He began riding at the age of 16 in Colorado and made his way to Canterbury Park the following year, 2006. Ry Eikleberry won three quarter horse riding titles, 2008 – 2010, and has been leading thoroughbred rider three times as well – 2014, 2018 and last season. Ry turned his focus to thoroughbreds years ago, but in 2020 at Canterbury, in addition to his meet leading 77 thoroughbred tallies, he also made seven winners’ circle appearances on a quarter horse.
Ry, along with wife Jilique who he met at Canterbury, and their two young daughters, made a home in New Mexico where he rode in the fall and winter. Then due to COVID-19, racing shut down in New Mexico when the casinos that fund purses were shuttered. Other than a few weeks following the Canterbury meet, “I haven’t been home for a year and a half,” he said. Or at least not home in the traditional sense. In this business, if racing doesn’t come to you, you go to racing. The family made a home on the road while Ry raced at Delta Downs in Vinton, Louisiana, Sam Houston Race Park in Houston and Lone Star Park in suburban Dallas.
“I’ll keep my options open,” he said in reference to possibly racing in New Mexico again. “I was doing so well that it opened doors to other places,” he said.
But for now it is all about Canterbury and the pursuit of a fourth riding title. Ry had to sit out the first three days of the meet due to a suspension stemming from a riding incident on Aug. 26 of last year, so he has spotted the field a few lengths. But consider this —Ry is fourth in all-time thoroughbred jockey wins and fifth in earnings in track history. And even though riding Qs is not his primary occupation, he is second in both earnings and wins on that breed. His wins will come in bunches, even in a deep rider colony.
“There is a strong bunch of good riders here. A lot of helmets,” he said. Many new faces to be sure. Ry has years of connections and a history of success, putting horses in the right place at the right time. Jockeys come and go, as he stays the course. “I’ve got my business.” A huge part of that business is winning.
Ry has 15 mounts from Tuesday through Thursday including Hieronymus for trainer Brad Cox in the $50,000 Brooks Fields Stakes on Thursday.
Thursday, May 27 is Northern Stars Preview Day with three $50,000 turf stakes – the Brooks Fields, Honor the Hero and Minnesota HBPA Distaff.
Post time May 27 will be 4:45pm, fifteen minutes earlier than scheduled. Canterbury racing will be showcased on America’s Day at the Races FS2 broadcast with the New York Racing Association and Churchill Downs.
Tickets for June racing are now on sale. While walk-up ticket purchases are possible, a discount is offered for online purchases. https://tickets.canterburypark.com/
Racing resumes Tuesday, May 25 at 5pm.