Five of the country’s most renowned jockeys – Javier Castellano, John Velazquez, Joel Rosario, Edgar Prado and Joe Bravo – will return to Gulfstream Park Monday, July 1 to celebrate the opening-day program of the summer meet according to a Gulfstream Park press release.
The five jockeys will ride during the program and will also greet fans and sign autographs and memorabilia. Gulfstream will present the riders with a $20,000 donation to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.
Castellano is the two-time defending Gulfstream champion, while Velazquez and Prado have both won two riding titles at the Hallandale Beach track. Velazquez rode Orb to victory this winter in the $1 million Besilu Stables Florida Derby while Prado has won the Florida Derby three times, most notably aboard Barbaro in 2006. Both Velazquez and Prado are members of the Hall of Fame.
Rosario finished second in the riding standings this winter and rode Orb to victory in the 2013 Kentucky Derby. Bravo is one of Gulfstream’s most popular riders and has been a perennial leading rider in Florida and New Jersey.
“Not only are these five of the top riders in our sport, but they are leaders in raising awareness and financial assistance to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund,” said Gulfstream President Tim Ritvo. “We’re honored to continue our partnership with these great athletes. We’re excited about having them here on what will be a memorable afternoon at Gulfstream.”
The Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF) is a 501(c)(3) public charity that provides financial assistance to some 60 former jockeys who have suffered catastrophic on-track injuries. Since its founding in 2006, the fund has disbursed over $3 million to permanently disabled jockeys, most of whom have sustained paralysis or brain injuries.
Many exciting horse racing events have happened at Gulfstream Park including –
The 1955 Kentucky Derby winner and Horse of the Year Swaps set a then world-record of 1:39 3/5 for a mile and 70 yards while carrying 130 pounds in the Broward Handicap.
The following year was just as exciting at Gulfstream when Gen. Duke equaled the world record of 1:46 4/5 in defeating Bold Ruler in the Florida Derby.
In 1980, Hall of Fame rider Angel Cordero Jr. set a meeting record with 60 winners.
In 1989 Gulfstream Park hosted the Breeders’ Cup for the first time (which it did again in 1992 and 1999).
Trainer Todd Pletcher started his unprecedented run of nine consecutive training titles in 2004.
Tags: Angel Cordero Jr, Breeders' Cup, Edgar Prado, Florida Derby, Gulfstream Park, Hall of Fame, Hallandale Beach, Horse of the Year, Javier Castellano, jockeys, Joe Bravo, Joel Rosario, John Velazquez, Kentucky Derby, Kentucky Derby winner, Orb, Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, Swaps, Todd Pletcher