Racing & Wagering

Barn Notes: Saturday, September 15, 2012

| Churchill Downs Communications | 09/15/2012 #

In Today's Notes: Everything Came Up Rosy for Rosemary at Arlington This Season; Camelot Denied English Triple Crown; Runs Second in St. Leger


Who knew how much success jockey Rosemary Homeister Jr. would enjoy at Arlington this summer in what was her initial foray into Chicago's major Thoroughbred circuit?

With 10 racing days left in Arlington's 2012 meet before it brings down the curtain September 30, Homeister had established herself firmly in third position in the local jockey standings with more than $1.7 million in purse earnings, and on the morning of Pucker Up Day she was poised to reach the 60-win mark for the summer session.

"It turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made to come here," Homeister said when asked to personally assess her Chicago summer. "I absolutely loved it, and I had no idea I would have this good of a meet when I first arrived a couple of weeks before the season started.

"Coming into a new meet with so many well-established riders already known by the local horsemen, I just wasn't sure how much I could expect," Homeister said. "The key for me was to get off to a fast start so people would begin to notice me, and I have to give my agent Jay Fedor all the credit for that. He got me into a lot of top quality barns right from the start and got me a lot of the right mounts during the first few days of the season."

With the benefit of hindsight, it now seems strange that anyone ever doubted the success Homeister would enjoy at Arlington because she had already established herself so well in other parts of the country.

The 40-year-old native of Hollywood, Florida, rode her first race at South Florida's Calder Race Course in March of 1992, moved her tack to New Jersey's Monmouth Park that summer, earned leading apprentice honors at that Jersey Shore oval and later won that year's Eclipse Award as the nation's outstanding apprentice jockey.

She's won leading rider honors at Hialeah Park and Colonial Downs, been second leading rider at Tampa Bay Downs and Laurel Park, ridden once in the Kentucky Derby, and became the second leading female rider of all-time behind Hall of Fame jockey Julie Krone during the summer of 2009.

However, Homeister put further icing on the cake of her career by winning reaching the 2,500 career-win milestone shortly into her Arlington summer.

"I've absolutely loved it here but I also love the city of Chicago," Homeister said. "I was able to get into the city a few times. It's very clean here and it's really a beautiful state. There's tons of shopping here and I love to shop. Also, the people up here are all so nice and friendly. I love people, I appreciate the life I have and I try to give back as much as possible.

"The best part of coming to Arlington, however, was that I was able to ride in one place all summer long and spend a lot of time with my daughter Victoria Rose without having to move around all the time," Homeister said. "I definitely plan on coming back to Arlington to ride the whole season once again next summer because things have gone so well for me here. My plans now are to go on to Hawthorne for awhile, take about a three-week break and then go to Oaklawn when their season begins. I've never been to Oaklawn but that's where Jay wants me to go because he's had such success at that meeting. Also, that should set me up perfectly to come back to Arlington next season."


The words of lyricist Alan Jay Lerner:

Don't let it be forgot
That once there was a spot
For one brief shining moment
That was known as Camelot

Unfortunately, Camelot, the horse owned by Derrick Smith, Michael Tabor and John Magnier that is named after that mythical kingdom, was not so shining in his attempt to win Saturday's Group I St. Leger Stakes at Doncaster and become the first horse to sweep the English Triple Cown since Charles Engelhard's Nijinsky II accomplished that feat in 1970.

Camelot finished second to Godolphin's Encke, a Kingmambo colt who paid $64 to win in North American pools for the St. Leger, a traditional English classic that served as the inspiration for the naming of Arlington's inaugural running of the $400,000 American St. Leger on Arlington Million Day.