Louisville, Kentucky (PRWEB) April 27, 2009
1971 Kentucky Derby winning jockey Gustavo Avila will be a part of the 2009 Kentucky Derby week activities as the special guest of the Jane Dempsey and the 63rd Annual Kentucky Derby Junket. Mr. Avila will travel from Caracas, Venezuela to celebrate the 38th anniversary of his Kentucky Derby win. In addition to the Kentucky Derby Junket activities, Avila will be honored in a special ceremony at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, April 29th at the Galt House Hotel & Suite's "Gallop to Glory". Avila will add his handprints in cement to this tribute to Kentucky Derby winning jockeys. Avila will be the 31st Kentucky Derby winning jockey in the exhibit.
After attending jockey school at 15 in his native Venezuela, Gustavo Avila won his first race the next year at "El Paraiso" Race Track in 1955. He first came to the United States to ride at Hialeah Race Track in Miami in 1959. Winning over 2000 races in the United States, South America, the Caribbean, Latin America, and Mexico, Gustavo was such a successful jockey that he earned the nickname of "The Monster". The "Gustavo Avila Cup" is run each year in Caracas. Gustavo retired as a jockey in 1985. He went on to be the director of a jockey school, President of the Jockey Guild in Venezuela, and spent the last 10 years as a race track judge in Caracas.
Gustavo Avila was catapulted into Kentucky Derby history with Canonero II. Foaled in Kentucky at Claiborne Farm, Canonero II was not given much of chance in the 1971 Derby. He was placed in the mutual field for betting. Canonero II, the crooked legged bay colt surprised everyone but his owner, trainer and jockey on Derby Day. Gustavo and Canonero II went on to also win the Preakness. The 1971 Belmont Stakes set the largest attendance record in its history to date but Canonero II did not win the Triple Crown.
Gustavo felt the "thrill of victory" winning the 1971 Kentucky Derby aboard Canonero II and the "agony of defeat" by finishing last in the 1972 Kentucky Derby aboard Pacallo.
Since 1947, generations of the Dempsey family have escorted thousands of people to the Kentucky Derby. Started as a two-week train trip to the Kentucky Derby, the Kentucky Derby Junket now offers 5 and 3 night tour packages to the Kentucky Derby.
In 2006, 2007, and 2008 Kentucky Derby winning jockeys Ira "Babe" Hanford (1936 Bold Venture), John Sellers (1961 Carry Back), Bill Boland (1950 Middleground) and Ray York (1954 Determined), Dave Erb (1956 Needles) and Braulio Baeza (1963 Chateaugay) were special guests of Jane Dempsey and the Kentucky Derby Junket -- see website http://www.kentuckyderbytours.com
Kentucky Derby Junket
Starting April 27, contact Jane Dempsey at the Crowne Plaza Louisville 502-367-2251 or by cell phone.
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