Shantel Lanerie, the beloved wife of Churchill Downs’ 15-time champion jockey Corey Lanerie and devoted mother of their 10-year-old daughter Brittlyn, passed away late Friday afternoon at Norton Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. She was 42.
Shantel Lanerie was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer earlier this year and had been undergoing chemotherapy treatments to battle the disease. She was admitted to the hospital Thursday to treat what was diagnosed as sepsis – a severe infection – and underwent emergency surgery that evening, according to family friend Gary Palmisano. Sadly, her courageous fight ended Friday.
Raised in Cecilia, Louisiana, Shantel was the daughter of a trainer and met her future husband when he began riding at Evangeline Downs in Opelousas, Louisiana, in 1991. They were married April 11, 1997.
After dominating the Texas and Louisiana horse racing circuits, Corey Lanerie and his wife moved to Kentucky in the spring of 2005 and took up residence in Louisville’s Lake Forest community.
While watching her husband ride, Shantel held various positions at the track primarily before their only daughter Brittlyn was born in early 2008. She worked as a tab writer with the clocker at Lone Star Park, a mutuel clerk at Fair Grounds and a photographer’s assistant at Churchill Downs.
As Corey Lanerie’s success reached new heights with the first of 15 Churchill Downs riding titles at the 2012 spring meet, Shantel and Brittlyn were often spotted and recognized in the Churchill Downs’ winner’s circle while sporting wide smiles and the most stylish fashion.
Additionally, Shantel was famously known around the racetrack for her hospitality and delicious Cajun cooking as she often whipped up memorable meals for family and friends after the races and on “dark days” at their Louisville home.
“The Churchill Downs family is devastated by the sudden passing of Shantel Lanerie,” Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery said. “This is a very sad day. We extend our heartfelt condolences to Corey, Brittlyn, family members and numerous friends as they endure this extremely difficult time. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.”
After being diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year, Shantel was one of 144 women that walked in the always-stirring Survivors Parade on Kentucky Oaks Day at Churchill Downs and a video that told her story was shown throughout Churchill Downs on the Big Board.
Jockeys wore pink “Fight With Shantel” bands around their legs on Kentucky Oaks Day. Those bands somberly returned during Friday’s racing program at Churchill Downs.
In addition to Corey and Brittlyn, Shantel is survived by her mother and father, Katie and Riley Hebert; brother Rylan Hebert; and mother-in-law and and father-in-law, Debbie and Gerald Lanerie.
At the time of Shantel’s passing, the family was surrounded by members of the Churchill Downs jockey colony, including Robby Albarado, Brian Hernandez Jr., Ricardo Santana Jr., Julien Leparoux and Samuel Camacho Jr.
Churchill Downs held a moment of silence in the winner’s circle following Saturday’s 7TH race. A memorial service in Louisville and funeral in Louisiana are pending.
The racing community took to twitter to express their condolences:
Along with the entire racing community, we send our deepest condolences to Corey Lanerie & his family during this heartbreaking time.
— Thoroughbred Insider (@ThoroInsider) June 23, 2018
Very sad news about Shantel. May she rest in peace. Condolences to Corey Lanerie, family and friends. Just terrible.
— Frank Mirahmadi (@FrankMirahmadi) June 23, 2018
— José L. Verenzuela (@jlvgjockey) June 23, 2018
We compete hard in this game, but at the end of the day, we are all family. Thoughts, prayers, good vibes and lots of love for Shantel and Corey. 🙏❤️🙏❤️🙏
— Joe Kristufek (@JoeyDaKRacing) June 22, 2018
— Coglianese Photos (@coglianesephoto) June 23, 2018
In race 8, the Singspiel Stakes today @WoodbineTB, the riders will be wearing black arm bands in honour of Shantel Lanerie, wife of jockey Corey Lanerie, who passed away at the age of 42 after battling cancer. Our thoughts and prayers are with Corey and family at this time.
— Dawn Lupul (@WoodbineDawn) June 23, 2018
Midwest would like to express our sincerest condolences, as we bow in silence for Corey Lanerie and his entire family on the passing of Shantel Lanerie, his beloved wife. We are so very sorry and pray for Corey and his family’s strength at this extremely difficult time.
— Midwest Thoroughbreds, Inc (@MidwestTbreds) June 23, 2018
— Horse Racing Nation (@HR_Nation) June 23, 2018
Devastated by the news of Shantel Lanerie passing. My heart goes out to Corey and Brittlyn. So unfair. A beautiful young person gone far to soon. Heart breaking
— Richard Migliore (@RichardMigliore) June 23, 2018
— Shea Leparoux (@SheaLeparoux) June 22, 2018
@LooochRacing has 9 horses running tomorrow at Thistledown and will donate 10% of the net earnings to the Lanerie family for whatever they may need or wish to donate to #letscurecancer #hatethatdisease
— Loooch Racing Stable (@LooochRacing) June 23, 2018
— Angie A. Stevens (@angieastevens1) June 23, 2018
— GMB Racing (@gmbracing) June 23, 2018
As word of the sudden passing of Shantel Lanerie filters through the racing community, please her husband Corey and family in your thoughts and prayers. #Fightwithshantel was a focal point of Oaks Day this year – where the jockey colony @ChurchillDowns supported the Laneries. pic.twitter.com/EwhMRtDRLa
— Eclipse Sportswire (@EclipseSports) June 23, 2018
RIP Shantel. Life works in mysterious and cruel ways. My heart aches terribly for the entire Lanerie family. So so sad
— Tom Morley (@morley_racing) June 23, 2018
Our sincere condolences to Corey, Brittlyn Lanerie and friends of Shantel Lanerie. pic.twitter.com/tNqAMvSFoS
— Jim Gladden (@GenesisRacing) June 23, 2018
Hope springs eternal…
— Kevin Cox (@brooklyncowboy1) June 22, 2018
Just awful news from @ChurchillDowns Shantel Lanerie has passed away today. Our thoughts and prayers go to Corey and the entire Lanerie family. Shantel was a young 42.
— Racingwithbruno (@Racingwithbruno) June 23, 2018
Breaks my heart to hear of the loss of Shantel Lanerie today at Just 42, wife of top Churchill Downs rider and friend Corey. Leaves behind Corey and 10-year-old daughter Brittlyn. Condolences from The Cowgill Family. @WLKY
— Fred Cowgill WLKY (@FredCowgillWLKY) June 23, 2018
Just spoke to Shantel before Oaks day. She was so kind. Even though she was exhausted from chemo, she took time to tell me about her illness and her family. She was fighting every day. Thinking of the Lanerie family. https://t.co/xijPXZ1X2X
— Carolyn Manno (@carolynmanno) June 23, 2018
So Crushed , Please pray for the @coreylanerie family to be strong in this time of need .
— Joe Bravo (@bravoace) June 23, 2018
— Stacy Nicks (@stacy_nicks) June 22, 2018