Hartack Foundation to honor jockey Victor Espinoza
The Bill Hartack Charitable Foundation announced today that 2014 Kentucky Derby winning jockey Victor Espinoza is the recipient of the Hartack Memorial Award, to be presented April 2nd at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California.
The annual presentation honors the memory and lifetime achievements of Bill Hartack, one of only two jockeys to win the Kentucky Derby five times.
Espinoza, did it the hard way, ascending from jockey school in his native Mexico City in 1992 all the way to leading apprentice at the former Bay Meadows Racetrack and Golden Gate Fields. That was followed by a successful move to Southern California, where he has been leading rider multiple times at all the major meets. Espinoza had an outstanding 2014 winning his second Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes aboard Horse of the Year California Chrome, and was the regular pilot for two other Eclipse champions, American Pharaoh and Take Charge Brandi.
The Hartack Foundation will also recognize trainer Art Sherman with the “Neiman” award. The award recognizes Thoroughbred trainers for their commitment and contributions to the racing industry. At the age of 77 Art Sherman became the oldest trainer to win the Kentucky Derby. He began his career as a stable hand. He was the exercise rider for the 1955 Kentucky Derby winner Swaps and 1956 Kentucky Derby entrant Terrang. In 1957, Sherman became a licensed jockey. He began training horses in 1979. Prior to becoming the trainer of California Chrome, Sherman had trained ten graded stakes winners and is credited with over 2,100 wins. He was hired to train California Chrome in 2013. Leading up to the 2014 Kentucky Derby, Sherman had conditioned the horse through four consecutive wins, and California Chrome entered the Derby as the favorite and won. Two weeks later, California Chrome also won the 2014 Preakness Stakes. California Chrome won 2 Eclipse Awards and is the 2014 Horse of the Year .
Derby Dollars Contest – The Neiman award is named for Hartack Foundation founding board member LeRoy Neiman (1921-2012) who passed away at the age of 91. Neiman, a long-time friend of Bill Hartack, was one of America’s most popular artists known for his brilliantly colored, impressionistic sketches of sporting events and the international high life. In popularity, Mr. Neiman rivaled American favorites like Norman Rockwell, Grandma Moses and Andrew Wyeth.
Hartack Contributions to Benefit City of Hope – Contributions from this year’s Hartack Event will benefit City of Hope, a comprehensive cancer treatment center located in Los Angeles. The charity was selected by Victor Espinoza who, after visiting the center more than 10 years ago, was deeply impacted by the children being treated there and pledged to regularly donate approximately 10% of his earnings to the facility. City of Hope was founded in 1913 and is one of 41 National Cancer Institute designated comprehensive cancer centers in the United States. The center focuses on patient centered care and clinical research, and is a founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.