09/16/2011 1:43PM

Fort Erie: Clock begins on Alderson's apprenticeship


FORT ERIE, Ontario – Jockey agent Jack Lauzon was all smiles following the seventh race at the Fort last Monday afternoon after watching his apprentice rider, 18-year-old Jeff Alderson, win his fourth career race and his first locally.

Last year, prior to getting his jockey’s license, Alderson and his father, former rider Tony Alderson, discussed the 2011 season and how it would be approached from a learning perspective.

“I would love to start at Woodbine,” Alderson said at the time, “It will be a challenge, but my dad and I agree that we should find a good agent and work from there.”

Taking Alderson under his wing at Woodbine this spring, Lauzon quickly recognized that his new apprentice had what is needed to become a competent rider.

“He is a quiet, hard-working young man, a pleasure to know and I love the way he handles himself with the trainers and owners at both tracks,” said Lauzon. “It makes my job much easier. Jeff is also a good listener and willingly takes advice. His dad taught him well in that regard.”

Lauzon’s other rider at Woodbine is Omar Moreno, who has won Sovereign Awards in the apprentice jockey category the last two years and was an Eclipse Award winner in 2010.

“I would love to see Alderson matching that achievement, said Lauzon, “and it is not out of the realm of possibility. Omar credits Alderson with the talent needed to succeed.”

Knowing that a fifth victory would start the clock on his one-year apprentinceship, Alderson, his father, and Lauzon have decided on a game plan prior to Monday’s fourth lifetime win.

“He will lose his 10-pound bug with the next win,” said Lauzon, “and by carrying on this season, he will probably shorten his overall time in the apprentice ranks as a five-pound bug. Nonetheless, the decision has been made to keep going and he will continue to ride until the end of the season.”

Alderson’s fifth win came on Thursday at Woodbine, when Alderson brought home 36-1 longshot Yonge’s Harbour. Alderson also was aboard when Yonge’s Harbour won his previous start at 30-1.

Williams ends apprenticeship in style

Apprentice Betty Jo Williams has been on a roll, winning two races last Sunday followed by three more on Monday. She is now fifth in the rider standings with 34 wins.

Williams will lose her five-pound bug and becomes a journeyman rider on Wednesday.

Williams added another win to her overall record at Woodbine Thursday, winning the first race by a nose with Layne Giliforte’s Coffee Break.

Krista Carignan, the leading rider here with 49 wins, has decided, for personal reasons, to put her tack away for the remainder of the season. Last year, Carignan won the riding title by a large margin.

Carignan still holds an eight-win edge over jockeys Chris Griffith and Kirk Johnson and is 12 wins ahead of fourth- place Real Simard.

* Beginning on Oct. 8, Quarter Horse racing will help round out the Thoroughbred season at the Fort. A four-day racing schedule, Saturday to Tuesday, will be in effect from Oct. 8 to Nov. 1.