Head To Head

by Ed Meyer

posted on December 31, 2008 in General Discussion, News | No Comments >>

Thoroughbred racing’s all-time winningest jockey Russell Baze, and three of his colleagues, will fly up from Northern California to take on four of the top riders at Portland Meadows, on Jan. 7th in the first Golden Gate versus Portland Meadows Jockey Challenge, sponsored by XpressBet.

The competition at the Portland, Ore., racetrack will consist of four XpressBet Jockey Challenge races and $20,000 in prize money.

Headlining the event will be the return of Northwest United States native Russell Baze, who has more than 10,200 wins in his career and is once again leading the Golden Gate rider standings. Baze’s son-in-law, Kyle Kaenel, currently fourth in the Golden Gate rider standings, will be part of Team Golden Gate along with Francisco Duran and Leslie Mawing, who each had 28 wins at the Golden Gate meet through Dec. 29th.

Team Portland Meadows will feature the top four riders in the current standings. Debbie Hoonan-Trujillo has been atop the Portland Meadows win list for most of the season, and currently has 45 winds at the meet. Mark Anderson is currently second in the standings in his first season at Portland Meadows. The third member of Team Portland Meadows was to be perennial leading rider Joe Crispin, but he was injured after being thrown from his mount in the third race on Monday at Portland Meadows. His replacement is not known at this time. Crispin, who ranks third at the Portland Racetrack has 35 wins, is expected to miss six to eight weeks. Javier Matias completes the line-up for Team Portland Meadows with his 29 wins, which puts him fourth in the standings.

The competition will feature four XpressBet Jockey Challenge races, each of which will have eight horses in the field. Each of the eight riders will be assigned a mount via random draw. The riders will receive a score based on where their mount finishes.

Points will be given according to the finish of each race; first is worth one point, second two points, and eight eight points, for example. The team with the lowest score at the end of the competition will be the winning team.

The winning team will split up to $10,000, while the losing team will get $5,000. As a bonus, the rider with the most wins will receive $2,500, the second-place rider $1,500, and the third-place rider $1,000. Should there be a tie for most victories, the tiebreaker will be second-place finishes, followed by third-place finishes if needed.

Live coverage of the XpressBet Jockey Challenge will be shown on HRTV with host Jon White and three-time Kentucky Derby winner and Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens. The Challenge will be featured in races four through seven, with a start time of about 2:15 p.m. PST.