11/22/2006 12:00AM

Quite a return for Shepherd


Jockey Justin Shepherd returned to Remington Park this meet for the first time since 2003, and he wasted little time making his presence felt. Shepherd won six consecutive races aboard Red Rock Creek, upset the $75,000 Sprint Championship with $69 winner Lineofbull, and heads into the final week of racing second in the standings behind Cliff Berry.

"It's just been an excellent meet," said Shepherd, 20.

The success is all the more meaningful because Shepherd, a Nebraska native, has strong ties to Oklahoma. His father, retired jockey David Shepherd, and his mother, trainer Sherri Shepherd, have long raced at Remington.

"We moved to Oklahoma when I was about 5 or 6," Justin said. "I went to high school here, started galloping horses here."

Shepherd had his bug in 2003, and in addition to Remington, he rode at Oaklawn and in New York and Kentucky. He came back to Oklahoma this year, he said, because he liked working with agent Scott Hare, who has represented Shepherd in recent years at Lone Star Park.

Shepherd guided Red Rock Creek to his sixth straight win at the meet Nov. 18. Later on the same card, he won the $50,000 Cimarron with Nice Inheritance. Both horses are trained by meet leader Scott Blasi.

"I was around Justin when he came to Churchill Downs with his bug," said Blasi. "He's always impressed me with his attitude and his willingness to work, and he's definitely a very talented rider."

* There is a special post of 2:30 p.m. Central on Friday.