Turfway Park will host the first-ever BCTC International Catch A Riding Star challenge race this Saturday, March 23, featuring top riders who have attended racing schools in the United States and around the world.
Designed to promote racing industry career and technical schools, the race also will add an international flair to the Florence, Ky. Thoroughbred racetrack’s premier afternoon of racing, Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral Stakes day.
Journeyman and apprentice jockeys scheduled to ride for Team World hail from Germany, France, India, Puerto Rico, Sweden, and Panama. Most are graduates of racing schools in their home countries. Team USA features journeymen and apprentices from across the country, most of whom attended the North American Racing Academy (NARA), based at Bluegrass Community and Technical College (BCTC) in Lexington, Ky.
Awards will be given both to the winning rider and to the team that earns the most points as determined by finish positions.
As an added benefit, both Turfway Park and the Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (KYHBPA) have agreed to donate their shares of the pari-mutuel commissions on the race, known as takeout, to help support NARA’s team of “equine mentors,” a group of 15 to 20 off-the-track Thoroughbred racehorses that give NARA students important hands-on training.
In 2006 NARA became the first accredited professional jockey school in the United States. Since then, NARA has expanded its role and now serves as an overall workforce provider to the racing and breeding industries. NARA provides classroom and online courses that result in either a two-year associate degree or one-year certificates that focus on the riding, care, and training of the racehorse.
TEAM USA - Ben Creed (captain, Kentucky), Matt Straight (New York), Natalie Turner (Kentucky), Adam Bowman (Pennsylvania), Mallory Strandberg (Washington), and Rodney Prescott (Kentucky).
TEAM WORLD - Mathieu Adam (captain, France), Martin Seidl (Germany), Aparna Das Battula (India), Fabienne De Geer (Sweden), Roberto Morales (Puerto Rico), Alexander Castillo (Panama), and Marcelino Pedroza Jr. (Panama).
The BCTC International Catch A Riding Star challenge race will be the sixth of 12 races on a day highlighted by the $550,000 Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral Stakes (G3) and $100,000 Fathead Bourbonette Oaks (G3), respectively designated points races on the road to the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks, and the $75,000 Team Valor International Rushaway Stakes (listed). The card will be broadcast by TVG and additional coverage on selected races will be provided by Horse Racing Radio Network.