Santa Anita Park today announced a list of five finalists for the 2009 George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award. Jockeys named were Gary Baze, Calvin Borel, Javier Castellano, David Flores and John Velazquez. The nominees will be judged by their peers, with the winner being announced in January.
The Woolf Award has been presented annually by Santa Anita since 1950 to a North American jockey who demonstrates high standards of personal and professional conduct both on and off the racetrack. The trophy is a replica of a full-size bronze statue of George Woolf that stands in the paddock at Santa Anita Park. Woolf, who was revered by his fellow riders for his riding ability, competitiveness, and professionalism, died at the age of 35 following a spill at Santa Anita.
Known as "The Iceman" becuase of his renowned cool and patience while waiting for his horse to make the right move in a race, George Woolf was one of the premier jockeys of his era. In 1935, he made history when he rode Azucar to victory in the Santa Anita Handicap - the first horse race worth $100,000.
The Woolf Award will be presented during the Santa Anita Winter/Spring meeting, which runs from Dec. 26, 2008 through Apr. 19, 2009.