Arcadia, CA (Sports Network) - It's not brag if it's fact. That's a line often heard in sports and in movies and television. It can be used by those at Santa Anita Park about the quality of the jockey colony as the racetrack begins its 75th winter/spring meeting.
"As we have in the past, we're going to have a very deep and competitive jockeys' colony this meet," said Santa Anita's Vice President of Racing, Rick Hammerle. "Going back to the days of Johnny Longden, George Woolf, Eddie Arcaro and Bill Shoemaker, Santa Anita has traditionally attracted the best riders in the world and our current jockey roster is consistent with that. We know our fans come here expecting to watch and wager on the best racing in America and they expect great riders to be a part of that."
The list of riders for the meet is led by Joel Rosario who captured the track's riding crown earlier in 2011. He then followed by claiming the title at Hollywood Park's spring/summer meet and the Del Mar meet. All told Rosario has nine riding titles from the southern California tracks.
Rafael Bejarano also has nine SoCal riding crowns since coming to the area in 2007. He won titles at Santa Anita in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
Victor Espinoza is another mainstay with nine crowns from SoCal tracks.
Two-time Eclipse Award winner Garrett Gomez goes after a third title at Santa Anita. Gomez won riding crowns at the track in the fall of 2005 and during the 2007 winter/spring meet.
Canadian-native Chantal Sutherland is back for another meet at Santa Anita. She won this year's Big 'Cap aboard Game On Dude for trainer Bob Baffert. She was aboard the four-year-old in last month's Breeders' Cup Classic, finishing second to Drosselmeyer.
Other prominent jockeys set for Santa Anita's 75th winter/spring meeting are Martin Garcia, Corey Nakatani, Martin Pedroza, Mike Smith and Joe Talamo.