For the second consecutive year on Black-Eyed Susan Day, Friday May 20th, the Maryland Jockey Club will partner with the Maryland affiliate of Susan G. Komen For The Cure®, the world’s largest breast cancer organization, to raise funds to aid awareness and research. The inaugural event in 2010 was a huge success highlighted by the all-female jockey Lady Legends For The Cure Race ™.
Having over 40 years of thoroughbred horse racing memories, both good and bad, I surprised myself last year, getting chills while watching the Lady Legends race on Black-Eyed Susan Day at Pimlico. The way the crowd responded to the eight retired female jockeys throughout the 6 furlong event was stuff movies are made of. The electric atmosphere felt throughout the track after the race seemd to carry on the rest of the day. Jockey Gwen Jocson and her mount Honor In Peace was the official winner of the race, but all eight female jockeys were winners in the minds of the impressively large Black-Eyed Susan Day crowd.
The 2011 Black-Eyed Susan Day is being billed as The People’s Pink Party. In addition to the 87th running of the $250,000 Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes for 3 year old fillies, the day will feature an encore performance by retired female riders in the Lady Legends For The Cure Race II ™ and a jockey challenge with six (6) of the nations top active lady riders. The Black-Eyed Susan Stakes will be broadcast live on VERSUS.
The 2010 Lady Legends For the Cure Race™ was the first ever pari-mutuel race showcasing retired female riders, two of whom are breast cancer survivors. Profiled on NBC Sports, the race was also filmed as the climatic ending to the feature length documentary in production, JOCK, chronicling the story of the first generation of lady jockeys.
The 2011 field features the seven other initial participants plus Abby Fuller. Unfortunately, Gwen Jocson will be unable to defend her title, as this winter she tore ligaments in her hand while exercising horses this winter.
- Andrea Seefeldt-Knight (second in ‘10)—one of only two women to have ridden in both the Preakness Stakes (Looming-1994) and Kentucky Derby (Forty Something-1991). Became the first female rider to win the Pennsylvania Derby aboard Valley Crossing, which paid $158.60.
- Mary Russ-Tortora (third in ‘10)—the first female rider to win a Grade I race when she captured the Widener Handicap at Hialeah on Feb. 27, 1982 aboard Lord Darnley.
- Mary Wiley-Wagner (fourth in ‘10)—breast cancer survivor, who briefly returned as an active rider after the 2010 race only to retire again for this event.
- Patti “PJ” Cooksey (fifth in ‘10)—breast cancer survivor was the first female to ride in the Preakness (Tajawa-1985) and ranks third all-time among female riders with 2,137 wins. Also had a mount in the Kentucky Derby (So Vague-1984).
- Barbara Jo Rubin (sixth in ‘10)—made history as the first woman to win a pari-mutuel race in the United States when she guided Cohesion to victory at Charles Town on Feb. 22, 1969.
- Jennifer Rowland-Small (seventh in ‘10)—a pioneering jockey in Maryland in the 1970’s, winning 192 races.
- Cheryl White (eighth in ’10)—the first African-American female rider, won five races at the Fresno Fair on Oct. 19, 1983.
- Abby Fuller (new shooter)—captured the NYRA’s Filly Triple Crown in 1985 aboard Mom’s Command, a filly owned and bred by her father. Won a career-best 145 races that year.
The 2011 race will include $20,000 in bonus prizes. In addition to her earnings in the race, the winner will receive another $6,000. Other prize money: $4,000 (second), $3,000 (third), $2,500 (fourth), $1,500 (fifth) and $1,000 (sixth through eighth). Pimlico will match the amount wagered on the 2011 winner and make a contribution to Komen Maryland.
While the 2011 The People’s Pink Party welcomes back many traditions established in 2010, it will also add a new one, a Jockey’s Challenge featuring six of the world’s top female jockeys competing in four races with points awarded based upon their finish.
