Xpressbet announced the participation of top United States rider Javier Castellano in the fifth International Jockeys' Challenge, sponsored by the Turkish Jockey Club. The event will take place at Istanbul's Veliefendi Racecourse July 17.
"Our relationship with the Turkish Jockey Club allows us to promote North American racing to a thriving betting community in Turkey," Xpressbet president Ron Luniewski said. "By delivering select U.S. races into Turkey, the Turks have familiarized themselves with many of our marquee tracks, events, and riders.
"Facilitating Javier Castellano's participation in their Jockeys' Challenge further increases their interest in the North American racing product."
The Turkish betting market is a $1.5 billion closed pari-mutuel industry with 2,400 betting shops that feature domestic and international racing. XB Net, a subsidiary of Xpressbet that specializes in the international distribution of North American racing, has contracted with the Turkish Jockey Club to deliver 15 premier North American racing program to Turkey each year.
The challenge pits five local Turkish jockeys against five international riders in a four-race series with €22,000 in prize money up for grabs. In addition to Castellano, Frankie Dettori (United Kingdom), Yutaka Take (Japan), Stephane Pasquier (France), and Piere Strydom (South Africa) are on the International team.
Turkey's top jockeys who will compete are Halis Karataş, Selim Kaya, Ahmet Çelik, Gökhan Kocakaya, and Özcan Yildirim. Riders have been randomly assigned mounts in each of the four contest races, which will be broadcast live in Turkey via TJK TV, the official television channel of the Turkish Jockey Club.
"I am really thankful that Xpressbet helped put together this opportunity for me to participate in this event, and it's an honor that the Turkish Jockey Club would invite me to ride," Castellano said. "It is always a thrill to compete with so many of the world's best jockeys."
Last year Xpressbet was instrumental in Cornelio Velasquez's particpation in the event. Velasquez was victorious in the challenge to become the first U.S.-based rider to win the competition.
The four challenge races are set for 7:30-9 p.m. in Turkey, or 12:30-2 p.m. EDT. The races will be broadcast on the Internet via TJK Web TV, which can be accessed via the Turkish Jockey Club web site www.tjk.org,by following the TJK Web TV icon or via this link: http://www.tjk.org/TR/YarisSever/Static/Page/Canli.