Shantel Lanerie, wife of leading Kentucky-based rider Corey Lanerie, died Friday at Norton Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. In addition to her husband of 21 years, the 42-year-old is survived by her 10-year-old daughter, Brittlyn ; parents, Katie and Riley Hebert; brother Rylan Hebert; and mother-in-law and father-in-law Debbie and Gerald Lanerie. Diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer early this winter, she had been undergoing chemotherapy to fight the disease. Admitted to the hospital Thursday because of sepsis–complications arising from an infected colon–she underwent emergency surgery after going into cardiac arrest. She never regained consciousness following the procedure to remove a substantial portion of her colon. At the time of her passing, Shantel Lanerie was surrounded by her family and several members of the Churchill Downs jockey’s colony, including Robby Albarado, Brian Hernandez Jr., Ricardo Santana Jr, Samuel Camacho Jr and Julien Leparoux .
“The Churchill Downs family is devastated by the sudden passing of Shantel Lanerie” said Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery. “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”.
Subsequent to her diagnosis, Shantel walked with 143 women in the Survivors Parade on Kentucky Oaks Day at Churchill Downs and a video that told her story was shown throughout the track on the big board. Jockeys also wore pink “Fight With Shantel” bands around their legs that day. Those bands resurfaced during Friday’s racing program at Churchill Downs. Shantel, raised in Cecilia, Louisiana, met Corey in his first year of riding at Evangeline Downs in Opelousas, Louisiana, in 1991 and the couple was married six years later. Prior to the birth of Brittlyn in 2008, Shantel held various positions at the track, including her service as a clocker’s assistant at Lone Star Park, a mutuel clerk at Fair Grounds and a photographer assistant at Churchill Downs. Arrangements for the funeral were pending as of time of publication. The burial is expected to take place later this week in Louisiana. Additionally, a moment of silence was observed at Churchill Downs in the winner’s circle following Saturday’s seventh race and at Gulfstream Park, where Corey Lanerie rides during the championship meet. A memorial service at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Louisville is also being scheduled for a later date.