Tuesday, September 29, 2009 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . September 29, 2009 . . . Six graduates of the North American Racing Academy (NARA) will compete in an exhibition race at Turfway Park on Friday, October 2. Post time for the 5 1/2-furlong race is 6:20pm, about 40 minutes before the start of the track's evening card. No wagers will be taken on the exhibition.
This is the second year Turfway has hosted an exhibition race for the academy, the only school of its kind in the United States. Competing will be Kristina McManigell of Georgetown, Ky.; Ben Creed of Taylorsville, Ky., Matthew Straight of East Greenbush, NY; Katherine Peddicord of Cincinnati; Ryan Pacheco of Toronto; and Claire Scholly of Buckhead, Ga.
"We are so excited to be back at Turfway for the second annual North American Racing Academy graduation race," said the academy's founder and executive director, Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron. "Six of our outstanding graduates will be competing on the real stage."
Horses entered in the exhibition are trained by Eduardo Caramori or Matt Frazier.
Established in 2006, the North American Racing Academy is located in Lexington at the Kentucky Horse Park and the Thoroughbred Center. The school is one of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System's Centers of Excellence, with its students enrolled in and graduating from Bluegrass Community and Technical College. Currently 27 students are enrolled in the jockey pathway, 11 in their first year and 16 in their second year. An additional six students are following the horsemen’s pathway, which prepares students for careers in training, farm management, and other aspects of the industry.
NARA has graduated 16 students to date. Eight have gone on to riding careers, with two more set to begin soon.
McCarron twice won the Kentucky Derby, with Alysheba in 1987 and Go for Gin in 1994. He owns five wins in the Breeders' Cup Classic, aboard Alysheba (1988), Sunday Silence (1989), Alphabet Soup (1996), and Tiznow (2000 and 2001), and was the regular rider for the legendary gelding John Henry. McCarron retired in 2002 with 7,141 career wins, sixth on the all-time win list, and was inducted into the National Racing Hall of Fame in 1989, his first year of eligibility.
In 1987 McCarron teamed with his wife, Judy, and actor/comedian Tim Conway to form the Don MacBeth Memorial Fund in support of disabled jockeys. He was honored with the George Woolf Memorial Award in 1980 and the Mike Venezia Memorial Award in 1991 and in 2008 received the Joe Palmer award from the National Turf Writers’ Association for meritorious contributions to the racing industry. McCarron also served as the race designer and played the role of Charlie Kurtsinger, War Admiral's jockey, in the movie Seabiscuit.