ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 27, 2020)–America’s second leading rider by races won in 2019, Puerto Rican native Luis M. Quinones, a mainstay at racetracks such as Mahoning Valley Racecourse and Thistledown in Ohio, as well as at Mountaineer Park in West Virginia, has been selected by a nationwide vote of his peers as the winner of the prestigious 2020 George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award, presented annually by Santa Anita since 1950.
The Woolf Award, which can be won only once, recognizes those riders whose careers and personal character garner esteem for the individual and the sport of Thoroughbred racing. The Woolf trophy is a replica of the life-sized statue of legendary Hall of Fame jockey George Woolf, which adorns Santa Anita’s Paddock Gardens area.
Quinones, 41, outpolled a group of five highly respected finalists that included veteran riders Tyler Baze, Javier Castellano, Chris Emigh and James Graham.
“It’s a great honor just to be on the ballot for this award,” said Quinones. “Winning the Woolf Award is incredible. I’m looking forward to coming out there and I know this is something I will never forget.”
In winning the award, Quinones joins a fraternity that includes some the greatest riders in the history of the sport as he follows last year’s Woolf winner, Scott Stevens.
A major force at both Mahoning Valley, near Youngstown and Thistledown, on the outskirts of Cleveland, Quinones had a tremendous year in 2019, as he won 314 races from 1,331 mounts, finishing second nationally to Eclipse Champion Irad Ortiz, Jr., who had 324 winners.
A married father of three daughters, Quinones, who has nearly 2,000 career winners, has built a solid reputation that far exceeds his ability to win races according to his longtime agent Billy Johnson.
“His personality and work ethic are as good as anybody,” Johnson told Chelsea Hackbarth of the Paulick Report in January. “…Anybody can work hard, but trainers don’t want to put up with riders who have a bad attitude. Every horse he rides, Luis tries to find something about the horse that might help it improve for its next start…Even when he loses, he tries to find something positive about the horse.”
Quinones will be at Santa Anita to accept the Woof Award in a Winner’s Circle ceremony on Sunday, March 22.