Santa Anita Park has announced five finalists for the prestigious Santa Anita George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award, with the winner to be announced on HRTV in January following a vote of jockeys nationwide.
Veteran jockeys David Amiss, Dennis Carr, Aaron Gryder, Corey Lanerie, and Scott Stevens are the 2014 finalists for the trophy that has been presented each year by Santa Anita since 1950.
One of the most prestigious awards in all of racing, the Woolf Award recognizes those riders whose careers and personal character earn esteem for the individual and the sport of Thoroughbred racing. Awarded to a different jockey each year, the winner’s trophy is a replica of the life-sized statue of legendary jockey George Woolf, which adorns Santa Anita’s Paddock Gardens area.
The 2014 Woolf ballot features five highly regarded riders who have plied their trade in a wide range of geographic locales with honor and distinction.
Amiss, a 48-year-old native of New Hampshire who won his 1,000th career race Sept. 22 at Suffolk Downs, broke his maiden in May 1986 at Rockingham Park, and is a mainstay in New England. Amiss also winters on occasion at Tampa Bay Downs in Florida.
Carr, a native of Long Island, N.Y., who broke his maiden in January 1987 at Aqueduct Racetrack, is riding full-time at Golden Gate Fields, where perennial kingpin Russell Baze continues to lead the standings on a regular basis. After moving his tack on three separate occasions from New York to Northern California, Carr is again positioned to compete for the top spot in the Bay Area. He has won more than 2,700 career races and his mounts have earned more than $52 million.
Gryder, who was raised in Covina, Calif., and won his first race in January 1987 at the now-shuttered Agua Caliente south of the border, first gained national attention when he led all riders at the 1987 Hollywood Park fall meet as an apprentice. A winner of more than 3,600 races, Gryder’s career highlight came March 28, 2009, when he piloted Well Armed to a front-running14-length victory in the $6 million Dubai World Cup.
Lanerie, a Louisiana native who has become a fixture at Churchill Downs and Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots in New Orleans, has won more than 3,500 races. Lanerie, who won his first race in April 1991 at Evangeline Downs, has won riding titles at Churchill and at three tracks in Texas: Lone Star Park, Sam Houston Race Park, and Retama Park; and has also been leading rider at Ellis Park.
Stevens has overcome life-threatening injuries on several occasions en route to posting more than 4,250 victories in a career that began nearly 40 years ago. A six-time leading rider at Turf Paradise, Stevens also has been leading rider at Les Bois Park and at Canterbury Park. He won his first race in May 1976 at Les Bois Park in Idaho.
The Woolf Award is typically presented in March, depending upon the winner’s riding schedule.