by Dan Johnson
Jockey Terry Thompson set a Prairie Meadows record May 20 by winning six races in one day. Thompson had shared the old record of five victories with David Essman, Vicki Warhol, and Cindy Noll.
Thompson said that he entered the day with more modest hopes. "I knew I had good stock," he said. "I thought if everything went well, I could win three. It's a great honor. To win six on a card, it ranks right up with winning a leading riding title at a track."
Thompson, a native of Council Bluffs, Iowa, is on his way to his third straight riding title at Prairie Meadows' spring meet. He has won 33 races through 18 days of the 53-day spring season. Noll is second with 18 wins, and Luis Quinonez third with 17.
Thompson rode in nine races. He won the first race, was third and seventh in the next two, then started reeling off the victories. He won his next four races, taking the seventh aboard 10-1 Brown Eyed Major, his longest shot. The promising Lovesmegold, an Iowa-bred that won her first outing in near-track record time, gave him his fifth win in the eighth race.
Thompson's bid for a sixth win came up a neck short when Littleriverqueen lost a stretch duel Rodeo Fan in the ninth race, but that turned out to be just a footnote on his record day. He finished up by winning the 10th race going away aboard Calamity Jane.
"It's tough to win races," Thompson said. "There are good horses and good riders. My motto is if I can win one a day, that's doing good. There are a lot of days you don't win one a day."
His fast start at Prairie Meadows comes after his winter season at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas ended when he broke his thumb in a March spill. He didn't ride for six weeks, until Prairie Meadows' season opened April 26. He had to show quickly that his injury had healed.
"I had a great season going on at Oaklawn and got hurt," he said. "That really bummed me out. It wasn't bad, but I was sick for weeks over that. I kept on dwelling on it -- I blew being leading rider at Oaklawn.
"I knew the first few days here, everyone was watching. The first night I didn't win any. The second night I won two or three, then everyone said, 'He's OK now.' That got the monkey off my back."
Thompson also set the record at Hoosier Park in Indiana last fall by winning seven races in one day.