Five finalists were named Wednesday for the Santa Anita George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award, and the winner will be announced in February following a nationwide vote by jockeys.
Jockeys Alex Birzer, Javier Castellano, Jose Ferrer, Rodney Prescott and Joe Talamo are the finalists for the prestigious trophy that has been presented annually by Santa Anita since 1950.
The Woolf Award, which can only be won once, is presented each year to a rider whose career and personal character earn esteem for the individual and the sport of Thoroughbred racing. The trophy awarded to the winner is a replica of the life-sized statue of legendary jockey George Woolf which graces Santa Anita’s Paddock Gardens area.
Woolf, who died at the age of 35 following a spill on Santa Anita’s Club House turn on January 3, 1946, was regarded as one of the top big-money riders of his era. Known affectionately as “The Iceman,” he was revered by his colleagues, members of the media and fans across America as a fierce competitor and consummate professional who was at his best when the stakes were high.