Puerto Rico jumped out of the gate with an early lead and never looked back, scoring their first title in the seventh annual World Jockey Challenge Thursday, June 24 at Indiana Grand. The team of jockeys from Puerto Rico bested nine total countries with the runaway win, completing the first nine races with 36 points.
The event began with a win by Joe Ramos in the first race aboard Down Home Kitten, trained by Paul Holthus. Sammy Bermudez finished second with Gamera and Jeison Gotay finishing fourth with Tuf Intensity for a total of nine points to kick off the contest. From there, Sammy Bermudez added two wins aboard Heaven Street, trained by Steve Asmussen, and Complete for trainer Kim Hammond. Jeison Gotay scored a win aboard Betcha for Genaro Garcia in the ninth race on the card to seal the title.
A total of seven jockeys represented Puerto Rico for the win. Additional jockeys on the team included Andrea Rodriguez, Orlando Mojica, Joshua Morales, and Edgar Morales. All seven jockeys contributed to the total points for their team.
Mexico finished second with 25 points followed by the United States with 17. Panama finished fourth with 16 points. Other countries participating in the annual event included Chile, Peru, Jamaica, and Ireland with all but one country getting on the board with points.
Eddie Perez, representing Mexico, earned 16 of the 25 points for his country with three wins. Quarter Horse jockey German Rodriguez also scored a win to give Mexico four wins on the day and match the win count with Puerto Rico. However, it came down to second, third and fourth place finishes by Puerto Rico to move into the lead for the title.
Other winners on the 10-race program included DeShawn Parker for Team USA and Andres Ulloa, who scored a win for Chile.
Team Puerto Rico was honored with the World Jockey Challenge trophy during a special winner’s circle presentation. The trophy is on display in the grandstand.
The 19th season of Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing is now in progress and continues through Monday, Nov. 8. Live racing is conducted at 2:25 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, with first post on Thursday set at 3:25 p.m. A special Indiana Champions Day highlighting the state’s top Thoroughbred and Quarter Horses will be held Saturday, Oct. 30, beginning at noon. More information about the 2021 racing season is available at www.caesars.com/indiana-grand.