Thorpe Wins First Professional Race

Thorpe Wins First Professional Race

LAUREL, MD. 1-16-15---Apprentice jockey Darius Thorpe won his first professional race this afternoon and the aftermath turned into a spontaneous celebration by the Maryland racing community.

Thorpe is the son of Avon Thorpe, the longtime assistant to legendary Maryland trainer King T. Leatherbury.  Leatherbury hoisted young Thorpe aboard Rainbowappears, a horse that he both owns and trains, and met them back in the winners’ circle after the gelding rallied to win the fifth race, a $5,000 claiming event at six furlongs.

As he returned to the jockey’s quarters, every nook and cranny outside of the building was crowded with racing officials, jockey’s room employees and fans who cheered as Thorpe was doused with the traditional shower of buckets of water from his fellow riders.

The 19-year old won an amateur race in 2014 and started riding professionally in the fall at Laurel. The amateur win brought his record to one for thirty-two last year. The victory this afternoon elevated him to one for seven in 2015.

“He knows how to handle a horse but he needs experience,” said Leatherbury. “He’s still learning and I expect him to do well.”

Jay Burtis, who is Thorpe’s agent said, “It’s like the old days with him as an apprentice. He’s had a lot of mounts to get to that first win but he’s learning as he’s doing it. He’s a good kid.”

“He’s just awesome,” said the elder Thorpe. “He’s been a good student, never been a problem and I’m very proud of him.”

“I just want to get my name known around Maryland,” said the beaming rider. “And maybe someday, nationally, too.”

About Laurel Park
Laurel Park is a Stronach Group company, North America’s leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator. The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida and is one of North America's top race horse breeders through its award-winning Adena Springs operation. The Stronach Group is one of the world's largest suppliers of pari-mutuel wagering systems, technologies and services. Its companies include AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology; Xpressbet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service; and Monarch Content Management, which acts as a simulcast purchase and sales agent of horseracing content for numerous North American racetracks and wagering outlets. The Stronach Group is also a major producer of televised horse racing programming through its HRTV cable and satellite network and is North America's premier supplier of virtual online horse racing games, as well as a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry.