The International Jockey Championship had a distinctive Texas flavor Oct. 28 when Dallas native Jerry Bailey sealed the title aboard Promise Of War in the third and final series event for owner Keith Asmussen and trainer Steve Asmussen of the Lone Star state.
Bailey, with 24 points, actually finished in a tie with Kieren Fallon, who had a win and two seconds. But the rules mandate that in the case of a tie, the rider with the most points in the final leg is the champion.
Bailey and Fallon, aboard Campinout, moved as a team in the lane in the final event on the turf, but it was Promise of War and Bailey that finished strongest.
"It's very nice to compete at this level in front of the home-state fans," said Bailey, who's in town for the Oct. 30 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Lone Star Park. "For a Breeders' Cup to come to a track this new is really unheard of. I think Texans will show they made a wise choice."
Jockeys earned 12 points for a win, six points for a second, four points for a third, three points for a fourth, and one point each for a late scratch, if the horse was non-starter, or if the race was declared a no-contest. Kieren got the second-place award, while Frankie Dettori was third with eight points.
"It's a competition everybody wants to win," Fallon said after his win aboard Michael Gill's Carolyn Frances in the first contest race, a $40,000 starter allowance test at a mile on the turf. "These guys are the best jockeys in the world."
Bailey won the second contest event, a $60,000 starter allowance event at six furlongs, aboard Stonecrest Farm's Proven Cure, a 10-year-old gelding who captured his first victory in six 2004 starts. Promise of War won a $50,000 starter allowance test at 1 1/16 miles on the grass for his Texas connections.
Though Steve Asmussen races in numerous states in the Midwest, his family has a training complex in Laredo.
Christophe Soumillon was limited as to how many points he could accumulate when two of his three horses scratched. Pat Day also lost a mount to a scratch.
Win, place, show, exacta, trifecta, and superfecta wagering on the jockeys was offered on the challenge. Bailey paid $14.40, $13.80, and $7.40. Fallon paid $13.40 and $9. Dettori paid $4.80 to show. The exacta paid $138.60, the trifecta $726.60, and the superfecta (Edgar Prado was fourth with seven points) paid $2,796.00.
Each of the jockeys had sponsors. They were Sam Pack's Five Star Ford (Bailey), WinStar Farm (Day), the Texas Horsemen's Partnership (Kent Desormeaux), Horseshoe Casino Hotel (Dettori), Valhalla Farm (Fallon), CTX Mortgage Co. (Prado), Bob's Steak & Chop House (Jose Santos), Beringer Blass Wine Estates (Soumillon), and Dr Pepper (Jamie Spencer).