Ridden by Corey Lanerie for trainer Dale Romans, Guys Reward ran one mile in 1:38.46 on a Matt Winn Turf Course that was rated yielding after a mid-card thunderstorm delayed the fifth race by 50 minutes. It was the slowest clocking in the race’s two-decade history. Lanerie and Romans finished the stand as the spring meet leaders in the jockey and trainer standings.
“It was a good way to end the meet,” said Romans, who won his ninth Churchill Downs training title – and first since the 2006 Spring Meet – with 23 wins, six more than runner-up Tom Amoss. “This is a nice race and I’ve always liked this race and this is our third win in here. He is a really good horse. He’s always been a nice horse, but the older he gets the better he gets. He just seems to be maturing and improving.”
Guys Rewards, a 5-year-old son of Grand Reward out of the Mr. Greeley mare Beach View, has an affinity for Churchill Downs. Five of his seven career victories have come over the Churchill Downs turf course, including three this season. Previously, he won the $73,392 Opening Verse, an overnight stakes race, on June 9.
The victory was worth $102,858 and increased Guys Rewards’ earnings to $516,155. It was his first graded stakes win in his 10th attempt against that company.
“At the quarter-pole I decided to go and get a jump on Turallure in case he was going to come running and my horse kicked on and ran hard all the way to the wire,” Lanerie said. “It’s a great way to end the meet and this is the icing on the cake. It’s been one of the best meets of my career.”
Lanerie wrapped his first Churchill Downs riding title with 71 wins during the 38-day season – 24 ahead of runner-up Shaun Bridgmohan’s 47. His rate of 1.87 wins-per-day was the highest at a Churchill Downs Spring Meet since Steve Brooks won 46 races during the 19-day season of 1948, some 64 years ago.
In addition to Romans and Lanerie, Richard and Karen Papiese’s Midwest Thoroughbreds Inc. was saluted as Churchill Downs’ Spring Meet champion owners with 15 wins. Paula Haughey’s PTK LLC was second with 11 trips to the winner’s circle. Midwest Thoroughbreds Inc. also won last year’s Spring Meet title with eight victories.
Racing at Churchill Downs returns on Sunday, Oct. 28 for the 123rd Fall Meet, a 21-day meeting that will conclude on Sunday, Nov. 25.
–Churchill Downs Communications contributed to this report.
Guys Reward/Reed Palmer photo