07/11/2012 2:35PM

Louisiana Downs: Rosier rising in jockey ranks


BOOSIER CITY, La. – Ask anyone familiar with the riding colony at Louisiana Downs what the biggest surprise of the 2012 season has been so far, and you will likely get the same answer: Chris Rosier.

As the meeting crossed its halfway point last Sunday, Rosier, 31, trails only defending champion Richard Eramia in the standings. Rosier’s 37 victories have already surpassed his total from all of last season.

“It is all about maturity,” said Rosier, who admits he was not the best representative of his vocation as a young man.

“I was young and naïve, not very dependable,” he continued. “It has taken some time but I’ve put some things in perspective, learned to prioritize. I am a lot more humble these days. I know that everybody is responsible for a win. I’m on a horse for two minutes. Others are with them 24 hours a day.”

While Rosier’s career exploits have been relatively modest to this point, he has ridden in a Kentucky Derby. Rosier booted home Summer Bird to a sixth-place finish in 2009. Summer Bird went on to win the Belmont Stakes under Kent Desormeaux.

“Sure I remember the Derby,” Rosier said. “But I also remember the Belmont.”

Missing out on a possible Belmont win notwithstanding, Rosier said the Derby experience was an exciting and rich experience.

“The whole week is just a whirlwind, not that the race itself is anticlimactic,” he said. “You have eight pair of goggles on. They are trying to get 20 horses into the gate while the crowd is so loud you can actually feel it. Then they spring the latch and you have all these horses and riders trying to get position into the first turn. Things settle down a bit in the run up the backstretch, but turning for home, there is that wall of noise again. There is just nothing else like it.”

Rosier went on to say that it took a couple of days for the fact that he had ridden in the Derby to sink in.

“It hit me two days later,” he said. “My daughter, who was 4 at the time, told somebody that ‘my daddy rode in the Kentucky Derby.’ Hearing that, I thought to myself, ‘Hey, that’s pretty cool.’ I’ve done something that not many people can say that they have.”

While his success this season appears immediate, Rosier says it has been process that has taken years.

“I told my family and myself I was going to put together a five-year plan,” Rosier said. “That I was going to work my butt off in the mornings, whatever it takes. I knew I could do this and make a career out of it. Last year was five years.”

Rosier is quick to credit fellow rider and former Louisiana Downs champ Don Simington and all-time Louisiana Downs riding king-turned-agent Ronald Ardoin as being critical to his climb up the rider standings.

“I consider them both strong mentors,” Rosier said. “Ronald took my book at Delta over the winter and we did some good. He got me to settle down, see some things. Don is a great influence as well. He has me in church every week. I’m lucky to have those guys to talk to.”