The Fourth Annual British Airways International Jockey Challenge is all set for March 11, at Santa Anita Park.
The unique event pits four of Europe's best jockeys four of America's finest riders in a four-race challenge. Team USA has won the event two of the three years, including last year by a margin of 56-28.
This year the American team will be comprised of Laffit Pincay Jr., Kent Desormeaux, Corey Nakatani and Victor Espinoza. Members were chosen by fan voting on-track and online. The legendary Bill Shoemaker captains Team USA for a fourth straight year.
Pincay, racing's all-time leading jockey with 9,088 victories (through March 4), will make his third appearance in the event. Team USA is unbeaten with Pincay in the lineup, posting victories in the 1998 and 2000 IJC. Desormeaux previously participated in 1999 and finished second in the individual standings with 18 points. Nakatani and Espinoza, two of Southern California's leading riders, will be making their debuts in the red, white and blue silks of Team USA.
Team Europe, captained by Steve Cauthen, includes IJC veterans Kieren Fallon, Frankie Dettori and Olivier Peslier. Johnny Murtagh, one of Ireland' top riders, will be making his first appearance in the event Fallon led Europe to victory in 1999 and is third all-time in individual points with 28.5.