Leading Jockeys Return to Turfway Park

Leading riders at Turfway will return to close out the track's fall meet.

Edited Turfway Park release

Jockeys that won leading rider titles at Turfway Park over the past 50 years will return to the Northern Kentucky track Oct. 8 when it ends its 50th anniversary meet.

Twenty to 25 jockeys are expected to welcome fans and sign autographs from 6:30-9:30 p.m. EDT. Most will be available throughout the evening in a designated area near the paddock.

Riders with mounts will be available as time permits between races. The first 300 fans will receive a free poster picturing or naming all 61 jockeys that have won meets at the track.

Donations will be taken to benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. Established in 2006, the fund provides financial assistance to about 60 former jockeys that have suffered catastrophic on-track injuries.

Turfway held one meet each year from 1959 through 1963, and added a second race meet in 1964. The third meet, called the holiday meet, began in 1979.

Among those representing the track’s early days is Mike Manganello, who won leading rider titles in 1964, 1969, and in 1970, the year he also won the Kentucky Derby aboard Dust Commander. Also expected from the track’s days as Latonia Race Course are Billy Phelps, who won meets in 1965, 1967, and 1970; Ron Herbstreit, winner of the 1965 winter/spring meet and now an accredited racing steward; and 66-year-old Robert “Cowboy” Jones, who tied for a 1972 title but also still exercises horses and occasionally has a mount in a race.

Willie Martinez, who owns the most Turfway titles with nine, is expected to be on hand for the event. Martinez earned five consecutive fall meet titles from 1995-1999 as well as three holiday meet titles and one winter/spring title. Martinez is tied with Pat Day for the most stakes wins at the track with 37.

Also planning to attend is Patricia “P.J.” Cooksey, who holds titles from the winter/spring meets of 1981, 1983, 1985 (tie), and 1995. Cooksey, one of the first women to ride with considerable success, at one time led all female riders nationally in career wins and is one of only three female jockeys to earn riding titles at Turfway.

Turfway races at 7 p.m. Oct. 7-8, and then closes for live racing until Nov.29.