LUZZI READY TO RETURN TO RACING, REMINGTON PARK
Racing returns to Remington Park as the Thoroughbred season opens Friday, Aug. 20. While all involved are eager to begin, jockey Lane Luzzi has high anticipation for the start of the meeting.
Luzzi, 24, will return to riding in August from a broken collarbone incurred near the end of the season at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas. The native New Yorker, who has called the central time zone home for five years, is finishing his rehabilitation and is set to continue one of his best career years.
“I plan on possibly riding at Prairie Meadows (Altoona, Iowa) and then get to Oklahoma City a little over a week before the season to work horses and get ready,” Luzzi said while visiting family in Saratoga, N.Y.
“Luckily, the collarbone didn’t require surgery. You never really want to get hurt but the timing of this was ideal. I missed the last week and a half at Lone Star. I would have had to work to fill the time before the start of the Remington Park season, so I’m using this opportunity to rest and get ready.”
When Luzzi broke his collarbone on July 2, he had won 70 races this year, riding primarily at Sam Houston Race Park and Lone Star Park. He had also finished second and third, 62 times each from his 453 mounts. The victory rate had him on pace to surpass his career best of 117 wins for a year, set last year.
Well-known New York based jockey Mike Luzzi, who has accumulated more than 3,500 career wins, is Lane’s father. His accomplishments created too many comparisons and possibly some added pressure for the young rider when he started to race. Lane Luzzi has been based at Remington Park since 2017 after making a difficult decision to uproot from the East Coast, the only region of America he had ever known. As a 19-year-old, he moved west to establish his career in the saddle.
“I had a good apprentice year in 2016 and lost my bug (weight allowance) on the East Coast. Then things went slow for me at the Gulfstream Park championship meet, where it is really, really tough. I wanted a new start and to go somewhere that no one knew me to make my own way.
“It was very tough, my first year at Remington Park; I only won six races. It took a good few weeks to get my foot in the door and to get opportunities. Sticking around let people know I was serious about building business and moving forward in this part of the country.”
Paying his dues has begun to pay off for Luzzi. He only won eight races in his second season at Remington Park in 2018. However, things picked up when he won 21 in 2019 and followed up with 39 local victories last year. Luzzi credits hard work and the efforts of his agent who has backed him throughout.
“Brad White is the only agent I’ve had since moving,” Luzzi said. “He’s been patient with me and stuck with me. After a few years, we’re doing great.”
Looking forward to Remington Park, Luzzi hasn’t set any huge goals but is looking forward to riding a promising 2-year-old. “Feel the Fear is a colt I won gate to wire with at Lone Star. He’s trained by Austin Gustafson and will probably be pointed to some stakes soon, maybe the Clever Trevor. He’s a beautiful colt and won easily.”
Feel the Fear broke his maiden at first-asking, going 4-1/2 furlongs, drawing away to win by 4-1/4 lengths in :53.07 on a fast track. He worked for Gustafson on July 25 at Remington Park, breezing a half-mile in :51.91 over a fast surface. Owned by Forge Ahead Stables, Feel the Fear is a Kentucky-bred by Honor Code from the Kitten’s Joy mare Fresh Feline. The $100,000 Clever Trevor Stakes at Remington Park, for 2-year-olds going seven furlongs, is scheduled for Oct. 29.
In addition to the more frequent pace of winning, Luzzi appreciates the lifestyle his occupation has afforded him in Oklahoma and Texas, compared to the hustle and bustle of living in the New York City area. “Things are a lot slower than home, I really enjoy that so much, and it’s quieter. I grew up in the city so there is never any downtime and everything is at a fast pace.”
Luzzi does miss his family, especially his father. “I grew up watching dad ride, sitting in the jocks’ room when I was three, and spending time with him. We talk three times a day discussing the races but we talk about plenty of other things. If he sees something in my rides, he says something.”
Coming into the Remington Park season, Luzzi has amassed 479 career wins with 449 seconds and another 448 thirds, from 3,620 mounts. His mounts have earned $10.4 million.
Tracked by more than 167,000 fans on Facebook and 10,400 Twitter followers, Remington Park has provided more than $266 Million to the State of Oklahoma general education fund since the opening of the casino in 2005. Located at the junction of Interstates 35 & 44, in the heart of the Oklahoma City Adventure District, Remington Park features live and simulcast horse racing, and the casino is always open. Visit remingtonpark.com for more information.