12/07/2016 12:06PM

Leparoux among five finalists for Woolf Memorial Jockey Award

Barbara D. Livingston
Jockey Julien Leparoux

Kerwin Clark, Stewart Elliott, Julien Leparoux, Glen Murphy, and Scott Stevens are the finalists for the 2017 Santa Anita George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award, the track announced Wednesday.

The winner will be announced in February after a vote by jockeys throughout the nation. The award recognizes a rider for achievement in the saddle and for personal character. The winner will receive the award at a ceremony at Santa Anita in late winter or spring.

Clark, 56, won the $1 million Kentucky Oaks on Lovely Maria in 2015. A Louisiana native, Clark began riding at Fair Grounds in 1976. Through Tuesday, Clark had 2,997 career wins. He currently rides at Delta Downs.

Elliott, 51, is well known for winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 2004 on Smarty Jones. Elliott has won 4,707 races through Tuesday and is a fixture on the Southern California circuit.

Leparoux, 33, is the youngest of the nominees. The Eclipse Award winner as champion apprentice jockey in 2006, Leparoux won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita last month aboard Classic Empire. Leparoux is currently riding at Gulfstream Park and has won 10 riding titles at Keeneland. Through Tuesday, he had 2,329 wins.

Murphy, 50, has been a fixture in New Mexico since his first career win in 1984. Murphy, who has not ridden since October, has won 3,047 Thoroughbred races and 3,169 races on all breeds.

Stevens, 55, is currently riding at Turf Paradise and has had a presence there and at Canterbury Park in recent years. A member of the Idaho Racing Hall of Fame, Stevens has won 4,620 races on Thoroughbreds and 4,781 races on all breeds.

Stevens was the leading rider at the 2015-16 Turf Paradise meeting, his eighth riding title there. Through Tuesday, Stevens, the older brother of Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, was second in the standings at the Turf Paradise meeting.

The Woolf Award is named in honor of the famous rider of the 1940s who died of injuries suffered in a spill at Santa Anita in 1946.