02/26/2014 2:50PM

Corey Lanerie named winner of George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award

Barbara D. Livingston
Corey Lanerie, 39, has won more than 3,500 races.

Corey Lanerie is the winner of the 2014 George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award, it was announced on Wednesday on HRTV.

Lanerie, 39, was chosen by a nationwide vote of his riding peers from a group of five finalists that also included David Amiss, Dennis Carr, Aaron Gryder, and Scott Stevens.

The Woolf Award, presented annually at Santa Anita since 1950, recognizes riders whose careers and personal character have earned esteem both for themselves and for the sport. It is highly coveted by jockeys, because it is awarded by fellow riders. Last year’s winner was Mario Pino.

Lanerie is riding at Gulfstream Park in Florida, but he has spent the bulk of his career in the South and Midwest, largely in Louisiana, Kentucky, and Texas. Through racing of Tuesday, he had won 3,544 races.

“It’s an honor to be just nominated for it,” Lanerie said Wednesday from Gulfstream Park. “I’m happy to realize people seem to like you for who you are. It’s a great feeling. This is the third time I was nominated, so I guess third time is a charm.”

Lanerie’s father was a jockey and then a trainer, and he had a grandfather who was a trainer. Born in Lafayette, La., Lanerie began galloping horses at age 9, and rode at unrecognized bush tracks in Louisiana before launching his professional career.

Since beginning his career in 1991 at Evangeline Downs in Louisiana, Lanerie has won more than 200 races a year three times, most recently in 2012, the year he set a personal record for purses, with his mounts earning $7,115,439.

Last year, Lanerie was the leading rider at the fall meeting at Churchill Downs. He also has been the leading rider at Ellis Park in Kentucky, and the three major tracks in Texas – Lone Star, Sam Houston, and Retama.

Lanerie is expected to accept his award at Santa Anita in March or April, the track announced.

The Woolf Award is named for Hall of Fame jockey George Woolf, who died at age 35 following an accident at Santa Anita in 1946. Woolf, nicknamed “The Iceman,” rode Seabiscuit to his celebrated match race victory over Triple Crown winner War Admiral in the 1938 Pimlico Special, and won the very first Santa Anita Handicap in 1935, aboard Azucar.

- additional reporting by Mike Welsch