(edited press release)
Calvin Borel and Robby Albarado, the winning jockeys in this year’s first two legs of the Triple Crown, are set to renew their rivalry in the inaugural Cajun Jockey Challenge at Evangeline Downs Racetrack July 13. The challenge is a four-race contest featuring twelve accomplished riders who began their racing careers in Louisiana and have strong Cajun roots.
Although Borel and Albarado have garnered the most publicity of late, the field assembled is talented and deep, featuring riders who have won more than 37,000 races and earned more than $640 million in purses in their combined careers. The night will also honor legendary Louisiana-born riders such as Randy Romero and Shane Sellers.
The festivities begin at 12:00 p.m. with a luncheon hosted by retired Hall-of-Fame Jockey Pat Day, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Racetrack Chaplaincy. In addition to Day, the luncheon will also feature the riders scheduled to compete later that evening and the retired riders being honored. Tickets are $75 per person.
Following the luncheon, from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., fans will have an opportunity to meet the riders in an autograph session held at Mojo’s, Evangeline Downs’ sports bar adjacent to the paddock. There will also be a pre-event ceremony in the winner’s circle to introduce all of the participants prior to the night’s first race. Evangeline Downs is also issuing a souvenir program to commemorate the evening.
The official participants for the challenge, which will be conducted during races three, five, seven, and nine, are as follows: Calvin Borel, Robby Albarado, Mark Guidry, Curt Bourque, Gerard Melancon, Corey Lanerie, Larry Melancon, E.J. Perrodin, Tracy Hebert, Kerwin Clark, Steve Bourque, and B.J. Hernandez Jr.
In addition to the regular prize money, first place in the challenge is worth $5,000 in cash. Second place is worth $2,500, and the third place finisher will receive $1,000. Five points for each win, three points for each second-place finish, and one point for each third-place finish. In the case of any late scratches, one point will be awarded to the corresponding rider. If there are any dead heats, the total points of the two positions will be divided equally. In case of any ties, the total win/place/show mutuel payoffs will be the deciding tiebreaker. Riding assignments were drawn at random.
“Interest in the challenge has been overwhelming,” said Jason Boulet, Racing Secretary at Evangeline Downs. “All of these athletes have strong ties to this area. Even though many no long compete here on a regular basis this is and always will be home to them. As their family, friends, and fans, we’ve followed them on their various paths to success in our great sport and are tremendously excited to welcome them all back home on this special night”.