NEW ORLEANS (November 09, 2009) – Jockey Corey Lanerie will celebrate his 35th birthday Friday by riding seven straight races on the nine-race Fair Grounds program, but he gave himself an early birthday present on Sunday by recording Fair Grounds’ first riding triple of the 2009-2010 meeting on opening weekend at the New Orleans oval.

“That was really great,” said Lanerie when congratulated on his hat trick Monday morning. “It’s always good to get off to a good start here, because if people start seeing you win a lot they start using you on their horses. There are so many good riders here that the competition gets really tough very quickly, so it’s very important to get people to notice how well you’re doing right at the beginning.

“Also, those three winners were for three different trainers,” Lanerie said, “so that should help increase my business.”

The Sunday triple began in the opener with Vision Racing LLC’s Victory Ready for trainer Ronny Werner, continued with Centaur Farms Inc., Merrill Scherer and Dan Lynch’s Day Trippi in the fourth for trainer Scherer, and concluded with Heflin and Driver Racing GP’s North of Alaska for conditioner Cody Autrey.

A Louisiana native born and raised in Lafayette, Lanerie began his career at Evangeline Downs in 1991, quickly graduated to Fair Grounds that same year and also enjoyed success at Arlington Park.

After taking his tack to Texas, the son of former jockey-turned-trainer Joe Lanerie won two riding titles at Lone Star Park in the late 1990s, one at Retama in 1995 and one at Sam Houston the next year, but finished seventh at Fair Grounds last season and would like to improve on that.

“My wife Shantel and I now have a daughter named Brittlyn who will turn two-years-old in January so I’m hoping to enjoy a real good season,” Lanerie said. “I’ve ridden about 2,800 winners now so I’m chipping away at the 3,000-win milestone and I’m looking forward to reaching that real soon.”

Lanerie’s riding engagements are now being handled Tony Martin, a Fair Grounds staple who guided Joe Talamo’s career locally when Talamo won the Fair Grounds riding title in 2006-2007 as an apprentice.

Incidentally, Talamo, who is a native of nearby Marrero, quickly graduated to the Southern California circuit after achieving that local stardom and won the first Breeders’ Cup race of his career last weekend aboard California Flag in the Turf Sprint.

Following that win, Martin immediately texted congratulations to his former pupil and quickly got a response. “Thanks a lot for keeping up with my career, Mr. Tony,” it said. “That really means a lot to me.”

Merrill Scherer Scores Training Double Sunday
Longtime Fair Grounds trainer Merrill Scherer, a New Orleans native, celebrated a training double Sunday, winning the third race with Hunt for Candie, a 2-year-old Louisiana-bred filly ridden by Curt Bourque who looks like a candidate for the upcoming Louisiana Champions Day Lassie Dec. 12, and then came right back to the winner’s circle after the fourth with Day Trippi, a 3-year-old Florida-bred filly ridden by Corey Lanerie

Thanksgiving Reservations in Derby Room
Too late for a clubhouse reservation on Thanksgiving? Get the same famous Thanksgiving Day meal in the Derby Room, the special events space on the second floor of the old slots facility, for less than the price of the Clubhouse. The Derby Room has all the amenities you get in the Clubhouse, including an elegant dining room, large-screen televisions and wagering with either live mutuel tellers or self-service machines. Also, watch the races live from the open-air balcony, one of the best views available to our guests. To reserve your spot for $65 per person, or for more information, call (504) 943-2200.

“Rockin’ with Mocklin” added to FG website
Rick Mocklin, the longtime jockey’s agent and former trainer, has a new blog, Rockin’ with Mocklin, available only on the Fair Grounds website at Mocklin, currently the agent for Richard Eramia, will provide an insider’s perspective on Fair Grounds racing, personalities and backstretch happenings. Rockin’ with Mocklin joins two other blogs hosted by—Jim’s Orbit, by Fair Grounds Communications and Pari-Mutuel Marketing Manager Jim Mulvihill, and the Brisnet Blog, with analysis and stats from Brisnet, the Internet’s largest horse racing information service.

Pepis publishing Black Gold tip sheet
George Pepis, host of the “Prep Plus” radio talk show on WGSO 990-AM, is providing the selections for this season’s on-track Black Gold tip sheet. Black Gold is available for $2 everywhere programs are sold on-track. Pepis also blogs about horseracing on

2009-2010 Leading Jockeys (through Sunday)
Jockey Wins
Shane Sellers 4
Corey Lanerie 4
John Jacinto 3
James Graham 3
Three tied 2

2009-2010 Leading Trainers (through Sunday)
Trainer Wins
Steve Asmussen 3
Merrill Scherer 3
24 tied 1

2009-2010 Leading Owners (through Sunday)
Owner Wins
30 tied 1

Week 1 Winners to Know (with owner, trainer, jockey)

Much Obliged (Pin Oak Stable, Malcolm Pierce, Francisco Torres)—Four-year-old filly won Opening Day Blushing K.D. Handicap for fillies and mares on turf by a half-length despite going six-wide into stretch. Pointing to Jan. 2 Furl Sail Stakes.

Comedero (Peter Redekop, Michael Stidham, James Graham)—Two-year-old gelding remained undefeated in three starts by winning Saturday’s Old Hickory for juvenile colts and geldings by an easy 1 ¾ lengths in gate-to-wire fashion.

Right to Rule (Christopher G. Bardasian, Steve Asmussen, Shane Sellers)—Two-year-old filly won Saturday’s Pontalba Stakes for juvenile fillies by a nose for her first stakes score.

Heliotropium (Nelson Bunker Hunt, Steve Asmussen, Shane Sellers)—Two-year-old Candy Ride filly making her first start opened up by 2 ½ lengths and held on by a nose in a Saturday maiden special weight.

North of Alaska (Heflin and Driver Racing, Cody Autrey, Corey Lanerie)—Two-year-old Northern Afleet colt was a convincing debut winner by 3 ½ lengths in a Sunday maiden special weight.

Goldilox (Naveed Chowhan, Bernie Flint, Victor Lebron)—Three-year-old won for second time in three starts by getting up in final strides to win a Sunday entry-level allowance at 5 ½ furlongs on turf.

Tempo Five (Hunter Run Stable, Tom Amoss, James Graham)—Five-year-old gelding won for the 10th time in 16 lifetime starts in an Opening Day allowance (with claiming option) at six furlongs. Final time of 1:09.64 was fastest six furlongs of the first three days.