05/19/2010 12:00AM

River Downs home to national leaders


River Downs is not one of the places you would think to find leading candidates for top national owners, trainers, jockeys, or horses. But this year it is.

Billy Hays, car dealer turned horse owner, is the leading owner in the country with 95 wins through May 18. Hays's friend and trainer Joe Woodard is fourth in the country in wins with 98, one behind Todd Pletcher. Yuri Yaranga, first-call rider for Woodard, is fifth in the country in wins with 118, four behind Rafael Bejarano.

In the category of most wins by a horse in 2010, there are 10 tied for third with five wins apiece, including three owned by Hays - Kulka, Cape Hatchet, and Princess Christine.

Beginning this year, the black and lime green Hays silks are listed under Billy, Donna, and Justin Hays. Donna is Hays's wife and Justin his son.

* Jockey Perry Ouzts is well on his way to winning yet another riding title at River Downs. The soon to be 56-year-old Ouzts gave the crowd something to talk about Monday when he lost his irons on Easter Arrival ($4.60) in the second race and still managed to win.

As the gates opened, so did the buckle that holds his right iron to the saddle. After about a sixteenth of a mile, Ouzts pulled the other boot out of the irons.

"It was kind of awkward and I was afraid the horse might try to get out, so I took my other boot out of the irons," said Ouzts. - John McDulin