The widow and son of the late jockey E. J. Perrodin are looking forward to a special night of remembrance when the rider is inducted into the Fair Grounds Hall of Fame March 4.
Perrodin, who died last year of brain cancer, will be inducted along with owner Ray Salmen and Louisiana's all-time money-winning Thoroughbred, Star Guitar .
Perrodin's widow, Lisa, plans to be there for the induction ceremony, which will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. CST in the Black Gold Room at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.
The popular Perrodin, known affectionately as "Tee-Joe," will always be remembered on the short list of the most revered riders to grace the Crescent City oval's jockey quarters.
"I'm really looking forward to our trip up there to see all of you," said Lisa Perrodin, speaking by phone March 1. "We are humbled that Fair Grounds is remembering my husband with such an honor at this time. Fair Grounds was always our favorite race track."
Before his death at 55, Perrodin, a native of Rayne, La., won 3,083 with earnings of $41,402,415 during a 37-year career from 1975 to 2012. He also won more that 200 stakes races, including 56 at Fair Grounds, which is believed to be the track record.
The Perrodins' son Devin, 9, who is autistic, will accompany his mother to the Hall of Fame ceremony.
"He told me the other day that he didn't want to go if it was going to be a memorial service," said Mrs. Perrodin. "He said, 'No Momma, no crying,' but I told him there would be no 'sorrys,' and that this ceremony would be about all the things his Dad achieved in his career. I told him, 'If there's any crying, they will be tears of joy.' Now that I explained it to him that way, he can't wait to wear his suit and tie."
"He has his good days and his bad days," said Perrodin, speaking of her son's coping mechanism for his grief. "Sometimes, he tells me he's afraid he's going to lose me, too.
"I told him, 'I'm not going anywhere,'" she added. "I told him, 'God has a plan for all of us and that includes both of us.' I told him, 'I'm going to be around to take care of you for a long time, and when we are at that ceremony Monday night, don't be surprised if you don't get a special feeling that your Dad is there with us and looking down at us.' And you know what, I really believe that is going to happen."