INGLEWOOD, Calif. (Nov. 13, 2009) — Hollywood Park will be saluting jockeys throughout the Autumn Meet with a special series of collectable program covers.
Mike Smith, the Hall of Fame jockey fresh from guiding Zenyatta to her thrilling come-from-behind victory over males as she completed her career with a perfect 14-for-14 record in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, heads a list of eight riders featured on the program covers.
Also included are Alex Solis, Garrett Gomez, David Flores, Victor Espinoza, Rafael Bejarano, Corey Nakatani and Aaron Gryder.
There will be a mix of program covers each day of the 27-day Autumn Meet. In addition, Smith, Solis, Gomez, Espinoza and Bejarano will participte in an autograph session prior to Satuday’s first race.
Smith, twice an Eclipse Award winner, also rode champion Azeri. He is tenth all-time and fifth among active jockeys as his mounts have made more than $205 million. His 4,800-plus wins include the 2005 Kentucky Derby on Giacomo and the 1997 Breeders’ Cup Classic on Skip Away at Hollywood Park.
Alex Solis is ninth all-time as his mounts have made more than $217 million — fourth among active jockeys. He has ridden more than 4,700 winners including Snow Chief in the 1986 Preakness and Pleasantly Perfect in the 2003 Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Garrett Gomez has established himself as the nation’s premier “money rider” in recent years. He earned his second straight Eclipse Award in 2008 as he topped the nation’s money standings for the third consecutive year with $23.3 million.
David Flores recorded career win No. 3,000 here on 7-1 shot Time to Get Even in the 2007 Lazaro S. Barrera Memorial Stakes. He has ridden ten million-dollar race winners, including Hollywood Gold Cup champions Marquetry (1991) and Siphon (1996).
Victor Espinoza rode War Emblem to victories in the 2002 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. His first Grade I victory came in 2000 when he dyed his hair yellow-gold and then rode Early Pioneer to a $51 upset in the Hollywood Gold Cup.
Aaron Gryder, headed to ride in Hong Kong under contract for the Hong Kong Jockey Club, registered his richest win earlier this year aboard Well Armed in the $6-million Dubai World Cup. He joined Ferril Zufelt (1941 summer) as the only apprentice to lead the jockeys’ standings at Hollywood Park at the 1987 Autumn Meet.
Rafael Bejarano led all five major Southern California meetings in 2008 — his first full season on the West Coast. He rode Papa Clem to victory in the $1-million Arkansas Derby in April, won his sixth straight California riding title at the Santa Anita winter/spring meeting, and added his seventh title at the recent Oak Tree meeting.
Martin Pedroza rode seven winners including his 3,000th on opening day at Fairplex Park in 2008, then repeated two days later as he became just the second jockey to ride seven winners twice in the same year. He was leading rider at the 2005 Autumn Meet.
Tyler Baze, an Eclipse Award winner as the nation’s outstanding apprentice jockey of 2000, earned his first riding title at the 2004 Spring/Summer Meet. He rode 10-1 shot Mast Track to a front-running, upset victory in the 2008 Hollywood Gold Cup.
Corey Nakatani rode Lava Man to his second and third consecutive Hollywood Gold Cup victories in 2006 and 2007, respectively, as he matched legendary Native Diver as a three-time winner of the classic. The margin on both occasions was a nose.
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