11/07/2011 2:49PM

Churchill Downs: Homeister returns to saddle as mother

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Photos by Z/Keeneland
Rosemary Homeister Jr. is scheduled to resume race riding Wednesday at Churchill Downs.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Rosemary Homeister Jr., the second-leading female jockey all time in North America, will ride her first race since she became a mother when she climbs aboard Huxley Winner in the ninth race Wednesday at Churchill Downs.

Homeister, 39, has been away more than eight months since she abruptly quit riding at the Tampa Bay Downs meet in early February when revealing she was expecting her first child. She gave birth to her daughter, Victoria Rose, on Aug. 21 in Tampa. Homeister’s boyfriend, fellow jockey Irwin Rosendo, is the father.

Homeister has been exercising horses for about six weeks while she, Rosendo, and the baby have stayed with trainer Eric Reed and his wife, Kay, at their Lexington farm. Reed is the trainer of Huxley Winner.

Homeister rode regularly in Kentucky for the first time last fall and enjoyed an outstanding Churchill meet when finishing fourth in the jockey standings with 16 wins. She will employ Steve Hayes as her agent and will ride through Churchill, which ends Nov. 27, before returning to Tampa.

“I’m fit and ready,” Homeister said Monday. “I’ve been working on getting my weight down, and I’m good to go. Eric and Kay have really helped us a lot, and Irwin has been like my own personal trainer.”

Homeister also has one mount Thursday. She rides Eden Star, also trained by Reed, in the second race.

Homeister has ridden 2,438 winners in a career dating to 1992, the year she won the Eclipse Award for top apprentice. Among female jockeys, her win total is exceeded only by Hall of Famer Julie Krone with 3,704.

Homeister, incidentally, has a key role in a new documentary released this week by Arlington Park. “A Cloudy’s Knight’s Tale,” narrated and produced by Jessica Pacheco, follows the remarkable story of Cloudy’s Knight, the gelding who Homeister rode regularly at the end of his career.

Kenneally wins first, last Saturday

Trainer Eddie Kenneally book-ended the 12-race Breeders’ Cup Saturday card at Churchill by winning the opener with Jump Star, now unbeaten in two starts, and the finale, the Grade 2 Chilukki Stakes, with Buckleupbuttercup. It was something of a bittersweet weekend for Kenneally, however, since Buckleupbuttercup, a 4-year-old gray filly, was sold Sunday at auction at Fasig-Tipton in Lexington.

Other winners of BC undercard events went home with their original trainers. Those include Mister Marti Gras, who earned a 93 Beyer Speed Figure in winning the Grade 3 Ack Ack on Friday for Chris Block, who said the Nov. 25 Clark Handicap is a possible next start; Will’s Wildcat, who got a 97 Beyer in winning the Jimmy V. for Jimmy Baker, who said he may next try to find a third-level allowance for the 3-year-old gelding; and Salty Strike (94 Beyer from the Dream Supreme), who will get the rest of the year off, trainer Ken McPeek said.

A next start has yet to be announced for Deluxe, the Juddmonte Farms filly who got a 90 Beyer in the Grade 3 Cardinal on Sunday.

The Grade 1 Clark already is shaping up nicely, with perhaps Ruler On Ice (third) and Flat Out (fifth) returning from the BC Classic.

New Orleans man wins BC contest

Patrick McGoey was the top earner in the third annual Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge held here Friday and Saturday. McGoey, a New Orleans resident, earned $270,600 in the contest, which requires a $10,000 buy-in. McGoey won in dramatic fashion by wagering $7,000 to win on Drosselmeyer in the BC Classic, the final race of the contest.

Next in earnings among the 115 contestants entered were Christian Helmers, $121,700; John Allunario, $78,480; Donald McNeil, $51,600; and Tracey Hauth, $41,168.

McGoey only made the contest finals after winning a May 28 online contest that cost $100 to enter.

“Knowing that I turned a $100 qualifying spot into $270,000 is a fantastic feeling,” he said.

◗ Babe’s Trooper has a long way to go to match the 19-race win streak that Rapid Redux has compiled this year, but the 6-year-old gelding was on a nice little run of his own before trainer Brian Waltz stopped on him after he won his sixth race in a row last Dec. 29 at Turfway Park.

More than 10 months later, Babe’s Trooper will return to action when gunning for a seventh straight victory when entered for a $7,500 claiming tag in the fourth race Wednesday at Churchill. Leandro Goncalves has the mount.