(Edited press release)
Trainer Larry Jones says that Oaklawn Park leading jockey Terry Thompson will ride Fox Hill Farms’ Old Fashioned in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (gr. II) April 11.
Thompson has dominated the riding colony at the Oaklawn meeting so far. The 37-year-old jockey holds a commanding lead atop the jockey standings, with 41 victories through March 20. Chris Emigh sits in second with 26 wins.
Thompson has been no stranger to the Arkansas Derby. He won the 2003 edition with Sir Cherokee. The duo of Jones and Thompson also has had success in years past, winning the Fantasy Stakes (gr. II) at Oaklawn with Ruby’s Reception and the Acorn Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park on Island Sand.
“I have been getting on the colt in the mornings working him, and we have worked well together,” Thompson said March 20. “He is an easy colt to ride, and there is nothing tricky about him. The first time I worked this horse, I knew he was a prospect. There is a presence about him. When I am on Old Fashioned, I have the feeling of being on something special.”
It was Thompson who guided the son of Unbridled's Song to his first two victories as a 2-year-old. In his second career start, Old Fashioned won an allowance race in commanding fashion under Thompson by 15 1/2 lengths. Following that victory, jockey Ramon Dominguez took over the riding duties on the colt. Now Thompson returns to attempt to take his second Arkansas Derby.
“When I rode Sir Cherokee in the Arkansas Derby, he paid $113 to win. I don’t think you will get that kind of return on Old Fashioned,” laughed Thompson. “Old Fashioned has a lot of ability, a lot of potential. Another thing I really like about him is that he learns quickly. You only have to show him one thing, and he remembers it. I’m excited about getting the opportunity to ride Old Fashioned.”
Old Fashioned suffered the first loss of his career when he was upset by 56-1 shot Win Willy in the Rebel Stakes (gr. II) March 14. Old Fashioned, who had won the first four starts of his career including Oaklawn's Southwest Stakes (gr. III) Feb. 16, finished second in the Rebel after opening up a big lead in the homestretch.