Officials at the New York Racing Association announced Thursday that Kendrick Carmouche has been named the recipient of the 2017 Mike Venezia Memorial Award, presented to jockeys “who exemplify extraordinary sportsmanship and citizenship.”
Carmouche, 33 and a relative newcomer to the New York circuit, was selected thorough an online fan vote at NYRA.com that closed May 16. The 2017 finalists included Joe Bravo, Javier Castellano, Rajiv Maragh and Cornelio Velasquez.
“As respected as Mike Venezia was, I was just pleased to even be nominated for the award,” said Carmouche “To be able to actually win the Venezia Award is a great honor and I’d like to thank all those who voted for me. My dad always told me, ‘respect everybody and everybody is going to respect you.’ I’m 33 years old and I can say that advice works in life. I just try to put a smile on people’s faces and make them happy. I think that’s what life is about.”
Winner of over 2900 races in his career, Carmouche has made an impact on the local riding colony, having ridden the winners of 124 races at NYRA tracks and accounting for purse money in excess of $8.2 million in 2016. Prior to 2015, Carmouche was seven times the leading rider at Parx Racing.
The first Venezia Award was given posthumously to Venezia in 1989. Recent winners include Mario Pino (2016), Jon Court (2015), Hall of Famer John Velazquez (2014) and Hall of Famer Ramon Dominguez (2013).