06/17/2002 11:00PM

Jockey Lanerie is riding high


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Corey Lanerie can't lose over the next few days. And he might win big.

Lanerie has been invited to test his riding skills on Friday night against some of the best in the business in the National Thoroughbred Racing Association All-Star Jockey Championship at Lone Star Park. On Thursday, Lanerie, who plays 18 holes of golf four times a week, gets to compete in a charity tournament that will benefit the Disabled Jockeys' Endowment.

Lanerie, 27, will represent Lone Star in the four-race jockey competition. The out-of-town invitees are Robby Albarado, Russell Baze, Jorge Chavez, Victor Espinoza, David Flores, Chris McCarron, Laffit Pincay Jr., Edgar Prado, Mike Smith, Alex Solis, and John Velazquez.

Lanerie has had an exceptional year. He won the biggest race of his career in March, when he guided Parade Leader to victory in the Grade 2, $500,000 New Orleans Handicap at Fair Grounds, and is working on his third riding title at Lone Star, where he leads the standings with 50 wins, four more than Gerard Melancon in second place.

Lanerie will be making his third appearance in the Jockey Championship after earning an invitation for leading the local standings at the close of racing June 2. He finished third in the competition in 1999, and seventh in 2001.

"That was my goal, to be in the Jockey Championship," said Lanerie. "It gives you a lot of recognition. You have to be leading rider to be in it, and that's where you want to be. You want to be on top."

It seems like Lanerie is in a good position to stay there. In addition to his talent for saving horse for the stretch, he forged an important relationship with trainer Steve Asmussen at Retama Park in 1995, and that year, the two won their respective titles at that track. These days, Lanerie and Asmussen team up on a regular basis at Lone Star, where both are all-time leaders in wins.

In a sense, they have climbed the ranks together. "I think Corey's career has developed somewhat similar to mine," said Asmussen, the nation's second-leading trainer in wins as of Tuesday.

Although Lanerie took up golf only three years ago, one might think he would rather win the tournament than the All-Star Jockey Championship.

"I work to play golf," said Lanerie, who plans to ride at Arlington Park after this meet concludes on July 14.

Luncheon, auction set for Friday

In conjunction with the Jockey Championship, a luncheon honoring Daily Racing Form executive columnist Joe Hirsch will begin at 11:30 a.m. on Friday. During the program, retired jockey Randy Romero will speak, and items will be auctioned to benefit both the Disabled Jockeys' Endowment and Romero, who is in need of kidney and liver transplants.

Among the items to be auctioned are the silks the retiring Chris McCarron wears Sunday aboard Came Home in the Grade 3 Affirmed Handicap at Hollywood Park, and an autographed guitar from horse owner and country artist Toby Keith.

Entries for the four Jockey Championship races were to be drawn Wednesday.

Race of combackers Thursday

Devout Sinner is one of five stakes winners returning from a layoff Thursday in the eighth race, a six-furlong allowance for fillies and mares worth $37,000.

The others are Lettuce Loose, who returns from a brief freshening, Miss Photogenic, Taylor's Queen, and Outofnowhere.