Shoemaker Award to Recognize Outstanding Performance

One jockey will be honored for overall outstanding performance in this year's Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships and subsequent editions of the event with the Bill Shoemaker Award, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Breeders' Cup announced Oct. 21.

Breeders' Cup president D.G. Van Clief Jr. said the award winner would be selected by members of the media and presented during the post-Breeders' Cup press breakfast the morning after the event. This year's World Thoroughbred Championships will be held Oct. 25 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif.

Shoemaker, a Hall of Famer, died earlier in October. The Oak Tree Racing Association scheduled a memorial service for Shoemaker at Santa Anita the afternoon of Oct. 21.

"Not a day goes by without the spirit of Bill Shoemaker," Van Clief said during a luncheon and press conference in Los Angeles. "He was a sportsman par excellence."

The luncheon was held at the House of Blues. The NTRA and Breeders' Cup have scheduled similar events in previous years to attract coverage by mainstream media outlets in host markets.

Oak Tree executive vice president Sherwood Chillingworth said Santa Anita is proud to host the Cup for a third time. He said the "planets and stars have come into alignment" -- it's the 100th anniversary of the city of Arcadia, the 20th anniversary of the Breeders' Cup, and the 10th anniversary since the last time the Cup was held at Santa Anita.

Chillingworth said he had two pieces of good news: He said concerns about the condition of the dirt and turf courses have been addressed, and that the weather should be ideal on Cup day.

Chillingworth said European trainers and officials with the International Racing Bureau inspected both surfaces and pronounced them "absolutely perfect. I think we'll have a fair surface."

After training hours Oct. 19-21, track maintenance crews have been on both surfaces almost constantly. The main track has been plowed, scraped, smoothed, and watered on numerous occasions, and the turf course manicured.

As for the weather, Chillingworth said reports vary from a forecasts of 77 degrees to 82 degrees for Cup day, "remarkable" given the fact it was 97 degrees, believed to be the hottest reading of the year, on Oct. 21.