It’s been two weeks since former top jockey Richard Eramia had a horse wheel on him in the paddock and toss him to the ground. Now, he’s back and the winning ways have continued.

Eramia returned to the winner’s circle twice on Wednesday night to move within three victories of current leading rider David Cabrera, who is trying to defend his title. It was the first time since Sept. 25 that Eramia had won a race. On Sept. 25, Eramia won the third race aboard Rare Poppy for leading trainer Steve Asmussen and was hurt the next night in the first race walking ring. The win on Sept. 25 gave Eramia a five-win lead over Cabrera and Stewart Elliott, 25 victories to 20. Two weeks later, going into Wednesday night’s races, Eramia came off the bench, tied with Elliott for second with 25 wins apiece, four behind Cabrera, who had 29.

When Eramia went down in the paddock, the report was that he broke a bone in his shoulder and some speculated he would be out four-to-six weeks. After seeing horse after horse after horse that he was scheduled to ride have their pictures taken in the winner’s circle while he was hurt, he showed his toughness by returning Wednesday. His first win was aboard Gray Hope for Asmussen in the fifth race on the card. He also won the nightcap in the irons of Samurai Cause for Asmussen.

Cabrera had one victory Wednesday and remains three ahead of Eramia (30-27) while Elliott, who was given days last week by the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission stewards, finished up that short suspension and is in third with 25 wins. He rode four horses in his return Wednesday, without a win.

Gray Hope is a 3-year-old colt by Paddy O’Prado, out of the Fit to Fight mare Lee Gage, who was racing a mile on the turf at the $15,000 claiming-level for non-winners-of-three career races. It was a bit of a strange race for Gray Hope as he sat fourth in the early going on the grass, and then dropped back to seventh before finding his cruising gear and winning for the third time in four tries greensward. The colt was still fifth at the top of the stretch and flew home a winner by one length over Dauntless Prince, who was another nose ahead of third-place Suite Gossip. Gray Hope went off the betting favorite at 2-1 odds and paid $6.20 to win, $3 to place and $3.60 to show. He was bred in Kentucky by Lichtefeld and Stewart Racing.

Asmussen also owns the horse and moved ahead of all-time winningest owner Danny Caldwell in the current standings for this meet. End Zone Athletics of Mansfield, Texas, won two more Wednesday night and leads in the owners’ standings with 16 trips to the winner’s circle. Asmussen has 11 wins as an owner and Caldwell fell to third with 10.

Gray Hope got the mile on the turf in 1:36.73 seconds over the firm course, chasing interior fractions set by the early front-runners of :23.87 for the first quarter-mile, :47.24 for the half-mile, 1:11.71 for three-quarters of a mile and 1:24.25 for seven furlongs.

Samurai Cause, in the last race, beat a field of maidens as the even-money favorite for Eramia and Asmussen. The winning owner was Mike McCarty of Austin, Texas. Asmussen leads the trainers’ standings with 34 wins. Karl Broberg is second with 19 after also scoring twice on Wednesday.

Sooner 6ix Carryover
No one had a unique Sooner 6ix ticket on Wednesday night so the carryover for Thursday’s races in the jackpot pick six is $6,071.74. There were two tickets that had six-of-six correctly selected with the 24-1 longshot Nations Hope winning the first leg. Those two tickets were rewarded with a payout of $997.64 in the Sooner 6ix bet.

Live racing continues Thursday night with a nine-race card on tap, beginning with a first post time of 7 p.m.

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