MATAS | Riding again, Lanerie finds some solace
It’s quiet this time a year underneath the Twin Spires.
Horses are still working on the track in the early hours of the morning but the races, for now, have moved on.
Which is exactly what Corey Lanerie is stuck trying to do - move on. Perhaps it's better said that he's simply trying to get back to some sort of normal.
“She’s supposed to be here," Lanerie said. "Everything was fine, and the next minute she’s gone.”
Whatever normal is now, without his everything.
Two hours west from Churchill Downs, in Henderson. That’s where you'll find Lanerie now, racing at Ellis Park. He is still coping, and still grieving.
“Sometimes I feel like I’m still in shock and disbelief. It just doesn’t seem real,” Lanerie said.
He’s riding again because it frees his mind. Off of the horse Corey is dealing with the loss of his wife Shantel. She was diagnosed with breast cancer early this year but the fight was going well. Corey took her to the hospital on June 21st, she checked herself in with a little bit of back pain. Shantel was going to stay overnight, Corey was going to make it across town for a 5:00 post time and then spend the night at the hospital.
“I never made it to Churchill," Lanerie said. "I got a phone call to turnaround, head back to the hospital that she had made a turn for the worse.”
She was rushed in to emergency surgery with a severely infected colon.
“When I got to the hospital already she had gone in to cardiac arrest,” Lanerie said.
Shantel Lanerie went 13 minutes without a pulse- sepsis was the diagnosis. She was taken off life support on Friday June 22nd and just one day after walking herself in to the hospital, she died at 42-years-old. Somehow, the couple's 10-year-old daughter, Brittlyn, understood.
“You know dad, if mom is going to suffer I want her to go to Heaven. She understood that Heaven is a great place and you know Mom’s lucky, she won the race she said, she beat us to heaven, she’s with God,” said Lanerie.
Corey admits he had it easy.
“I was basically a kid myself. She did everything, she ran the house, she paid the bills, the 1st check I made after she was gone I had to ask my mom how to make a deposit. I had forgotten how to do it.”
That money came rolling in as soon as Corey returned to the track. After all, racing hadn't changed. His first day back at Ellis Park was July 13th. And on the 4th race of the day Lanerie made his return to the winner's circle.
“1st think I was thinking about when I came down the stretch was she was on their with me,” said Lanerie.
The call from the booth hinted at the same divine idea- "Hide the Honey, with Lanerie on her back, and an Angel on his."
“It was pretty emotional," Lanerie said. "Especially walking back from the winners circle, because she’s usually in every win picture, so to see her not there was pretty bad.”
The track is his normal.
“When you get on a horse you have a job to do," said Lanerie. "And there’s no other feeling like winning. Winning a race can cure anything. If they could bottle up that feeling of winning a horse race it would cure cancer.”
Lanerie will continue to chase that feeling, one that could cure cancer, and then make his way to the reality of a winner’s circle that is empty because of the disease.
That will make moving on difficult. But riding again, helps him move forward.
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