Irad Ortiz Jr. will be representing the United States in the International Jockeys' Championship. (Photos by Eclipse Sportswire)
Next month, on Dec. 10, the International Jockeys’ Championship will be contested at Happy Valley Racecourse in Hong Kong. Twelve jockeys from nine different countries will compete in a series of four races on randomly selected mounts. Each race offers 12 points to the winner, six points for second, and four points for third.
The jockey with the most points after four races will win about $64,467 ($500,000 Hong Kong) and the title of IJC champion jockey.
Hong Kong has stacked the deck in its favor by allowing three riders from the host country to enter. They offer one spot to last year’s Hong Kong champion, one spot to the national leading jockey from this season and one spot to the top local rider. The U.S. sends top NYRA rider Irad Ortiz Jr., a Puerto Rico native. The UK has two riders, including top international rider Ryan Moore.
RYAN MOORE WON THE 2014 BEVERLY D. IN THE UNITED STATES EARLIER THIS YEAR
Even if Ryan Moore doesn’t get lucky enough to win the IJC top prize, he’s still a lock to win the title of World’s Best Jockey during the weeklong festival in Hong Kong. The title of World’s Best Jockey is different than the IJC champion jockey. To be named World’s Best Jockey, a rider has to accumulate the most points from starts in the top 100 races around the world.
Moore currently is comfortably in the lead with wins in the Dubai Sheema Classic, Prix du Jockey Club, Irish Champion Stakes, Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup.
Don’t discount Moore’s chances of sweeping both jockey titles next month, though. He won the IJC Champion Jockey contest twice before, in 2009 and 2010.