10/13/2009 11:00PM

Schorr making impact at Thistledown


Apprentice rider Faith Schorr has made an immediate impression since arriving at Thistledown a month ago and now leads the standings at the current meeting with 23 wins. She is the first female apprentice to ever lead an individual meet here.

Schorr, 18, is accomplished beyond her years. When rating a horse on the lead, she always seems to save some of her mount's energy for the drive. When coming from off the pace she can usually be spotted along the rail and she does not appear the least bit intimidated when put in tight quarters.

The top trainers on the grounds - Jamie Ness, Gerald Bennett, Tim Hamm, and Miguel Feliciano - have recognized Schorr's talent and started putting her on their horses.

Schorr grew up in West Park, Ohio, about 30 minutes from Thistledown, where her mother, Karen Lanious, bought, broke, and sold riding and show horses.

"I have five brothers and sisters and we all helped taking care of the horses," Schorr said.

"I was named after my mother's favorite horse, Faith," she added. "She died on December 4, 1989, and a year later to the day I was born and mom gave me her name."

When Schorr was 13 her mother went to Mountaineer Park and ponied and galloped horses. At 16, Schorr began galloping horses at Mountaineer. She then went to Laurel and galloped horses for Scott Lake and that winter galloped horses at Tampa Bay Downs.

Schorr rode her first race in March at Laurel and also had several mounts at Delaware Park. She had modest success when riding at Tampa Bay Downs.

This spring, Heriberto Rivera Jr. who rode more than 3,000 winners and who is now a steward and a Jockeys' Guild representive, called local jockey agent Mike Greenfield from Tampa Bay and told him that Schorr was "the best bug rider he had seen in 30 years," according to Greenfield, and that he should try to get her book.

"I spoke to her but she decided to go to Delaware with her agent Mike Fish," said Greenfield.

About a month ago, Gary Johnson, who at one time dominated the trainer standings here at Thistledown and is now a chart-caller for Equibase, called Greenfield and told him that Schorr was going to Thistledown. Greenfield contacted her and she agreed to give him her book.

The two form a first-class team. Greenfield has been the top agent here since 1981 and his riders have won 75 Thistledown meeting titles. He has had the winningest rider of the year here 14 times.

Schorr is both the first female rider and the first apprentice rider Greenfield has ever had. This winter Schorr and Greenfield are planning to ride at Tampa Bay Downs. It will be the first time Greenfield has ever worked with a rider in the winter when Thistledown is closed.

Schorr is 5-foot-2 and can ride at 108 pounds. She will have her apprentice allowance until next May.