[03/19/09 - 01:02 PM]
Animal Planet Advances to the Starting Gate for Season Two of Docu-Drama Jockeys
Seven new episodes - featuring two new jockeys - will roll out this summer.

[via press release from Animal Planet]

Animal Planet Advances to the Starting Gate for Season Two of Docu-Drama JOCKEYS

- Go Go Luckey Wins Seven Episode Order for This Summer -

SILVER SPRING, Md., MARCH 19 -- Animal Planet announces the return of JOCKEYS, the network's popular docu-drama that introduced viewers to the high-stakes world of horse racing. The freshman season, which crossed the finish line March 13, brought Animal Planet viewers into the lives of seven jockeys who raced at the pristine Santa Anita Race Track during a renowned 30-day Oak Tree Meet.

On the hooves of the successful first season, which brought in more than 9.2 million unique viewers (P2+), Animal Planet boasts a second season order of seven hour-long episodes set to premiere late this summer.

"It's our goal in the second season to bring viewers even deeper into the exciting, challenging and complex lives of the jockeys," says Marjorie Kaplan, President and General Manager of Animal Planet. "Hour-long episodes give us a broader palette to do so and to create a richer experience of the whole world of racing, horses and the track."

For the sophomore season, the network, in conjunction with entertainment production house Go Go Luckey, brings back six of the jockeys previously featured and introduces viewers to two new jockeys who are at the height of their careers.

New Jockeys:

Garrett Gomez - Top-ranked jockey Garrett Gomez is at the height of his career at 38, having outperformed all jockeys throughout the nation to earn him the coveted "Jockey of the Year" title this year. Gomez knows he's good, and his ferocity for victory shows through each race.

Corey Nakatani - Previously injured Corey Nakatani is among Santa Anita's best competitors, known for being fiery and unpredictable. At 38, he boasts seven Breeders' Cup victories.

Returning Jockeys:

Chantal Sutherland - At 33, Canadian jockey star Chantal Sutherland is a woman who's dominating the tracks. And, because she's dating fellow jockey Mike Smith, it puts her in direct competition with the man she loves.

Mike Smith - Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith is a living legend and a fan favorite. At 48, his fierce riding style and stringent pre-race ritual has earned him a shaman-like reputation among fellow jockeys. He leads all current riders in terms of wins from Breeders' Cup victories and continues to be a threat to fellow jocks.

Kayla Stra - Fresh-faced 24-year-old Kayla Stra was racing gold in her native land of Australia, but she struggled to make a name for herself in her first season at Santa Anita. Only time will tell how far she can take her career in the US.

Alex Solis - Alex Solis bounced back after a broken back injury nearly took his life. At 47, he's been to the winner's circle more than 4,000 times, and it's a possibility that he'll be inducted into the Jockey Hall of Fame this year.

Joe Talamo - Nineteen-year-old Joe Talamo may be young, but he already has taken the racing world by storm earning nearly $4 million in purse money in one racing season. In 2009 alone, he's had more than 250 starts (mounts) and currently is ranked #11 in terms of purse winnings.

Aaron Gryder - Aaron Gryder is credited with more than 3,000 career wins and is motivated to support his family. At 38, he's ridden in two Breeders' Cups and holds leading rider titles at major tracks including Aquaduct, Churchill Downs, Hollywood Park and Arlington Park.

*Jockey Jon Court departs in the first episode of season two as he makes his way to the racetrack in Kentucky.

"The addition of Gomez and Nakatani will round out a class of jockeys whose professional and personal stories will pull viewers further into the enticing world of horse racing," says Jason Carey, executive producer at Animal Planet. "We hope that viewers will not only connect with the intense love of competition apparent in these athletes, but also appreciate the relationships the jockeys share with each other and with the horses they partner with in every thrilling victory."

This season, viewers also can expect to see more of professional handicapper (gambler) Jimmy the Hat and West Coast Regional Manager of the Jockeys' Guild Darrell Haire.

The first season of JOCKEYS will be available for $19.95 at discoverystore.com and select retailers starting June 30.

Jason Carey is executive producer for Animal Planet on JOCKEYS. Liz Bronstein, Tina Gazzerro and Gary Auerbach are executive producers for Go Go Luckey.

Animal Planet Media (APM), a multi-media business unit of Discovery Communications, is the world's only entertainment brand that immerses viewers in the full range of life in the animal kingdom with rich, deep content via multiple platforms and offers animal lovers and pet owners access to a centralized online, television and mobile community for immersive, engaging, high-quality entertainment, information and enrichment. APM consists of the Animal Planet television network, available in more than 95 million homes in the US; online assets www.animalplanet.com, the ultimate online destination for all things animal; the 24/7 broadband channel, Animal Planet Beyond; Petfinder.com, the #1 pet-related Web property globally that facilitates pet adoption; and other media platforms including a robust Video-on-Demand (VOD) service; mobile content; and merchandising extensions.

  [march 2009]  


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