Hawthorne Race Course (3/22/16)
Contact: Ron Uchman, 708-780-3700
FREQUENT FLYER LERMYTE LANDS BACK IN ILLINOIS
Rider Jerome Lermyte is back in the Chicagoland area after spending much of the winter break down in New Orleans.
We were able to speak, via phone, the other day.
The multilingual Lermyte (French, English, German and some Chinese) is ready for a breakout year and he has been getting plenty of mounts at this abbreviated meet.
“I come from a horse racing family. My father was a jockey and is now a trainer in Monaco. My grandfather from my mother’s side was also a jockey and then became a trainer.
“I started riding when I was 14 years old. My first winner was a horse named Tigron. I went to jockey school, the same school as Florent Geroux. We were in school together. We didn’t know each other prior to that.
“I’ve ridden all around the world. I’ve ridden in France, Germany, Qatar, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Macau, Hong Kong, South Korea (according to Lermyte, the South Korean track has what is considered to be the third-best turf in the world…road trip).
“So far my most prestigious win came in Macau where I won a Grade 1.
“I have really enjoyed my time in the United States. I’ve done pretty well since getting here. I didn’t have the “bug” (he’s not an apprentice) so I figured it would be fairly hard to get started but things are moving along. (According to Equibase, Jerome won 27 races from 231 starts, through Tuesday, since getting to the US). I won three stakes last year, my first year in this country. I won two races my second day at Arlington.
“Racing is much different here than it is in France. Here, you stay at one track for months at a time. There are more than 100 tracks in France so most of the time you are racing at a different track every day, often seven days a week. It’s fun but it’s a tough life. It’s hard work. It’s stressful on the body and stressful on the mind.
“Over there, most of the time you are riding horses that you have never been on before. Trainers give detailed instructions before the races. We usually have big fields, often 20 horses so you have to know how a horse likes to run.
“We race packed in a tight group but never too wide, usually only three or four horses deep. In Europe, unlike the US, the last quarter of a race is the fastest. That’s why there are so many close finishes. Everybody is fighting for the win. The riders save their horse’s energy for that late run. In the United Stakes, the first quarter is the fastest and the outcome is often determined, at least you have a pretty good idea of what is going to happen, by the quarter pole.
“I really like Chicago and really like the people. I’m planning on staying around here. I’m just hoping, like everybody else, that more money will become available for purses. I know this used to be one of the top racing circuits in the country and hope it gets to be that way again.
ABOUT HAWTHORNE RACE COURSE
Founded in 1891, Hawthorne Race Course is the 4th oldest racetrack in the nation and the oldest sporting venue in Illinois. Located in Stickney, Illinois on the edge of Chicago’s city limits, the 125-year-old facility hosts Thoroughbred racing in the spring and Fall/Winter, and Standardbred harness racing in January and the summer. The family-owned and operated business has been an innovator in horseracing for more than 100 years and features the nation’s most rewarding players program. For additional information: www.hawthorneracecourse.com or call Guest Services at 708-780-3733. Fans are welcome at Facebook.com/ClubHawthorne and for up-to-the-minute racing tips become a follower at Twitter.com/ClubHawthorne.