Leading online wagering provider Xpressbet will sponsor the Hall of Fame Jockey Challenge, an event scheduled for May 16, Black-Eyed Susan Day, at Pimlico Race Course. The Challenge pits the seven active Hall of Fame riders against one another in a four-race competition that will be open for wagering.
Challenge participants include Hall of Fame riders Gary Stevens (inducted in 1997), Russell Baze (1999), Mike Smith (2003), Kent Desormeaux (2004), Edgar Prado (2008), John Velazquez (2012), and Calvin Borel (2013). As a group, these riders have won 44,721 races with earnings of $1,592,737,799 and counting. They have combined to win the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) seven times.
"We're thrilled to sponsor this unique event. To have seven Hall of Famers still competing, let alone dominating the sport, is incredible," said Xpressbet president Ron Luniewski, in a release. "For them to square off at Pimlico should make a great day of racing even better. We're proud to partner with the Maryland Jockey Club and the Jockeys' Guild to make this never-before-seen competition a reality."
Racing fans and bettors can wager on the outcome of the competition through Xpressbet and other wagering providers across the country, with win and exacta wagering offered. Riders earn 12 points when they finish first amongst the Jockey Challenge participants, six when second, four when third, and three when fourth. The jockey that accumulates the most points over the four races is the winner and receives the winner's portion of a $50,000 purse.
In conjunction with the Hall of Fame Jockey Challenge, The Stronach Group also will make a $50,000 donation to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. The PDJF supports 60 former jockeys that suffered catastrophic on-track injuries and can no longer compete. Former jockey Ramon Dominguez will be at Pimlico on behalf of the PDJF to accept The Stronach Group's donation.
Mike Rogers, president of The Stronach Group's Racing Division, noted that the opportunity to support the industry drove this decision. "The Stronach Group values the health and well-being of racing's athletes, both human and equine," he said. "We feel that supporting them is integral in preserving our sport's future."
"We admire the work the PDJF does, and we are proud to donate to them," Rogers added. "We encourage others to do the same."