Jockey Edgar Prado, whose skill on the racetrack is matched by his passion to help children of New York's backstretch workers, was named the winner of the 2006 Mike Venezia Award, the New York Racing Association announced July 21.Prado won the award based on the votes of fellow jockeys, turf writers and an on-line vote by fans. The award honors a jockey "who exemplify extraordinary sportsmanship and citizenship," and is given in memory of Mike Venezia, who was killed in a spill at Belmont Park on October 13, 1988.Prado won the award over finalists Mark Guidry and Calvin Borel.
Winner of the 2006 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) aboard Barbaro and a two-time Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner, Prado is established as one of the nation's top jockeys. The 39-year-old native of Lima, Peru, is also known as a soft touch, and is strongly involved with Belmont Park's Child Day Care Center, "Anna House,' that provides care for the children of backstretch workers.Prado will receive his award at a date to be announced during the upcoming "Belmont Fall Championship Meet."