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SANTA ANITA GEORGE WOOLF FINALISTS ANNOUNCED
ARCADIA, Calif. (Nov. 23, 2011)—Santa Anita Park announced on Wednesday a list of five finalists for the 63rd annual Santa Anita George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award, with the winner to be announced on HRTV in January.
Ramon Dominguez, Corey Lanerie, Martin Pedroza, DeShawn Parker and Scott Stevens are the 2012 Woolf finalists, with a winner to be determined by a vote of jockeys nationwide.
The Woolf Award has been presented annually by Santa Anita since 1950 and is regarded as one of the most prestigious honors in all of racing, as it recognizes those riders whose careers and personal character earn esteem for the individual and the sport of Thoroughbred racing. The winner’s trophy is a replica of the life-sized statue of George Woolf, which adorns Santa Anita’s Paddock Gardens area.
The statue was created through donations from the racing public after Woolf’s death which followed a spill at Santa Anita on Jan. 13, 1946. Woolf, who was regarded as one of the top big-money jockeys of his era, was affectionately known as “The Iceman,” and was revered by his colleagues, members of the media and fans across America as a fierce competitor and consummate professional who was at his best when the stakes were highest.
The 2012 Woolf Award ballot features five veteran riders who have jointly accounted for more than 19,000 wins.
As North America’s Eclipse Award winning jockey in 2010, Ramon Dominguez led all riders with $18,591,756 in purse earnings. Born Nov. 24, 1976 in Caracas, Venezuela, Dominguez began riding at Hialeah Park in Florida in 1996.
Dominguez also led all North American jockeys by races won in 2001 and 2003, and in 2004 he won the Isaac Murphy Award for having the highest win percentage among American-based riders.
Dominguez, who has won 13 NYRA riding titles dating back to 2007-08, won his second Breeders’ Cup race on Nov. 5, as he guided Hansen to an impressive victory in the $2 million Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs.
Corey Lanerie, a Louisiana native who has become a fixture at Churchill Downs and at Fairgrounds in New Orleans, won his 3,000th career race on Feb. 3 and is held in the highest regard by jockeys and horsemen wherever he has ridden regularly.
Lanerie has won riding titles at three tracks in Texas, Lone Star Park, Sam Houston and Retama Park, and has also been leading rider at Ellis Park in Kentucky.
Regarded as one of the fiercest competitors of his era, Martin Pedroza has been a frequent member of the coveted Top Ten at all of Southern California’s major tracks since 1983.
A 46-year-old native of Panama City, Panama, Pedroza has enjoyed good success and won more than 3,000 career races, despite competing on a daily basis with some of the sports all-time greatest reinsmen.
The all-time leading rider at Fairplex Park in Pomona, Pedroza has won an unprecedented 14 riding titles 682 victories over that track’s five-eighths mile bullring.
At five feet 10 inches, DeShawn Parker doesn’t look like a jockey to most people. His physical appearance however, belies a well-grounded work ethic and an ability to keep horses running—and running.
Parker, a 42-year-old Cincinnati native who bases out of West Virginia’s Mountaineer Park, led all North American riders with 377 wins in 2010 and is on pace take his second consecutive national riding crown in 2011.
America’s first champion African American jockey since 1895, Parker is the son of longtime Ohio racing official Daryle Parker.
Best known as the older brother of Hall of Fame retired jockey Gary Stevens, Scott Stevens, 50, has quietly gone about having an outstanding career in his own right, evidenced by the fact he registered his 4,000th career win on March 18 of this year at Turf Paradise, in Phoenix, Az.
An Idaho native, Stevens began his career in 1976 at Le Bois Park in Boise and has ridden regularly at Canterbury Park in Minnesota, Assiniboia Downs in Winnipeg, Canada, Emerald Downs, near Seattle, Washington and briefly, in Southern and Northern California.
In recognition of his ability on the track and overall professionalism, Stevens has been inducted into the Canterbury Park and Idaho Racing Halls of Fame.
Stevens has overcome several life-threatening injuries and has long been active in support of his fellow riders. He was sidelined for several months following a catastrophic spill at Canterbury in July, 2010, which left him hospitalized with two punctured lungs, multiple rib fractures, fractured vertebrae and a broken collarbone.
Stevens is the father of two grown children, Jessica and Jake, and has one grandchild.
For more information on the Santa Anita George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award, go to www.santaanita.com.