Lanerie, Amoss happy to put Mo Tom's trip woes behind them for Kentucky Derby
Edited from Churchill Downs press release
Corey Lanerie said he's grateful to have retained the mount aboard Mo Tom in the Kentucky Derby (G1).
Lanerie's status was uncertain after the Louisiana Derby (G2), in which Mo Tom had a troubled stretch run. Lanerie tried to move him along the rail, but couldn't find running room. Mo Tom had to be checked for about a sixteenth of a mile and finished fourth.
After the race, Amoss strongly chewed out Lanerie, and in newspaper reports, Amoss put the blame squarely on the jockey.
"Like I tell everybody, the minute I came back on the horse, I wanted to get under a rock,'' Lanerie said. "And I could hear Tom, and I was just like, 'You know what Tom, give me what you've got. I'm sorry. There's nothing I could do. It's my fault. I don't remember what he said. ...
“I told that to him. I don't know if he heard it, but he's hollering. ... I was so embarrassed with myself for what had happened and for all the connections. I was so sorry for them. And I couldn't take it back and go do it again. So, I was heartbroken and embarrassed. I was in another world. I didn't hear him. I know he was mad and hollering, but I didn't know what he said.''
Back in the jockeys' room, Lanerie received a text from Amoss, who apologized for his outburst.
"But like I told him, he really didn't have to do that, because, anybody in my life will tell you, I'm not a mean person,'' Lanerie said. "I give everybody all kind of options and look at things from the other side. It's not going to change our relationship. If he never rides me on another horse, I'll play golf with him next week or do whatever. Tom's a great guy and a great trainer, and he's been really helpful in my career.''
Mo Tom also had encountered traffic trouble in the stretch in the Risen Star (G2). Bistraya crossed toward the rail in front of him and Lanerie had to check Mo Tom sharply. He finished a close third.
"You know, everybody says, twice; I did it to him twice,'' Lanerie said. "The first time was not my fault at all.''
Amoss agrees that Lanerie wasn't at fault in the Risen Star. "He did nothing wrong,'' Amoss said.
But the Louisiana Derby was different, Lanerie said.
"I really hadn't moved yet, and I ended up in a bad spot,'' he said. "I watch the replay, and I don't know how I ended up there. But it's only really been one time where I might have made a bad choice. So, we all make mistakes, and I know the horse. I don't blame them for sticking with me, but if they would not have, I could not be mad at them one bit. I'm human. My dad trains. I could have been on the other side of the fence. ... You can see them going somewhere else. But thank God, they didn't.''
Amoss said that as he was driving to Louisville on the Monday after the Louisiana Derby, he and Lanerie talked by telephone and tried to figure out how Lanerie could stay on Mo Tom. Emotions had cooled.
"I know the media played it out for a long time after that, but Corey had other horses to ride in preps, and so we didn't want to say, ‘Corey's our rider’, and have Corey tell us, 'Listen, you know, I'm going to do something different.' So we wanted to wait for Corey. ... That's why we didn't say anything.''
Lanerie said that his non-combative response to the situation probably helped him stay on the horse. Also, Lanerie said, his success at Churchill Downs probably helped him, too.
"We all make mistakes, and I've done really well at Churchill, obviously,'' Lanerie said. "If I hadn't been leading rider here 10 times, I'm sure I wouldn't be on the horse. But I've done really well here.''
Amoss said: "It's a huge advantage. You know, people are like, 'Are you going to tell him not to go to the inside?' I'm not going to tell him anything. Corey knows how to ride a horse. I watched him win on the rail yesterday. If that's where he chooses to go, he thinks it's the best move.''
Lanerie, who will be riding in the Derby for the second time, finished 16th on Harry's Holiday in 2014. Mo Tom is a much different animal, Lanerie said.
"I only rode the Derby once, so it's easy to say it's my best chance, but I really think he has a real good chance,'' he said. "In my mind, he's one of the favorites. Besides what Nyquist has done, I think it's wide-open, and, you know, I really haven't had a chance to see his quarter of a mile run, except for in the Lecomte (G3).''
Photo courtesy Jamie Newell/Horsephotos.com.