All-Star Jockeys Gather in Texas
GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas (AP) _ Corey Johnson’s idea of an All-Star Jockey Championship has made Lone Star Park the envy of other tracks and given jockeys something they can call their own.
The slate of races with some of the nation’s best jockeys returns for the second year Friday. Gary Stevens returns to defend his title.
``This was a great event last year,″ said Hall of Fame rider Stevens. ``It’s different than any other jockey competition I’ve ever been in. The fans really got into it last year and I don’t think anyone knew it would get this big when it first started.″
Johnson, the general manager of Lone Star Park, had an idea it would.
``We’ve got other tracks trying to take it away from us now,″ Johnson said. ``They’ll really be trying after our second one. It’s going to be great again.″
Lone Star plays host to the race in conjunction with the National Thoroughbred Association (NTRA) and the Jockeys Guild.
A panel of industry experts headed by Hall of Famer Bill Shoemaker selected the 12 jockeys who will compete in the four-race competition for $100,000 in prize money.
Besides Stevens, the jockeys who will compete include Jerry Bailey, Pat Day, Eddie Delahoussaye, Kent Desormeaux, Sandy Hawley, Chris McCarron, Laffit Pincay Jr., Shane Sellers, Mike Smith, Julie Krone and Marlon St. Julien.
Riding assignments will be drawn at random, with jockeys receiving points for their finishes. Each of the four races will have a minimum purse of $20,000.
First place pays $25,000, second $15,000, third $10,000, fourth $8,00, fifth $7,000 and $5,000 each for numbers 6-12.
The championship races will be on the second, fourth, sixth and seventh races on the nine live-race card.
Between them, the jockeys have won 37 Triple Crown races, including 12 Kentucky Derbys. They have ridden 300,932 mounts and won 57,080 races. Their total career earnings are $1.5 billion.
``It’s a tremendous event,″ Stevens said. ``It’s our own championship.″