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Office (812) 798-3620

Ellis Park News Update: Five-Way Chase for Leading Rider with Six Days of Racing to Go


Contact: Kevin Kerstein
Kentucky Racing Communications
Churchill Downs, Ellis Park, Turfway Park
(610) 420-6971 (mobile)
(502) 635-4712 (office)

*Please credit photo to: Coady Photography/Ellis Park


HENDERSON, Ky. (Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023) – Ellis Park’s race for the leading rider has been a heated battle all summer and with only six days of racing to go there are five jockeys within two wins of one another in their quest to snag the title.

    Prior to Friday’s nine-race card, Rafael Bejarano and Gerardo Corrales were tied for first with 16 victories. The duo was one win in front of Francisco Arrieta and two in front of Cristian Torres and Declan Cannon. 

    Bejarano, a veteran rider on the Kentucky circuit, led all jockeys in purse money earned with $1,025,880. Along with his 16 wins, Bejarano has tallied 17 seconds and 8 thirds. Cannon remains two wins out of the leading rider position but has ridden only 53 horses compared to Bejarano’s 76 and Corrales 83. 

    As the meet winds down, Arrieta will serve a three-day suspension starting Friday due to a riding infraction that occurred on July 30. 

    In the trainer standings, Brad Cox led all conditioners with 13 victories from 44 starts. He was three wins in front of Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen and five in front of third place Paulo Lobo. 

    Larry Best’s OXO Equine had a 5-4 lead over Godolphin in the owner standings. Asmussen was in third with three wins. 

    Live racing will continue its Friday-Sunday from the “Pea Patch” with daily first posts of 11:45 a.m. CDT. Closing day is Sunday, Aug. 27. 

KRISTUFEK, SHAPIRO OFFER SUGGESTED LATE PICK 5 TICKETS FOR FRIDAY’S $92,036 CARRYOVER – Ellis Park’s expert handicappers Joe Kristufek and Scott Shapiro have offered bettors their suggested tickets for Friday’s Late Pick 5 carryover of $92,036.

    Kristufek: When playing any multi-race wager, it’s of great benefit to have a single. Four of the five races in this sequence are ridiculously wide open maiden events. That complicates the process, but it also greatly enhances the probability of a healthy payout. The lone allowance race in the sequence also houses the smallest field, so it makes the most sense to identify a single here, if possible. #6 Solid Country Gold had trouble throughout the 1 ¼ mile turf journey at the same level last time out, but he managed third. He was only beaten two lengths by a horse who returned to be stakes placed in his subsequent start and actually won the gallop out. As a proven commodity at today’s trip, I’m confident enough to single him. The other four races I used a combination of logical, square-priced and longshot horses. If the stars align, we have the potential to get paid in a big way for a reasonable investment. 

Pick 5 Ticket:
R5: 2+6+8
R6: 4+5+9
R7: 6
R8: 5+7+11
R9: 4+5+10
Cost: $40.50

    Shapiro: Brad Cox’s trainee Pumpkin Scone is likely to be the most common single in Friday’s Late Pick 5 sequence at the Pea Patch off of two runner-up finishes to start her career. I respect the pricey Into Mischief filly but I am going to lean on a different Cox runner that is likely to offer better value. Quadra Island makes his first start since late March and moves to the lawn for the initial time after showing some talent while clearly still learning his job this winter at Turfway Park. The Kitten’s Joy colt appears poised for a career best effort off the layoff. Hopefully, I can beat a few favorites along the way, get Quadra Island home in Race 7, and collect my share of what should be a juicy pool after no one was able to connect the dots on Sunday afternoon. Good luck!

Pick 5 Ticket:
R5: 7-8-10
R6: 1+3+4+7+8+9
R7: 5
R8: 3+10+11
R9: 4+8+12
Cost: $81 has offered bettors free past performances for Friday’s sequence:, the official betting provider of Churchill Downs Incorporated, will offer bettors a $2,000 “Hit It and Split It" promotion. Players who opt in to the promotion are eligible to split a $2,000 bonus should they hit the Late Pick 5. More details are available on the TwinSpires website or the mobile app. 

Friday’s Late Pick 5 sequence will begin in Race 5 at 1:45 p.m. CDT

BESCHIZZA, GRAHAM, LEPAROUX SWITCH AGENTS – Journeyman riders Adam Beschizza, James Graham and Julien Leparoux will all begin their fall seasons with new agents.

    Leparoux, who recently celebrated his 40th birthday, will now be represented by Jose Santos Jr. starting Aug. 31 at Kentucky Downs. The veteran rider is a two-time Eclipse Award winner and has won 2,932 races throughout his 18-year career. Santos represents a number of riders around the country including Rey Gutierrez, David Cabrera and Rene Diaz. 

    Prior to picking up Leparoux, Santos represented Beschizza at Ellis Park. However, starting Aug. 31 Beschizza will now be under the umbrella of longtime agent Doug Bredar. Beschizza, a winner of 592 races in North America, will ride at Kentucky Downs and Churchill Downs after the Ellis meet closes Aug. 27. 

    Bredar announced Wednesday he will also represent Graham starting at Kentucky Downs. Graham, a native of Ireland, began riding in North America in 2003 and has amassed 2,980 victories. Graham was previously represented by Frank Bernis who will still book the mounts for Brian Hernandez Jr.

Ellis Park, Racking and Gaming (“Ellis Park”) located north of the Ohio River and just south of Evansville, Indiana, has been the home of summer Thoroughbred racing in Kentucky for over 100 years. Ellis Park also features a gaming entertainment venue with approximately 300 historical racing machines.