11/03/2005 1:00AM

Female jocks converge on Hoosier for a cause


An ESPN commentator, Jeannine Edwards, will be a special guest of Hoosier Park on Saturday when the Anderson, Ind., track offers its fifth annual Ladies Night, featuring the Female Jockey Challenge.

Edwards will host a handicapping seminar before the races and provide commentary and interviews from the winner's circle during the six-race series of challenge races. A dozen riders from the region will be competing in the challenge.

Jaleina Farrell, the meet's leading apprentice rider with 23 wins entering this week's racing, heads the local contingent. She is joined by another apprentice, Brinda Robbins, and the leading Quarter Horse rider at this meet, Julie Veltman, who rides primarily in Michigan.

Riders based in Kentucky include Lori Wydick, apprentice Chistin Landrum, Joddie Fortner, and Bonnie Castaneda. Ohio riders coming in for the challenge include Jessica Endres, Jane Magrell, and Shelley Moran. Janice Blake from the New Jersey circuit and Kelly Spanabel from Michigan round out the list of competitors.

Riders were assigned mounts by random draw, and each challenge race received a purse boost of $1,000. Points are awarded on a 10-5-3-1 basis for first- through fourth-place finishes in the 10-horse fields.

Each of the riders is also featured in a 2006 calendar that will be sold for $10 at the track. Proceeds from the sales goes to the Susan G. Komen Foundation for breast cancer research. The Komen Foundation has been at the heart of the promotion since the inception of Ladies Night in 2001.

The Female Jockey Challenge will cover races 5 through 10 on the card and is followed by a trio of Quarter Horses races to round out a 13-race program.

Joddie Fortner will ride Devilish Niner in the series finale, a $5,000 filly-mare claimer for nonwinners of four. Trained by Leroy Hellman, Devilish Niner won her Hoosier debut here on Sept. 29 and has the front-running speed that could make her hard to catch in this well-balanced field.