Former rider Danny Winick, who competed in Northern California from 1973-86, said he expects 55 past jockeys and other former track officials, with some of their families, to attend. He said the jockeys are sponsoring the fourth race on the program and a segment will also be introduced to the crowd after each event on the card.
Winick, who now lives in Arcadia, said that Bay Meadows' pending closure -- its owners are not expected to seek additional racing dates after this summer's San Mateo County Fair closes in August -- wasn't really the impetus for holding the reunion. May 11 is closing day of the spring meet.
"It was just something that needed to be done," Winick said of the jockey assembly. "A lot of us are getting older. We won't have another chance.
"They really don't care," he said of the pending track closure. "They've moved on, to different places all over the country; new jobs or careers and families. It is sad if it does close. But I've been hearing Bay Meadows is going to close for 20 years."
Fans will have an opportunity to get autographs from their old favorites and take photographs as well. The jockeys will be treated to a day in the Turf Club by the track.
Among the many former riders expected to attend are Tom Chapman, now a well-known equine racing artist, A.L. Diaz, Larry Gilligan, Bill Mahorney, Rudy Rosales, Art Sherman and Ray York. Others attending are popular retired racing officials Fred Alexander and Gene Pederson as well as Gene O'Conner, the former jocks' room masseuse.
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