06/24/2008 11:00PM

Ouzts wins 19th River Downs title


When River Downs ended its spring meet on Saturday, casual race fans probably didn't notice, as racing is set to continue at the track through Sept. 1. But the end of the spring meet gave 53-year-old jockey Perry Ouzts the 19th River Downs meet title of his career.

Ouzts suffered a serious arm injury in a spill at Turfway Park in January 2006, and this is his first riding title since 2004.

"Originally I was off for 11 months, then I rode for 10 months, then I was off for another five and a half months," said Ouzts. "There were metal plates that broke and screws that came loose in my arm. They went in and fixed all of that and it is doing great now."

Ouzts won the riding title with 47 wins, and now has 5,071 in his career.

"I think now that my arm has healed right, I can get a few more seasons out of it" said Ouzts. "I am feeling good, and winning helps. People that have never ridden don't understand, but there is nothing like winning a race, there is no thrill like it. That's what keeps me coming back."

Ouzts was on Classy Forest in the last race on Tuesday, when she went down.

"As soon as I began to fall, I tucked my arm in," Ouzts said. "There was no way I was going to put it out and have something happen to it again. I learned that quickly. I had never had an injury that kept me out more than two months in my career until the arm. It takes a little longer to heal the older you get, I guess."

The trainer title was won by Wayne Bearden with 15 wins, five more than Reid Gross and Ivan Vazquez.