WOOLF TROPHY TO BE PRESENTED IN SANTA ANITA WINNER’S CIRCLE CEREMONY THIS SPRING
ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 26, 2018)–Jockey Jose Ferrer, a mainstay on the eastern seaboard dating back to 1982, has been selected by a nationwide vote of his peers as the winner of Santa Anita’s 2018 George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award.
One of five Woolf finalists, Ferrer outpolled fellow riders Alex Birzer, Javier Castellano, Rodney Prescott and Joe Talamo. In becoming the 69th Woolf Award winner, Ferrer follows in the footsteps of some of the greatest riders of the modern era.
“For any Thoroughbred jockey, winning the George Woolf Award is probably the highlight of that jockey’s career,” said Jockeys’ Guild National Manager, Terry Meyocks. “To be acknowledged by his peers as a rider who has maintained remarkable standards both on and off the track is quite an accomplishment. Jose is richly deserving of this honor and on behalf of our membership, I wholeheartedly congratulate him and his family.”
Born March 31, 1964, Ferrer is a proponent of the power of positive thinking and views each day as a God-given opportunity to contribute to a sport that has provided him a magnificent career. With more than 4,200 wins to his credit, Ferrer is currently based at Tampa Bay Downs. Second in the rider standings this past summer at Monmouth Park, Ferrer has rebounded from serious injuries sustained in a spill at Delaware Park in September.
“It means the world to me to have the guys I’ve ridden with throughout my career vote for me,” said Ferrer yesterday from Tampa Bay Downs. “It is an unbelievable feeling. When I learned I had won, I was up all night with my wife, just to thank God for this opportunity and for my peers to consider me worthy of this award. It’s a privilege and an honor to be with all those great riders and Hall of Famers who have won the Woolf Award.
“I give so much credit to God and to my wife, Steffi. After I got married and started to get closer to God, things started to turn around for the best and more doors started opening…I see things differently now, and I believe you just have to keep trying in life and be positive.”
Shortly after he arrived in the United States, Ferrer became the first jockey to win five races on a single card at the Meadowlands in New Jersey on Nov. 24, 1983, thus stamping himself as a force to be reckoned with in the Mid-Atlantic for decades to come.
Married, with two sons, Derek, 3, and Joseph, 2, Ferrer also has two adult daughters.
The 2018 Woolf Award Trophy, a replica of the life-sized statue of Woolf that has adorned Santa Anita’s Paddock Gardens area since 1949, will be presented to Ferrer in a Winner’s Circle ceremony on an as-yet to be determined date this spring.
(The legendary Hall of Fame jockey, George Woolf, died following a spill on Santa Anita’s Club House turn on Jan. 3, 1946. The winner of the inaugural Santa Anita Handicap aboard Azucar in 1935, Woolf also guided the immortal Seabiscuit to victory over 1937 Triple Crown winner and reigning Horse of the Year War Admiral in a winner-take-all match race at Pimlico Race Course on Nov. 1, 1938).