03/09/2011 5:55PM

Autrey gains major client in Midwest Thoroughbreds

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Midwest Thoroughbreds, the leading owner in North America by wins in 2010, has joined up with trainer Cody Autrey to open a division racing in Louisiana and Texas.

Midwest, whose principal is Rich Papiese, won 310 races in 2010, 52 more than the second-highest total by an owner. So far in 2011, Midwest has won 37 races to rank second in terms of victories, but as of Wednesday was leading the country in earnings, with $545,206.

Autrey has claimed 19 horses for Midwest at Fair Grounds since Papiese offered him a job in mid-February. Papiese sent him six more horses, and basically has doubled the size of Autrey’s stable.

“We had 50 horses for the last three or four years solidly,” Autrey said. “With some owners stepping back, we were down to 20 or 25 horses. The numbers didn’t bother me being cut down, but when Mr. Papiese called and asked if I’d be interested in working for him, I said of course I would.”

Papiese’s main trainer remains Jamie Ness, who is based at Tampa Bay Downs over the winter. There should be little conflict between two major Midwest operations because Autrey, who had been based over the summer at Delaware Park the last couple years, plans to spend the summer racing in Texas and Louisiana.

“We’re all trying to do the same thing – win,” Autrey said. “I spoke to Jamie, and everything’s fine there.”

Albarado nearly ready to resume riding

Robby Albarado, sidelined since Jan. 2 with a broken heel, is nearing a comeback. Albarado will begin galloping horses this weekend at Fair Grounds, and could be ready to start accepting mounts in races about a week later, his agent, Lenny Pike, told Fair Grounds publicity staff. Albarado, seven times leading rider at Fair Grounds, was injured when his mount spooked and threw him from the saddle while walking from the paddock to the track before a race.