05/18/2012 2:09PM

Louisiana Downs: Theriot hoping to build business for Fair Grounds


Jockey Jamie Theriot is back riding at Louisiana Downs on a regular basis for the first time since 2006, and the move is part of a two-tier plan he’s following to strengthen his business for Fair Grounds. The second half of Theriot’s plan is a move back to Kentucky following the close of the Bossier City, La., meet in late September.

“Keeneland starts the first week of October, so it’s perfect,” he said. “It gives me the opportunity to get in with people here, the Louisiana people, for Fair Grounds, and to go back there and start riding for the Kentucky people. I think it’s going to work out.”

Theriot, 33, won the Fair Grounds title during the 2007-08 meet. His other riding titles include Oaklawn in 2003 and Evangeline Downs in 2001. The decision to move to Kentucky was made back in 2006, when Theriot was a regular at Louisiana Downs, Lone Star Park, and Oaklawn.

“I was riding for Cole Norman, for five years, and then in 2006, me and Cole sat down and I told him I wanted to try Kentucky,” Theriot said. “He said, ‘Whatever you want to do. If you don’t do good, you can always come back.’ ”

Theriot took off in Kentucky. His accomplishments the past five years have included winning two Breeders’ Cup championship races at Churchill Downs in 2010 – the Turf Sprint with Chamberlain Bridge and the Filly and Mare Sprint with Dubai Majesty. Other high points include his first Grade 1 win, the Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland in 2007 with Purim; and riding six winners on a card at Churchill on June 18, 2008. Theriot also has had success at Saratoga, winning the Grade 1 Hopeful there in 2009, with Dublin.

Now back home in his native Louisiana, he said he is committed to the meet at Louisiana Downs.

“I won three the first week I rode here, and it’s picking up every day,” he said. “I think people were leery [whether] I was going to stay,” he said. “I think they see now I’m going to stay. I do have some stakes engagements to ride on the weekends in the near future, but I’ll be coming right back. I’ll be based out of here.”

Theriot, who rode his first winner in 1996, had 2,221 career wins through Thursday. Of his wins, 129 have come in stakes, from 907 stakes mounts.

Handicapping course scheduled

Bossier Parish Community College near Louisiana Downs will begin offering a six-week handicapping course on May 23. The class will be held every Wednesday night through June 27, from 6-8 p.m. Central. The cost for the course is $69, and it is for 21-year-olds and up. Travis Stone, th announcer at Louisiana Downs, will teach the course that is called “Horse Racing: Finding Winners.”

“I taught the course a few years ago, and it sold out with 30 students,” said Stone, who has been the local announcer since 2006.

Stone has been the one to propose the courses to BPCC. Those who attend this year’s class will receive free box seats to Louisiana Downs. To sign up for the course, call (318) 678-6015 or visit www.bpcc.edu/continuingeducation.