Jockey championship includes Md.'s Prado

Longtime standout here one of 12 elite riders matching skills in Texas

June 25, 1999|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

Edgar Prado will ride with racing's elite tonight in the National All-Star Jockey Championship at Lone Star Park in Texas.

The dominant jockey in Maryland throughout the 1990s, Prado was one of 12 riders invited to the nationally televised event at the thriving 2-year-old track between Dallas and Fort Worth.

He joins four Hall of Famers (Jerry Bailey, Pat Day, Chris McCarron and Laffit Pincay Jr.) and other top riders in a four-race competition for charity and pride.

"I really feel great about it," Prado said. "To be one of only 12 jockeys selected makes me feel kind of special. I will go and do my best. It's a privilege."

This is the third year for the jockey championship, but the first to which Prado has been invited. He led North American riders in victories the previous two years and has a commanding lead this year.

His 226 victories are about 40 more than his nearest challenger, Russell Baze.

Gary Stevens won the jockey championship in 1997, and Shane Sellers won last year. Sellers will defend his title, but Stevens will miss the event because he has begun riding in England.

Joining Sellers, Prado and the four Hall of Famers will be Chris Antley, Kent Desormeaux, Robby Albarado, Alex Solis and the Texas riders Corey Lanerie and Eddie Martin Jr.

Lanerie gained his spot as the leading rider at Lone Star. Martin was asked to fill in for Mike Smith, who declined his invitation because of riding commitments in New York.

The jockeys will ride horses selected at random in four races (the second, fourth, sixth and seventh), accumulating points based on their finishes. The jockey with the most points will earn $18,000 of the $125,000 prize money.

ESPN2 will cover the races on a tape-delayed basis beginning at 11: 30 tonight. The National Thoroughbred Racing Association sponsors the event.

Of course, you can bet on it -- and not just the regular wagers on horses. For this one event, you can bet on the jockeys based on their final point totals. You can bet win, place, show, exacta and trifecta.

For example, if Desormeaux finishes with the most points, and Prado finishes second, that would be the winning exacta: Desormeaux-Prado.

One percent of all money wagered on the four races will go to the Jockeys' Guild Disabled Riders Fund, which assists riders across the country who have suffered permanent injuries in spills and riding accidents.

Pub Date: 6/25/99

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