Louisiana’s Cajun country is well known as the birthplace of such Hall of Fame riders as Calvin Borel, Eddie Delahoussaye, Kent Desormeaux and Randy Romero; leading current Keeneland jockeys Robby Albarado, Brian Hernandez Jr., Corey Lanerie; and former successful Keeneland jockey Larry Melancon. One of the region’s latest riding representatives is Jarred Journet, who earned his first Keeneland victory Wednesday when he piloted 52-1 longshot Small Town Hero to win the second race by a neck.
Journet is proud of the region’s riding heritage, which also includes his cousin and Keeneland jockey C.J. McMahon. (McMahon scored his first Keeneland win Thursday.)
“Everybody knows everybody back home,” Journet said. “They keep up with their riders.”
From Carencro, Louisiana, Journet, 21, began riding in April 2016 at Evangeline Downs, where he scored his first win two months later. Now riding mostly at Thistledown and Mountaineer, Journet said he came to Keeneland upon the suggestion of trainer Kim Puhl, who decided to race a few horses here this season.
Journet made his Keeneland debut Oct. 5 and had one mount on each of the Fall Meet’s opening three days. His best finish came Sunday when he was third aboard 39-1 longshot Reward the Miracle in the $200,000 Indian Summer, a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race.
His longshot victory three days later came for Puhl and owner Boggs Silver Racing.
“I guarantee I had like a hundred phone calls (after the win),” Journet said. “Everybody was calling me – trainers, exercise riders, grooms, hot walkers all calling me to congratulate me. I cried a couple of times (talking) with my dad.”
Competing at Keeneland against some of the sport’s finest jockeys has Journet especially excited.
“I try not to get starstruck,” he said. “Some guys here are my idols, and still to this day I watch them on my off days. It’s nice to ride with them. When I come back after a race, they want my opinion on something I did and asked me what I thought out there. It’s special.”