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SANTA ANITA PARK ANNOUNCES 2014 GEORGE WOOLF MEMORIAL JOCKEY AWARD FINALISTS, WINNER TO BE ANNOUNCED IN JANUARY
ARCADIA, Calif. (Nov. 27, 2013)—Santa Anita Park has announced five finalists for the prestigious Santa Anita George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award, with the winner to be announced on HRTV in January following a vote of jockeys nationwide.
Veteran jockeys David Amiss, Dennis Carr, Aaron Gryder, Corey Lanerie and Scott Stevens are the 2014 finalists for the trophy that has been presented annually by Santa Anita since 1950.
One of the most prestigious awards in all of racing, the Woolf Award recognizes those riders whose careers and personal character earn esteem for the individual and the sport of Thoroughbred racing. Awarded to a different jockey each year, the winner’s trophy is a replica of the life-sized statue of legendary jockey 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. 3, 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 2014 Woolf ballot features five highly regarded riders who have plied their trade in a wide range of geographic locales with honor and distinction.
David Amiss, a 48-year-old native of New Hampshire who won his 1,000th career race on Sept. 22 at Suffolk Downs, broke his maiden in May of 1986 at Rockingham Park and is a mainstay on the New England Circuit. “There have been some bumps in the road,” said Amiss of his milestone achievement, “But I am so grateful to have it happen here, at Suffolk Downs.” Amiss also winters on occasion at Tampa Bay Downs in Florida.
Dennis Carr, a native of Long Island, New York who broke his maiden in January, 1987 at Aqueduct, is currently riding full-time at Golden Gate Fields, where perennial kingpin Russell Baze continues to lead the standings on a regular basis. After moving his tack on three separate occasions from New York to Northern California, Carr is once again positioned to compete for the top spot in the Bay Area. He has won more than 2,700 career races and his mounts have earned more than $52 million.
Aaron Gryder, who was raised in nearby Covina and broke his maiden in January, 1987 at the now-shuttered Agua Caliente south of the border, first gained national attention when he led all reinsmen at the 1987 Hollywood Park Fall Meeting of Champions as an apprentice. Gryder has ridden full-time throughout North America and has commanded the respect of his colleagues and the media wherever he has competed.
A winner of more than 3,600 races, Gryder’s career highlight came on March 28, 2009, when he piloted Well Armed to a front-running, 14 length victory in the $6 million Dubai World Cup—the world’s richest race.
Corey Lanerie, a Louisiana native who has become a fixture at Churchill Downs and at Fairgrounds in New Orleans, has won more than 3,500 races and is held in the highest regard by jockeys and horsemen wherever he has ridden regularly.
Lanerie, who broke his maiden in April 1991 at Evangeline Downs in Lousiana, has won riding titles at Churchill Downs and at three tracks in Texas; Lone Star Park, Sam Houston and Retama Park, and has also been leading rider at Ellis Park in Kentucky.
Veteran Scott Stevens has truly stood the test of time as he has overcome life-threatening injuries on several occasions en route to posting more than 4,250 victories in a remarkable career that began nearly 40 years ago.
A six-time leading rider at Turf Paradise in Phoenix, Stevens has also been leading rider at Les Bois Park in Boise, Idaho and at Canterbury Park in Minnesota.
Born in Idaho on Oct. 6, 1961, Stevens broke his maiden in May, 1976 at Les Bois Park in Boise and he has also ridden regularly at Assiniboia Downs in Winnipeg, Canada, Emerald Downs near Seattle, and briefly, in both Northern and Southern California.
In recognition of his ability on the track and overall professionalism, Stevens has been inducted into both the Canterbury Park and Idaho Racing Halls of Fame. Scott’s younger brother, superstar jockey Gary Stevens, electrified the racing world in 2013, returning from a seven-year hiatus to win the Preakness Stakes, Breeders’ Cup Distaff and Breeders’ Cup Classic. Gary Stevens won the Woolf Award in 1996.
The Woolf Award is typically presented in mid or late March, depending upon the winner’s riding schedule.