||Jockeys Announced for NTRA All-Star Jockey
Ten invitations to compete in the seventh annual
NTRA All-Star Jockey Championship at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie,
Texas were extended on Saturday, May 31. Jose Santos, who rides Funny
Cide next week in an attempt to become horse racing’s first Visa
Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978, heads the field for the popular
competition slated for Friday, June 20.
Invitations were extended to Robby Albarado, Russell Baze, Ryan Fogelsonger,
Edgar Prado, Jose Santos, Shane Sellers, Mike Smith, Alex Solis, Pat Valenzuela
and John Velazquez.
Horseracing fans have an opportunity to choose another participant through
an online poll at ntra.com and Lone Star Park’s leading rider through
Sunday will complete the elite cast of a dozen jockeys.
In addition, it was announced that Laffit Pincay Jr., the all-time leading
jockey with 9,350 career wins, would be this year’s Guest of Honor,
joining the esteemed list of past honorees: Eddie Arcaro (1997), Team
Secretariat (1998), Bill Shoemaker (1999), Team Affirmed (2000), Bill
Hartack (2001) and Joe Hirsch (2002).
This year’s NTRA All-Star Jockey Championship, co-sponsored by
Daily Racing Form, will also include a special salute to the upcoming
Universal Pictures film “Seabiscuit.”
“This year’s cast is an outstanding mix of riding greats
from coast to coast,” said Lone Star Park President Corey Johnsen.
“It should be another exciting event on June 20.”
Smith, Solis and Valenzuela represent the Southern California riding
colony. Prado, Santos and Velazquez are top riders in New York. Meanwhile,
Albarado and Sellers compete in Kentucky, while Baze and Fogelsonger represent
Northern California and Maryland, respectively.
A seven-member selection panel chose the All-Stars: Michele Blanco, President
of the Turf Publicists of America, Larry Craft, Lone Star Park’s
Director of Racing; Hirsch, Executive Columnist for Daily Racing Form;
Chick Lang Sr., Senior Racing Consultant for Lone Star Park; Tim Price,
Horseracing Columnist for Fort Worth Star-Telegram; Jennie Rees, President
of the National Turf Writers Association; and Gary West, Horseracing Columnist
for The Dallas Morning News.
Albarado (1999-2003), Prado (1999-2003), Sellers (1997-2000, ’03)
and Smith (1997-98, 2000, ’02-03) are five-time All-Stars. Solis
(1999, 2000, ’02-03) is a four-time All-Star. Baze (2002-03), Santos
(2000, ’03) and Velazquez (2002-03) are two-time All-Stars (2002-03).
Fogelsonger and Valenzuela received their first invites to the competition.
Baze, Santos and Smith are Hall of Fame jockeys. Meanwhile, Prado (2000)
and Sellers (1998) are past event champions. Other past winners of the
event are Gary Stevens (1997), Pincay (1999), Jerry Bailey (2001) and
Chris McCarron (2002).
Online voters at ntra.com can vote for their favorite national representative
in this year’s NTRA All-Star Jockey Championship through Saturday,
June 7. They can choose between Javier Castellano, Jorge Chavez, Eibar
Coa, Kent Desormeaux, Ramon Dominguez, Rene Douglas, Victor Espinoza,
David Flores, Rosemary Homeister Jr., Richard Migliore, Corey Nakatani,
and Cornelio Velazquez. The leading vote getter among the 12 aforementioned
jockeys will receive the “fan’s invitation.”
Another berth annually goes to Lone Star Park’s leading jockey
through Sunday, June 1. It’s a heated battle between Corey Lanerie
and Eddie Martin Jr., who entered Saturday’s races tied atop the
Lone Star Park standings with 48 wins apiece.
The jockey with the most points at the end of the unique four-race competition
is crowned champion. Riding assignments are determined by a drawing Wednesday,
June 18, and jockeys receive points for finishing first (12 points), second
(6), third (4) and fourth (3) in each race.
Jockeys will vie for a record $200,000 in prize money in 2003. Along
with the prestige of winning the event, the champion jockey will earn
$25,000. Other prize money: $20,000 (second); $18,000 (third); $17,000
(fourth); and $15,000 (fifth through 12th).
The NTRA All-Star Jockey Championship annually raises money for disabled
and injured jockeys. A percentage of the wagering on the four all-star
races will benefit the Disabled Jockey’s Endowment. A portion of
the proceeds from a luncheon, memorabilia auction, autograph session and
golf tournament also go to the fund.
More than $600,000 has been raised in the event’s six-year history.