Sports

HORSE RACING: Gallyn Mitchell finalist for 2010 George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award

Gallyn Mitchell wins the 2009 edition of the Longacres Mile aboard Assessment.  - Photo courtesy Emerald Downs
Gallyn Mitchell wins the 2009 edition of the Longacres Mile aboard Assessment.
— image credit: Photo courtesy Emerald Downs

Emerald Downs jockey Gallyn Mitchell has been recognized as one of five finalists for the 2010 George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award

The announcement was made at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif.

Mitchell, an Enumclaw resident and Emerald's all-time leading rider with 1,173 wins and $11,860,479 in purses, joins Garrett Gomez, Calvin Borel, Randall Meier and DeShawn Parker as finalists for one of horse racing's most prestigious awards. The 2010 Woolf Award will mark the 61st consecutive year that Santa Anita has presented the award to a jockey whose career and personal character earn esteem for the individual and the sport of thoroughbred racing.

"It's a great honor and privilege to be among the finalists," Mitchell said. "I'm proud to be considered by my colleagues for this award."

Mitchell, 47, began riding in 1981 and has been a fixture at Emerald Downs since the track opened in 1996. He has finished among the top five riders all 14 seasons including riding titles in 1999 and 2000. In 2009, Mitchell had one of his best seasons yet, finishing second with 114 wins and hanging up a picture-perfect ride on Horse of the Meeting Assessment in the 74th running of the $300,000 Longacres Mile, Grade III.

"We thought it was long overdue that Gallyn Mitchell was recognized for his contributions to the sport of horse racing," said Santa Anita Publicity Director Mike Willman, who heads the committee that selects the Woolf Award finalists. "Gallyn's accomplishments on the track, and his work ethic and attitude make him a richly deserving candidate."

Jockeys across America will vote to determine the Woolf Award winner, with the winning presentation scheduled for March at Santa Anita. The winner's trophy is a replica of the life-size statue of George Woolf, which adorns Santa Anita's Paddock Gardens area. The statue was created through donations from the racing public after Woolf's death which followed a spill at Santa Anita on Jan. 13, 1946. Woolf, who was regarded as one of the nation's top big-money jockeys, was affectionately known as "The Iceman," and was revered by both his colleagues and members of the media as a fierce competitor and consummate professional.

Mitchell, who broke won his first race Jan 29,1981 at Santa Anita, has amassed 2,437 career wins and $18,172,082 in lifetime earnings. Born Aug. 15, 1962 in Denver, Colorado, Gallyn and wife Denise have three children, Cody, Samantha and Jaclyn. Denise also works as Gallyn's agent.

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