Maryland Jockey Club will continue efforts to boost interest in racing on the Friday before the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) this year by again partnering with the Maryland Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure for some special events.
MJC announced March 8 that the Goo Goo Dolls will headline a concert May 17 at Pimlico Race Course as part of Pimlico's partnership with Komen.
The "People's Pink Party" includes a 13-race program that features eight stakes races, headlined by the 89th running of the $500,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-old fillies and the $300,000 Pimlico Special (gr. III). The day will feature a jockey challenge between eight of the nation's top active riders and the fourth annual "Lady Legends For the Cure Race."
"The day's growing momentum and popularity allow us to offer, for the first time, an Infield concert on Preakness eve featuring a national headlining artist," said MJC president Tom Chuckas. "Live music has always been a part of The People's Pink Party, and with the Goo Goo Dolls performance, the weekend is now positioned to be one of the most unique entertainment experiences anywhere, combining the highest level of racing and first-class music on both Black-Eyed Susan and Preakness days.
"The heart of Black-Eyed Susan day remains our partnership with Komen Maryland. It remains our pleasure to honor many devoted people involved in the fight against breast cancer on this very special day at Pimlico."
Grammy-nominated artists Goo Goo Dolls recently released "Rebel Beat", the first single from their new album "Magnetic" that is due to be released May 7. The lineup will include two other acts, to be announced shortly. The public infield will open at 2 p.m. with the music beginning at 4. Tickets for the concert will be on sale to the public Friday, March 15. Tickets for the concert will be $25.
A two-day Infield combo ticket is available for $70 through May 11. Pitbull and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis will headline the main stage at Preakness InfieldFest May 18. There will be no MUG Club or MUG Club ticketing on Black-Eyed Susan day, May 17.
Now in its fourth year, the Lady Legends For the Cure Race was the first ever pari-mutuel race showcasing retired female riders. Profiled on NBC Sports in 2010, the race was also filmed as the climatic ending to the feature length documentary in production, JOCK, chronicling the story of the first generation of lady jockeys.
Jennifer Rowland-Small will be back to defend her title. A pioneering jockey in Maryland in the 1970s, she guided Class Rules to a gate-to-wire score a year ago.
Zoe Cadman, Patti "PJ" Cooksey, Abby Fuller, Mary Russ-Tortora, Barbara Jo Rubin, and Cheryl White return with Stacie Clark-Rogers replacing 2011 champion Mary Wiley-Wagner.
"The Lady Legends concept has been a home run for us," said Maryland Jockey Club racing secretary Georganne Hale, who coordinates the Lady Legends race and the jockey challenge. "They are excellent ambassadors for racing. The girls have fun when they come to town and the crowd loves them. Barbara Jo is going to be 64 this year and personally I hope she gets a good draw. She is a true legend and I would like to see her win the race."
Rubin was the first woman to win a pari-mutuel race in the United States, guiding Cohesion to victory at Charles Town Races Feb. 22, 1969.
In addition to her earnings in the race, each rider will receive a $3,500 bonus. Pimlico will match the amount wagered on the 2013 winner in-state and make a contribution to Komen Maryland.
The Jockey's Challenge will feature four of the North America's top female jockeys versus four of the nation's best male riders, competing in four races with points awarded based upon their finish.
Competing on the female side will be former Maryland sensation Rosie Napravnik, Emma-Jayne Wilson, Rosemary Homeister, and Forest Boyce. The male lineup has not been finalized but those under consideration include Ramon Dominguez, John Velazquez, Javier Castellano, Mike Smith, and Gary Stevens.
"Throughout the years we have had many formats but decided a boys against the girls concept would be the most fun," Hale said. "It is special for us to have Rosie back. She got her start at Pimlico (2005) and we are all proud of her accomplishments as one of the top riders in the country."
The jockey with the most points at the end of a four-race competition will be crowned champion. Riding assignments are determined by a drawing May 12, and jockeys receive points for finishing first (12 points), second (6), third (4) and fourth (3) in each race. The champion jockey will earn $10,000. Other prize money: $7,000 (second), $6,000 (third), $4,000 (fourth), $2,000 (fifth) and $1,000 (sixth through eighth).
The Lady Legends and Jockey Challenge riders will take part in an autograph session prior to the card.
The People's Pink Party will welcome 89 breast cancer survivors as guests to Pimlico, where they will be honored in festivities throughout the day, highlighted by a winners' circle tribute that has become an event tradition. Seventy-five percent of the funds raised during the day will go to the Komen Maryland Affiliate to use for community outreach programs in Maryland and 25% will be used for breast cancer research.
"We are thrilled to continue for the fourth year our partnership with the Maryland Jockey Club. They remain committed as Komen Maryland to raising funds for breast cancer education, screening, treatment and support services for the Maryland community," said Komen Maryland chief executive officer Robin Prothro. "Their support translates into funding for local breast cancer programs throughout the state and for research projects across the globe."
In recognition of Komen's signature shade, Pimlico will again be awash in pink on Black-Eyed Susan Day. The horses and pony riders on the track will don pink saddle towels branded with the unity logo created exclusively to commemorate the day. Additionally, the valets and starters will sport pink gear, and pink linens, flowers and banners will blanket Pimlico throughout the day.
A new Ms. Preakness Pink Warrior will be crowned. The contest honoring breast cancer survivors and individuals who have made a difference in the lives of those fighting breast cancer returns for the fourth year. The winner will be chosen in part through an on-line, interactive process featuring the contestant's own stories.
The title "Ms. Preakness Pink Warrior" is in recognition of the anthem, "Pink Warrior," written and performed by Candy Coburn. Ms. Preakness Pink Warrior will serve as the official ambassador of the Preakness, representing the Maryland Jockey Club at Preakness events throughout the week, including the presentation of the Woodlawn Vase following the 138th Preakness Stakes (gr. I) May 18.