From The Blood-Horse

CARPE DIEM - Claiborne Breeders' Futurity Gr I - 10-04-14 - R08 - KEE - John VelazquezHall of Fame jockey John Velazquez will join an all-star cast of riders for the Turkish International Jockey Challenge on Wednesday, July 15, at Istanbul’s Veliefendi Racecourse.

Also to compete are Richard Hughes (Great Britain), Mirco Demuro (Italy), Kevin Manning (Ireland), and Pierre-Charles Boudot (France) in taking on a team of leading local riders in the four-race challenge.

U.S. wagering company Xpressbet is an official partner of The Jockey’s Guild in the U.S. and is sponsoring Velazquez to promote U.S. racing for the company, according to a press release.

Velazquez is eager to participate in the event.

“It’s a great honor to be asked to participate in the International Jockey Challenge and I am looking forward to helping to promote U.S. racing on Xpressbet’s behalf while I’m there,” said the rider, who is chairman of the Guild and North America’s all-time leading money-earning jockey,

“By supporting an event like the International Jockey Challenge, we are able to introduce one of our leading jockeys to a group of incredibly passionate racing fans and horseplayers,” Xpressbet pesident Ron Luniewski said. “We wish Johnny the best in Turkey, and we’re pulling for him to bring the trophy home to the United States.”

In 2014 and 2013, Xpressbet sponsored Javier Castellano’s participation in the event, while in 2012, Cornelio Velasquez became the first U.S.-based rider to win the competition.

For more information about the challenge, click here.