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Boucher second in day’s finale
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MELL BOUCHER (right) talks with Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard (left) and her father, jockey Richard Boucher before her ride abord the Sheppard-owned and trained Bet the Pot in Saturday’s Kershaw Plate flat race, the finale of the Carolina Cup. - photo by Tom Didato/C-I

As he waited for his daughter Mell to return following a second-place finish in Saturday’s Kershaw Plate, a 1 1/2-mile run on the flat, Richard Boucher said he did not have butterflies in his stomach watching the race, the longest of his daughter’s riding career.

Mell, a sophomore at Camden High School and a member of the Lady Bulldogs’ cross country team in the fall, was aboard the Bet the Pot, a 4-year-old Lookin at Lucky gelding owned and trained by Hall of Fame conditioner Jonathan Sheppard.

Mell Boucher was second behind Jason Ruch aboard Wild Dynaformer as the field of seven, all with amateur jockeys on the backs, made their first pass under the wire.

When the group came back for the second and final circuit, Boucher had maintained her position in a second place finish, 16 1/4-lengths behind Teodoro with Eve Ledyard in the irons.

The run on the flat was the second in two weeks for Boucher who, the previous Saturday, was fourth in a 1 1/4-mile run on the flat in Aiken.

Boucher rides for her father Richard after school and on weekends. He said he had no worries that his daughter would get the job done.

“I have a lot of confidence in her,” said Richard Boucher who won Saturday’s second race, the $20,000 Dale K. Thiel maiden claiming hurdle aboard Pamzine. “She gallops with me every day of the week in the evenings, after school. She puts in a lot of effort.

“The biggest thing is being fit enough to ride these big horses.

“It’s always a little nerve-wracking putting a kid out there. It’s all about growing up, though.”

Did dad have any words of advice before giving his daughter a leg up in the paddock? Just what he tries to do in the saddle.

“I told her have fun. Enjoy yourself.,” he said. “You’re riding for a Hall of Fame trainer. It can’t be much better than that.”