Three years ago, Louisiana-born jockey Jamie Theriot
rode most of the races on a cold, overcast November day at Churchill Downs, got
into his car at the end of the day and drove all night to ride the opening day
card at Fair Grounds.
It proved to be worth the rush. Theriot arrived in time for
the first race of the New
Orleans season, won that race
with authority and then came back in the second to complete a sweep of the
Daily Double. Basically, he kept his momentum going throughout the winter and
ended up earning the first Fair Grounds riding title of his career when the
local session ended in late March.
Could this be a déjà vu winter for Theriot? On Friday,
second day of the 2010-2011 Fair Grounds season, the blonde native of Breaux
Bridge won four races, beginning with the opener aboard Whispering Oaks Farm’s Joe
Hollywood for two-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Steve Asmussen,
the fifth on Carl Moore Management’s Power Surge for Bret Calhoun,
the featured $60,000 Mr. Sulu Stakes with Heiligbrodt Racing Stable’s Hallway,
again for Asmussen, and the finale astride John Devieilh and Keith and Earl
Hernandez’ Tiger Rock for Frank Leggio. Is a second Fair Grounds
riding title in his future this winter?
“Every meet we go for that,” Theriot said Saturday morning
in the track kitchen after working six horses earlier in the day. “I’m
certainly riding for the right kind of outfits to be able to do that. Shaun
Bridgmohan will ride the majority of Steve Asmussen’s horses once he gets
down here from Churchill, but I’ll get to ride a few of them for him during the
season. I will ride a lot of horses for Bret Calhoun and a lot for Tom Amoss,
so I should do all right.
“This has turned out to be a very good year for me,”
Theriot said. “I won two Breeders’ Cup races for Bret (the Grade I
Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint on Martin Racing Stable
and Dan Morgan’s Dubai Majesty and the Grade II Breeders’ Cup Turf
Sprint on Carl Moore Management’s Chamberlain Bridge) and
that was a big thrill. It’s a great feeling to be able to ride in races like
that, and I really don’t think the reality of winning two Breeders’ Cup races
has sunk in yet. My home is in Louisville
now and to win those races in front of the home crowd was extra special
“Of course, most of the year I rode in Kentucky,
but during the summer it seemed that I was going out of town a lot to ride in
stakes all over the country and winning them. I won races in Saratoga,
and Mountaineer – pretty much everywhere I went.
“I’ve been riding almost 15 years now, and every year seems
to be getting better and better,” the 31-year-old Theriot said. “I’ve still got
some goals I want to accomplish – like win the Kentucky Derby and at
least one of the other Triple Crown races. If I can do that I could call my
career complete. I may be able to ride another 12 to 15 years before I call it
quits, and beyond that, of course, I hope to stay healthy and safe.”
JOCKEY RICHARD ERAMIA RIDES HAT TRICK FRIDAY
Richard Eramia, who finished 11th in the Fair Grounds standings in his
first year riding locally last season, rode three winners Friday to remind
local observers of his talent.
Eramia, who led the Louisiana Downs standings for much of
last summer before finishing second in the final tally, won Friday’s third
aboard Don Eberts’ Pretty Squall for trainer Morris Nicks, the
seventh on Agave Racing Stable’s Going to the Sun for conditioner Michelle
Lovell and came right back to take the eighth on Richard Ringo’s Sweet
Ruston for trainer Mike Burgess.