05/09/2012 2:04PM

Churchill Downs: Faces change in jockeys' room


The post-Derby makeup of the Churchill jockey colony is noticeably different than in prior years. That’s primarily because Julien Leparoux, who has been the dominant rider here the last five years or so, has departed to ride regularly in New York, but also because Robby Albarado and Kent Desormeaux aren’t here, either.

Albarado has been suspended, pending a May 16 appearance before the licensing review committee of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. Albarado missed out on his Oaks and Derby day mounts after being arrested on allegations of domestic violence Friday morning in violation of the agreement he signed with the commission in April 2011 that allowed him to resume riding after a domestic-violence arrest; one of the conditions of his being allowed to ride then was that he not be arrested again. His agent of 16 years, Lenny Pike, has begun working for Shaun Bridgmohan, and it is unclear when Albarado will be permitted to ride again.

Desormeaux has been ridden at Churchill for the last few years but also has gone to New York for the spring at the request of his main client, Bob Hess Jr.

The absence of these three top-flight riders has opened things up considerably so that now the leading riders at the spring meet not only will include such familiar names as Bridgmohan, Calvin Borel, and Corey Lanerie, but also Miguel Mena, Leandro Goncalves, Manny Cruz, Jon Court, Brian Hernandez Jr., and Jesus Castanon.

◗ Dr. C. Reid McLellan, who helped craft the National Trainers’ Exam, is conducting a three-day prep class May 19-21 to assist aspiring horsemen in their quest for passing a barn test. The classes will be held in Lexington and cost $350. More information is available by calling (859) 321-4377 or by going to purplepowerracing.com.