A total of 39 jockeys will compete for their home countries in the third annual World Jockey Challenge slated for Saturday, June 25 at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino. The jockeys will compete in their regularly scheduled races with hopes of bringing in accumulative points for their home countries.
There are 10 countries represented in this year’s event, including Brazil, Panama, Cuba, Peru, Mexico, Italy, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Ireland and the United States. Mexico has the biggest representation with 17 riders hailing from that country followed by the United States, which has 10 jockeys on the team. Several of the countries only have one representative, but last year’s event was won by Panama, which only had two jockeys Albin Jimenez and Abel Lezcano who combined for three wins on the card and several seconds and thirds. The United States team was the inaugural winner in 2014.
The final outcome of the World Jockey Challenge is all dependent on finishes during the night, with first place receiving 10 points, second place awarded five points, third place pulling in three points and fourth place granted one point. One of the differences in this year’s contest is the number of races and the largest number of jockeys to compete on the International Fest card. Also, four of the 12 races are Quarter Horse races programmed as the last four races, which is unique for the event and may be the determining factor on the contest.
In addition to the World Jockey Challenge, International Fest will feature numerous samplings from some of the countries represented at the outdoor food venues. Also, the “Always Turned On” tent will be converted into a beer garden with specialty beers from around the world.
Brazilian Carnival Dancers will provide entertainment between races and four foreign-made cars will be on display, including two Mazeratis, an Alfa Romeo and a Ferrari. The evening will also include Family Fun Night activities such as face painting, a caricature artist, a bounce house and strolling entertainment.
The first race goes to post at 6:05 p.m. and the final race has an estimated post time of 11:13 p.m. The winner of the World Jockey Challenge will be determined at the conclusion of racing. All jockeys will be introduced following the third race on the card at approximately 7 p.m. carrying the flag of their country for an opening ceremony of International Fest.