(Edited press release)
Eight of the nation’s top jockeys, including Eclipse Award winners Kent Desormeaux, Edgar Prado, Garrett Gomez, and John Velazquez, will square off in the inaugural Jockey Challenge at Pimlico Race Course May 15, the day before the $1 million Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
The Maryland Jockey Club teamed up with the Jockeys’ Guild for the event and will make a $5,000 contribution to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.
The jockey with the most points at the end of a four-race competition will be crowned champion. Riding assignments will be determined by a drawing May 10, and jockeys receive points for finishing first (12 points), second (6), third (4) and fourth (3) in each race. The champion jockey will earn $14,000. Other prize money is as follows: $10,000 (second); $8,000 (third); and $3,500 (fourth through eighth).
“We wanted to provide some added spark to the Black-Eyed Susan card, and jockey promotions have been popular with fans throughout the years,” said Maryland Jockey Club president and chief operating officer Tom Chuckas in a release. “Thanks to Terry Meyocks at the Jockeys’ Guild, we have attracted some of the biggest names in the business to our inaugural event.”
The riders will also participate in an autograph session that morning in the Pimlico grandstand with a special souvenir poster to be made available.
“The jockeys look forward to working with the Maryland Jockey Club to present a special day of racing for the fans,” said Meyocks, national manager of the Jockeys’ Guild. “With an autograph session in addition to the competition on the track, fans will be able to meet their favorite riders. Thanks to MJC’s contribution to help disabled riders, the event is a win for racing, the fans and riders who have suffered life-changing injuries. Events like the Jockey Challenge provide additional color to an already outstanding weekend of racing.”