Emma-Jayne Wilson accepts the winnings for the Jockey Challenge.

Emma-Jayne Wilson accepts the winnings for the Jockey Challenge.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Canada's Wilson Wins Pimlico Jockey Challenge

Female rider scores big in four-race series to easily defeat Edgar Prado May 17.

Canadian jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson compiled 36 points to easily win the inaugural $34,000 Xpressbet 'Battle of the Sexes' Jockey Challenge May 17 at Pimlico Race Course.

The 25-year-old Woodbine-based rider topped her rivals in three of four challenge races to finish with a 13-point edge on her runner-up, Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado. In the new format, pitting four each of the country's top male and female riders, the women edged the men by a 61-39 margin in total points.

In separate wagering on the four-race challenge, Wilson paid $25 for the win on a $2 bet. The Wilson-Prado exacta was worth $72.80.

"It feels good," said Wilson, who earned the top prize of $12,000. "What it all boils down to is having fun and showcasing the game, but I'm a jock and I'm a competitor, so you always like to win."

Held in conjunction with the Lady Legends for the Cure IV, a pari-mutuel race featuring eight retired female riders, the challenge was part of "The People's Pink Party." It was a joint effort between Pimlico and Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world's largest breast cancer organization, to help raise money and awareness in the fight against the disease.

This marked the fifth year for a jockey challenge at Pimlico on the eve of the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), and the first in its new format. It was the second win for Wilson, who also finished first in an all-female version of the challenge in 2011. She donated a portion of Friday's winnings to the breast cancer cause.

"It was a little less of a whirlwind for me. Now, I'm a little bit more of a veteran," she said. "I know Pimlico a little better than I did the first time, so I was able to catch my breath and enjoy it a little bit more this time."

Rounding out the finishers were Forest Boyce, third with 10 points; Javier Castellano and Kristina McManigell, who tied for fourth with nine points; Rosie Napravnik (six), Gary Stevens (four), and John Velazquez (three).

Wilson has 1,059 wins and more than $50 million in purse earnings in her career, which began in 2004. She captured the 2005 Eclipse Award and Canada's Sovereign Award in 2005 and 2006 as champion apprentice.