The jockey with the most points at the end of a four-race competition will be crowned champion. Riding assignments are determined by a drawing Sunday, May 15, and jockeys receive points for finishing first (12 points), second (6), third (4) and fourth (3) in each race. The champion jockey will earn $10,000. Other prize money: $7,000 (second), $6,000 (third), $4,000 (fourth), $2,000 (fifth) and $1,000 (sixth).
The six riders who agreed to take part are in alphabetical order:
- Vicky Baze—ranks fourth all-time with 1,997 wins (thru Feb. 27, 2011). Won more than 200 races twice (1986 & 1993) and retired in 2001. Returned as a full-time rider in 2009 and won 152 races a year ago.
- Forest Boyce—Maryland’s leading rider in 2010 as an apprentice. Runner-up for Eclipse Award after a 129-win year. Won 106 victories from June 29-Dec. 18 and captured the Laurel Park summer and fall riding titles.
- Rosie Napravnik—won 300 races in 2006, including 259 at Pimlico and Laurel Park. Earned her first victory at Pimlico aboard Ringofdiamonds in June 2005. Earned her 1,000th career winner in Oct. 2010 at the age of 22 and has $27 million in earnings. Currently the second leading rider in North America with 58 victories.
- Chantal Sutherland—ranked 13th in North America last year with $8.8 million in earnings and is third all-time with over $40 million. Regular rider of Mine That Bird as a two-year-old in 2008. One of the stars of the reality show “Jockeys” on Animal Planet (2009).
- Hayley Turner—the top female rider in the United Kingdom with nearly 500 career winners. The 2005 champion apprentice is now considered one of the top ten riders in the country. In 2008, became the first female rider to ride 100 UK flat race winners during a calendar year.
- Emma-Jayne Wilson—only female rider to win the Queen’s Plate, one of the three races in Canada’s Triple Crown series, when she guided Mike Fox to victory in 2007. Mounts have earned more than $37 million (fourth all-time) in just six years as a rider.
Photo source: sahracing.com
All 14 Lady Legends and Jockey Challenge riders will take part in an autograph session prior to the card.
The People’s Pink Party will welcome 87 breast cancer survivors as guests to Pimlico, where they will be honored in festivities throughout the day, including a special winners’ circle tribute, and a live performance in the Turfside Terrace section by music stars, Steel Magnolia, courtesy of WPOC 93.1, the official radio sponsor of the event. The country music duo’s debut single “Keep On Lovin’ You” peaked at number four on the charts.
In recognition of Komen Maryland’s signature shade, Pimlico will be awash in pink on Black-Eyed Susan Day. The horses and pony riders on the track will sport pink saddletowels displaying the unity logo created exclusively to commemorate the day. Additionally, with the valets and starters proudly decked in pink gear, and the colorful linens, flowers and banners blanketing Pimlico, the signature shade of pink will artfully brand the day.
Pimlico will donate to Komen Maryland 10% of all Black-Eyed Susan Turfside Terrace ticket sales, including the Friday portion of the two-day Terrace ticket. Tickets are available at www.ticketmaster.com.
The Miss Preakness Pink Warrior returns for a second consecutive year, recognizing breast cancer survivors and individuals who have made a difference in the lives of those fighting breast cancer. The winner, chosen in part through an on-line, interactive process featuring the contestant’s own stories, will be crowned Miss Preakness Pink Warrior in recognition of the popular anthem, “Pink Warrior”, celebrating the war against breast cancer, written and performed by Candy Coburn. Miss Preakness Pink Warrior will serve as the official ambassador of the Preakness, representing the Maryland Jockey Club at Preakness events throughout the week, including the presentation of the Woodlawn Vase on the storied cupola following the 136th Preakness Stakes® on Saturday, May 21.
The “Down the Stretch for SGK” Preakness 5k Race, organized by Corrigan Sports, will be run Saturday, May 14th with a new twist. In 2010, for the first time ever, runners circled the iconic track at Pimlico. This year runners will run the entire race within the grounds at Pimlico Race Course.
For more information on Pimlico Race Course and the partnership with the Maryland Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, please visit www.preakness.com.