05/25/2011 11:44AM

Louisiana Downs: Burningham regains his health and his riding skills


If anybody is due some racing luck these days, it is jockey Jeff Burningham.

A string of serious injuries – two broken pelvises and a broken back since 2007 – have kept Burningham, 38, out of the saddle frequently the last couple of seasons. With a clean bill of health and the right outcome of a few photo finishes this season, however, Burningham is back firmly in the top five of the Louisiana Downs rider standings.

“I feel great,” Burningham said earlier this week. “We are off to an outstanding start, getting on the right horses and winning some races. Let’s just hope we can keep it going.”

Burningham’s latest injury came last August at Louisiana Downs and sidelined him until earlier this year.

“My horse clipped heels and fell,” Burningham said. “Two others came over the top of me and I ended up breaking my pelvis for the second time in three years. I started back at Delta in January and won a few races and then rode at Evangeline a little before we got going up here.”

The majority of Burningham’s seven winners thus far at the young meeting have come in close finishes and he has had his share of good fortune by coming out on top in the resulting photographs. While luck may have played a role, Burningham is also well aware of the amount of horse he has under him at he wire.

“You have to listen to the horse,” Burningham said. “That is paramount. He will tell you how much he has left when it counts.”