.
All of Davis’ winners were trained by Chris Hartman.

“I knew we were having a really good meet there as far as win percentage,” said Davis, who has two horses entered on Monday’s card. “Chris sent me a message about two weeks ago with a copy of the standings and indicated that he thought we had some more live horses in the meet. So he felt we had a good shot of staying on top. Toward the end, we weren’t running that many horses. But the ones we were running were very successful.”

Davis, who lives in Arlington, Texas, said he only prior title was about a decade ago at Zia Park in New Mexico. “I think I’ve finished second probably five, six, seven times over the years. But this is only the second time I’ve won the owner’s title. Very excited. One of the things that makes it really exciting is to do it in Kentucky, where you’re dealing with some fantastic horsemen and dealing with some of the better horses in the world. Ellis isn’t Churchill. But a lot of horses there will typically run at Churchill. So it’s an exciting time for me.”

Davis, who recently sold his Kansas City, Mo.-based insurance company, estimates he has 30 horses at the racetrack spread among three trainers in Kentucky, Texas and California, along with a dozen 2-year-olds in training at his farm in Texas. He had a breeding operation on the farm but said this year he decided not to breed any mares, retiring them all to a life of leisure on the property.

“We’ve actually on the horse-racing side of things done fairly well,” Davis said. “From a financial standpoint, there are years I’ve made money. I haven’t always been as successful in all my endeavors on the horse track. But in my endeavors with Chris, I’d say that as a general rule, we’ll typically break even or make a little money over time. Now my farm operation, that’s another story. I’ve given up on that.

“I’ve had a relationship with Chris since 2005. It’s been a great adventure with him. I’ve had more of a hands-off approach than I used to and just let Chris make the daily decisions with very little input from me. He does such a great job.”

The post Lanerie, Cox Clinch Summer Titles At Ellis Park appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

DYFD Winter - 300x90

Comments are closed.