Jason Homer has been running thoroughbreds at the Humboldt County Fair since 2007, but he has never had as sizzling a start as he experienced last week.
Homer saddled five winners from 10 starters over the meet’s first four days, and he is pressing pacesetter Quinn Howey for this season’s Humboldt training title.
“Being able to run all 10 horses I brought to Ferndale this year, and then win with half of those starters certainly made for a memorable week,” said Homer. “And I’m hopeful of getting several of those horses back in for races during the final three days of this meet. After a start like this I wish this Ferndale meet lasted longer.”
Patience has paid off in dividends for Homer thus far at Humboldt.
“Taking time to get first-time starters ready was a big factor,” added the 55-year-old Homer, who has been training horses for 37 years as a regular in Northwest, California, Idaho and Arizona circuits. “Also, I only ran one horse at Sacramento and Santa Rosa meets to point for this meet at Ferndale. “The horses ‘love’ this cool weather, and so do I.”
Homer won with his first two starters — Captain Gavel and Chumaree Won — on opening day.
He greeted Sir Gawain in the winners’ circle last Friday, tallied with Terrello on Saturday, and put an exclamation point on the week by sending out first-time starter Sire Dam Sam I Am to capture last Sunday’s finale under a rail-skimming ride by jockey Robert Burney.
“I really enjoy coming to Ferndale,” added Homer, who sent out one of his all-time favorite horses Power Star to finish third and second in the 2007 and 2009 Humboldt Marathons, respectively. “The fans here really support the horse racing and show their appreciation to you for coming here to run your horses. Humboldt has always been one of my favorite stops each year.”
Howey, who saddled six winners last week, has accumulated 40 points (5 for a win, 3 for a second and 1 for a third) in his bid for a fifth training title in six years.
Homer is second with 29 points.
The top pair is followed by Terri Eaton (20), James Craig and Willie Whitehouse (15 apiece), Angela Aquino (14), Joannie Beach-Orr (11) and Peggie Hanford and Helen Shelley (10 each).
Hugo Herrera leads the jockey standings with 57 points.
He is followed by Jake Samuels (43), Kassie Guglielmino (32), Luis Godoy (31), Francisco Monroy (29), Christian Aragon (24), and Robert Burney (19).
The 122nd meet will conclude Sunday, headlined by the 65th edition of the $20,000 C.J. Hindley-Humboldt County Marathon Handicap.