by Claire Novak
Top jockeys Edgar Prado and Rafael Bejarano will represent North America in the 19th World Super Jockey Series at Japan's Hanshin Racecourse Dec. 3-4, said Joe Ferrer, Bejarano's agent. The riders traveled to Japan to participate in the competition that has attracted 14 jockeys from five different continents.
Champion jockeys Michael Kinane and Kieran Fallon will represent Ireland in the competition, while two-time Melbourne Cup winner Darren Beadman will ride for Australia. Also participating are Stephane Pasquier from France, New Zealand's Leith Innes, and Douglas Whyte, who has taken the leading rider title in Hong Kong for four consecutive seasons. Six of Japan's leading jockeys round out the colony of international riders.
Organized by the Japan Racing Association, the Super Jockey Series consists of four races valued at more than $1.6 million. Riders are invited to participate through a selection process based on yearly earnings and win percentages, while mounts are assigned by lottery. A point-per-finish placing system determines the winner of the two-day series.
"It is always a great honor to be chosen to participate in this series," Prado said. "There are some very talented riders, and it's a good competition."
Prado, who ranks second in the nation by earnings this year, won the Young Jockeys World Championship at Japan's Nakayama Racecourse in 1994 and has participated in the World Super Jockey Series on several occasions. Bejarano, fourth in the nation by earnings this year, will ride internationally for the first time since having left his native Peru in 2000.