11/27/2010 8:23PM

Southern California riders withdraw from Portland Jockey Challenge

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PORTLAND, Ore. – Monday’s second Annual XpressBet Jockey Challenge at Portland Meadows was canceled Saturday evening when the Southern California riders scheduled to compete said they would not make the trip north.

Temperatures dipped into the 20’s in Portland last week leading to the cancellation of racing Tuesday and forcing the track to cancel after only one race Wednesday due to track conditions. But the temperatures had climbed back to the 40’s by Saturday and 45 horses worked at the track without incident Saturday morning.

Agents for Southern California-based riders Joel Rosario, David Flores, Joe Talamo, and Martin Pedroza met with Jockey Guild representative Darrell Haire and expressed concern about track conditions and the safety for the riders before withdrawing their riders from the event and contacting Portland Meadows officials.

“We’re extremely disappointed in the riders from Southern California making the decision not to come up,” said Portland Meadows assistant general manager Jerry Kohls. “I know many fans here in Portland and the Northwest were looking forward to the event.”

The XpressBet Jockey Challenge was to consist of four races matching Southern California-based riders against Portland jockeys Joe Crispin, Mark Anderson, Javier Matias, and Troy Stillwell. The competition was to offer 20,000 in prize money.

Portland Meadows plans to run its full 10-race card on Monday. The four races scheduled for the Jockey Challenge (four through seven) will be redrawn with substitute jockeys named. Horses that had been on the also-eligible list will be allowed to run, according to Portland Meadows spokesman Jason Beem.