But, by Theriot’s own admission, there is something extra special about having a big day at legendary Keeneland. And that is exactly what the 28-year-old jockey did April 11, when he scored four victories on the 10-race card.
Quickly becoming recognized as one of the nation’s best jockeys, Theriot spent his first full meet at Keeneland last fall, where he was the fourth-leading rider with 12 wins.
With his four wins April 11, Theriot already has eight victories during the spring meet, tying him with Kent Desormeaux as the leading rider through six days.
“Winning four in a day here is great,” Theriot said after the last of his four wins, which came aboard 3-year-old gelding Papa in the sixth race. “Last year was my first year here and I did pretty well. So when I came back to Kentucky and they knew I was here, I was able to get some better mounts. I feel really comfortable at Keeneland.”
Theriot’s other wins came on Lil Tree in the first, South Beach Luv in the second, and Funmaker in the fourth. By the time the sixth came around, he was brimming with confidence. It showed too, as he came off the pace with Papa and stormed down the center of the racetrack to get up by a neck at 5-1.
“When you get into that zone and win two or three early in the day, everything you ride feels like a winner, even if it’s a 50-1,” said Theriot, who totaled four stakes at Keeneland in 2007, including his first grade I score in the Shadwell Turf Mile. “That’s what happened in that last race, I felt like I could do no wrong.”
Like a long list of Louisiana-born riders, Theriot began riding at bush tracks as a youngster. In 1995, at the age of 16, he officially debuted at Evangeline. A few years later the soft-spoken Theriot was the leader rider there.
After displaying undeniable talent, Theriot eventually moved on to more established tracks such as Oaklawn and Fair Grounds, where he was leading rider at both places. In fact, he won a meet-best 94 races at Fair Grounds during the 2007-08 season.
Theriot, who has more than 1,700 victories and has ridden earners of more than $27 million, will be aboard longshot Kentucky Bear in the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) April 12 at Keeneland. He is also hopeful that his first Triple Crown mount is not far behind.
“I have a legendary agent in Fred Aimie and we had a conversation this morning where he told me, ‘Hey Jamie, your time is going to come, probably quicker than you think, so be ready.’ He’s looking for a 3-year-old for the Derby for me right now. I hope it happens soon.”