(Edited press release)
Team USA beat Team World by the slimmest of margins, 10 points to 9 1/2, in the Nov. 15 inaugural “Rider Cup” for charity at Churchill Downs.
The five-race series, which awarded points to team representatives for their respective placings in each race, came down to the final leg. Team USA had an 8-6 1/2 advantage, but Team World, which showcased jockeys born outside the United States, had Ramon Dominguez aboard 4-5 favorite Game Face in race 8. With three points awarded for a win, Calvin Borel aboard 6-1 fourth choice Miss Isella, had to secure two points for second to secure the victory for Team USA.
Game Face edged Miss Isella by head and Team USA prevailed.
“I knew I had to run second to get it for the team,” Borel said. “Heck, she ran so good I almost won the race. She ran a heck of a race, she’s a real runner. I knew we had to run second if (Game Face) won to hang on. We did it and got lucky. It was a lot of fun.”
“Those guys actually thought they were going to beat us,” said Robby Albarado, who earned five points for Team USA with a win aboard O’Sotopretty in Race 4 (the first leg in the series) and a runner-up effort on Orangspangledgator in race 7. “We had a lot of fun; we should do this again,” he added.
One mount for each race was selected by celebrity team captains. Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day represented Team USA and Hall of Fame rider Angel Cordero Jr. captained Team World. No jockey could be chosen more than twice in the series.
Points were awarded on a 3-2-1 scale for first-, second- and third-place finishes in each race. If neither jockey hit the board, the rider with the best finish was awarded a half-point.
Team USA, which had the most points at the conclusion of race 8, was crowned the winner and a $10,000 donation will be made to the charities of their choice. The charities of the Team World will receive a $5,000 donation.
“I can’t say enough about the jobs the jockeys have done, and Churchill Downs for stepping forward and making these donations available to our charities,” Day said. “It’s been a great day. Thank you, Churchill Downs, for hosting this event and to all the riders who participated. Angel and I had a great deal of fun. We’re all greatly appreciative of the effort.
“We’ll get together with the riders and see where they want the money to go. They’re the ones out here working on this miserable day (rainy and 39 degrees).”
(Edited press release)