Mike Luzzi has been named the winner of the 2001 Mike Venezia Memorial Award by the New York Racing Association. The award honors riders who exemplify extraordinary sportsmanship and citizenship, qualities exhibited by the jockey for whom the award is named. It is voted on by a ballot of racing fans, sports writers, and jockeys.
Luzzi, a native of Wilmington, Delaware, is the grandson of trainer Buddy Raines and the brother of fellow jockey John Luzzi. Mike collected his first win in 1988 aboard Tis A Sir at Laurel Race Course. He won the Eclipse Award as the nation's outstanding apprentice rider one year later. In 1993 he moved his tack to New York, and last September reached the 2,00-win plateau.
Luzzi will be presented with a bronze statue in a ceremony at Belmont Park Monday. The other nominees for the award were Anthony Black, Dean Kutz, and Larry Melancon. Best winners of the award include Bill Shoemaker, Chris McCarron, Angel Cordero Jr., Jerry Bailey, Mike Smith, Laffit Pincay Jr., Pat Day, Robbie Davis, Eddie Maple, Gary Stevens, and Jorge Chavez.