03/01/2017 12:10PM

Charles Town: Journet making most of second move north

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Jarred Journet has won with 12 of 58 mounts at Charles Town this year.

Charles Town has a reputation as fertile ground for apprentice riders. Trainers, eager for any advantage they can get in sprint races as short as 4 1/2 furlongs, are willing to give live mounts to inexperienced jockeys in exchange for getting five to seven pounds off their horses.

Many of those young jockeys have succeeded, most prominently Jose Montano, who won an Eclipse Award as leading apprentice rider in 2012.

The newest apprentice at Charles Town to quickly make an impact is Jarred Journet, a 19-year-old native of Carencro, La., a suburb of Lafayette. After going 6 for 187 in his first season as a professional jockey in 2016, riding mostly at Evangeline Downs and Delta Downs in his home state, Journet jumped at the chance to move his tack to Charles Town this winter.

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Despite only arriving on the scene about a month ago, Journet has vaulted into a tie for sixth in the Charles Town jockey standings for 2017, winning with 12 of 58 mounts (21 percent), with 55 percent of his mounts hitting the board.

Those numbers are quite a contrast from his first venture north last summer, when he went a combined 2 for 50 at Timonium and Laurel Park.

“I was willing to give it a shot,” Journet, a distant cousin to Kendrick Carmouche, one of the leading riders at the inner-track meet at Aqueduct, said about his first venture outside Louisiana. “I learned a lot up there.”

But in the fall, Journet journeyed back to Louisiana, where he struggled while riding a string of longshots at Delta Downs.

Jeff Gilleas, a jockey agent at Charles Town for the past five years, was searching for a bug boy to bring to West Virginia. He watched Journet ride during his brief stint in Maryland and later in Delta Downs races on television via TVG.

“He looked promising, but he needed some work,” Gilleas said. “I found out he was taken under the wing of a couple of older riders at Delta. They were helping him, but he was looking to get a shot somewhere else.”

Journet, soft spoken and extremely polite, fit the bill for Gilleas – a jockey who would retain his apprentice allowance for another six to eight months and could tack 111 pounds.

Gilleas talked with several Charles Town trainers, most notably perennial leader Jeff Runco, and confirmed that Journet would get a fair shot.

“Jeff likes Jarred because he’s a hard worker,” Gilleas said. “He shows up every morning to work horses, and he doesn’t complain.”

Runco has put Journet on multiple live mounts and been rewarded. As a combination, they are 7 for 28 (25 percent), and 64 percent of those mounts have been in the money.

“Riding at Delta gave him a little experience edge on how to ride on a three-quarters track like Charles Town,” Gilleas said. “He’s learned how to break horses sharply and put them in a position to win.”

Journet said he’s pleased with how well things have turned out since he came north for a second time.

“Everybody’s been real nice to me,” Journet said. “I’m planning on staying at Charles Town right now.”

Gilleas said his short-term goals for his young rider are simple.

“I’m looking for him to be a dominant force here at Charles Town,” Gilleas said. “If he continues making progress, maybe we can think about going back to ride in Maryland on the days when there’s no racing here.”