Omaha native Terry Thompson had five mounts Friday when the Oaklawn race meet got underway in Hot Springs, Ark.
The graduate of Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln High School has won the Oaklawn riding title twice. He rode 46 winners in 2012 and finished a close second behind Cliff Berry (50 wins).
Thompson, who has more than 2,500 career wins, rode his first race in 1992 at Omaha’s Ak-Sar-Ben racetrack for Nebraska native Jack Van Berg. He now is among the regular riders for trainer D. Wayne Lukas.
Other horsemen competing at Oaklawn with Nebraska racing ties include Perry Compton, Ken Shino, Glenn Corbett, David Whited, Bruce Riecken and Donnie Von Hemel.
Baffert saddles winner for Wests
A change in trainers already is paying off for longtime Omaha owners Gary and Mary West.
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who recently took over the care of several of their horses, saddled Book Review to a recent victory in the Grade 1 La Brea Stakes at California’s Santa Anita racetrack. The filly got up in the closing strides to capture the $300,000 race by a neck.
In a postrace interview, Baffert credited former Nebraska trainer Bennie Glass for playing a role in sending the Wests’ horses his way. Glass has worked several years as their racing manager.
Next up for the 4-year-old daughter of Giant’s Causeway is a possible spot in the Grade 2 La Canada Stakes at Santa Anita on Jan. 20.
Ex-handicapper Furay dies at 85
Longtime World-Herald handicapper Con Furay passed away in suburban St. Louis. He was 85.
Furay spent almost 30 summers at Ak-Sar-Ben compiling the graded entries for the newspaper. His selections ran each racing morning, along with a short comment for his top-three picks.
Furay was a veteran of World War II and the Korean War. The Omaha native also was a history professor for more than 35 years at Webster University in St. Louis.
The Nebraska football fan and St. Louis Cardinals baseball fan was buried in Affton, Mo.
Commission meeting set for Jan. 30
The next meeting of the Nebraska state racing commission will be Jan. 30 at 1:30 p.m. at the Lincoln office, located at 5903 Walker Ave.
An agenda for the meeting has not yet been released.
Fonner opener set for Feb. 22
Horses are already working out at Grand Island’s Fonner Park, the first stop on the Nebraska racing circuit.
The 31-day meet begins Feb. 22 and concludes on Kentucky Derby Saturday, May 4. Jordan Olesiak was the top rider at the track last year while Omahan Chuck Turco was the leading trainer.
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