11/27/2013 12:09PM

Scott Stevens, Gryder among Woolf finalists


Five veteran jockeys, including Scott Stevens – the older brother and early mentor of Hall of Fame rider Gary Stevens – and Aaron Gryder, whose major wins include the Dubai World Cup and the Breeders’ Cup Marathon, are the finalists for the 2014 George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award, it was announced on Wednesday by Santa Anita.

The other finalists are David Amiss, Dennis Carr, and Corey Lanerie, who, like Gryder and Stevens, are respected veterans with more than 20 years of experience each.

The Woolf Award is presented by Santa Anita, but is held in conjunction with the Jockeys’ Guild, which polls its members to determine a winner. The Woolf Award, presented annually since 1950 and named in memory of a celebrated rider who died in an accident at Santa Anita in 1946, recognizes jockeys whose on-track careers and personal character are held in high esteem by their peers.
Mario Pino and Ramon Dominguez are the two most-recent recipients.

The winner is scheduled to be announced on HRTV in January, and the acceptance ceremonies are usually held in March, at Santa Anita.

Stevens, 53, began riding in 1976 at his native Idaho’s Les Bois Park, and has won 4,261 races in a career that has frequently been interrupted by significant injuries. His circuit currently includes Turf Paradise, where he has won six riding titles, and Canterbury Park, where he also has been leading rider. Stevens’s younger brother Gary has frequently cited Scott as his inspiration for pursuing a career that has brought Gary Stevens, a prior Woolf winner, to racing’s Hall of Fame.

Gryder, 43, a native of Southern California, has traveled extensively throughout a career that began in 1987. Based again in Southern California, he has won 3,644 races, most notably the 2009 Dubai World Cup on Well Armed and the 2012 BC Marathon on Calidoscopio.

Amiss, 48, rides regularly at Suffolk Downs in Boston, and often spends the winter at Tampa Bay Downs. He has been primarily based in New England since beginning his career at New Hampshire’s Rockingham Park in 1986. This past summer, he won the 1,000th race of his career. He has now won 1,069 races.

Carr, who turns 45 on Friday, began his career in New York in 1987, but has been based in the San Francisco Bay Area in recent years, and is always among the leading riders there. He has won 2,719 races.

Lanerie, 39, is a native of New Orleans whose circuit includes his hometown Fair Grounds as well as Churchill Downs. He has won 3,519 races in a career that began in 1991. Lanerie has been the leading rider at Churchill Downs, Ellis Park, Lone Star, Sam Houston, and Retama.