02/24/2015 12:20PM

Mike Luzzi named winner of Woolf Award


Mike Luzzi on Tuesday was officially announced as the winner of the 2015 George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award, which is voted on by members of the Jockeys’ Guild and presented by Santa Anita to a rider who has conducted himself in exemplary manner both on and off the track.

Luzzi, 45, outpolled four other finalists – James Graham, Leslie Mawing, Corey Nakatani, and Rosie Napravnik, who retired last November.

A native of Delaware, Luzzi began his career in the Mid-Atlantic region before moving in 1994 to New York, where he has been based year-round for the past two decades. He has won 3,420 races, including the 1991 Brooklyn Handicap with Timely Warning, who was trained by his grandfather, Buddy Raines.

In a rare visit to Santa Anita, in 1998, Luzzi won the Malibu Stakes with Run Man Run. One of his biggest career wins came in the 2002 Coaching Club American Oaks on Jilbab. Other major wins for Luzzi include the 2006 Apple Blossom on Spun Sugar, and the 2007 Cigar Mile on Daaher, a full brother to Spun Sugar.

Luzzi won the Eclipse Award as outstanding apprentice in 1989, and in 2001 was presented with the Mike Venezia Memorial Award, New York’s counterpart to the Woolf Award.

Luzzi has not ridden since November, when he suffered a broken leg and fractured pelvis in an accident in the paddock at Aqueduct.

He is expected to travel to Santa Anita in either March or April to accept the award, with the date yet to be determined, according to a Santa Anita press release.

Woolf, a Hall of Fame jockey, might be best known for riding Seabiscuit to victory in the 1938 Pimlico Special, the match race with War Admiral. He was killed in a riding accident at Santa Anita in 1946.