Irish native Kieren Fallon is the newest member of the Indiana Grand jockey colony.
While some might not be fully aware of his accomplishments in the saddle, don't let his lack of domestic wins fool you. His notoriety has been earned oversees. He has been stable jockey for some of Britain's leading trainers: Henry Cecil, Michael Stoute and Aiden O'Brien. He is the five-time winning jockey of the 2,000 Guineas Stakes, three-time winner of the Epsom Derby and three-time winner of the Epsom Oaks, England's version of the Kentucky Derby and Oaks. His career has taken him to Australia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, United Arab Emirates, and now Indiana.
With his experience, he has had the opportunity to ride the premiere turf courses in the world.
“The turf course here is beautiful,” Fallon said. “It rides as well as Del Mar or Santa Anita. The tracks over here are much better than ours over in England. The majority of our tracks are up and down and not very comfortable to ride. That's why we like to come over here.”
Fallon has plans to ride the upcoming meet at Kentucky Downs in Franklin, Ky. It is strictly turf racing and has a very Euro-style turf course. With Fallon's background, it might play to his advantage.
“I'm hoping it'll be an advantage,” said Fallon. “(Trainer) Eoin Harty, in particular said he'd use me when he goes there. And he said my European style will help.”
Trainer Wesley Ward was a major influence in bringing the Irishman to the states.
“I helped Wesley out his first year over there (Royal Ascot) breeze horses and get them ready. He had his first two winners there and the rest is history. He goes over there every year now and is very successful. He suggested I come here.”
The European delegation is always very well represented at Breeders' Cup, which is at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky. this year. The dates for the 2015 Breeders' Cup are Friday, Oct. 30 and Saturday, Oct. 31, Indiana Grand's closing weekend. Riding in the Midwest leading up to the Breeders' Cup could possibly lead to more business for Fallon.
“The good horses always come with their own riders,” Fallon said. “But it's always nice to be able to pick up the occasional new mount.”
As far as his future in Shelbyville, Fallon said, “You really need to start riding winners straight away. Riding winners is all about confidence and it helps when you're riding good horses. The local riders have been welcoming to the new addition. They're a really good bunch of lads. We're all traveling. We're all trying to do the same thing. We're all trying to look after each other and be safe out there. It's tough, it's hard and everybody's hungry.”
Fallon is a six-time British champion and is widely considered one of the greatest riders of all time. But in the jockeys room, he's just good ol' Kieren at Indiana Grand.
Live Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing continues at Indiana Grand through Saturday, Oct. 31. Racing is conducted Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday at 2:05 p.m. with Saturday post set at 6:05 p.m. Thursday afternoon racing will be added starting Sept. 17 at 2:05 p.m.
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