CLEVELAND, OHIO, April 19, 2011 – Jason Lumpkins, a force among Thistledown jockeys in the 1990s, will move his tack back to the Northern Ohio track for the 2011 meet. According to his agent, Mitch Reed, Lumpkins will ride primarily for leading trainers Tim Hamm and Joe Woodard.

Lumpkins won 11 individual meet titles at Thistledown from 1992 through 1999 and led all riders at the track across the year four times, in 1993 and from 1997 through 1999. He owns 20 stakes wins at Thistledown, most recently the 2010 John W. Galbreath Stakes with Startin Something and Best of Ohio Distaff with Slides Choice.

After launching his career in West Virginia and Ohio, Lumpkins moved his tack to California, where he finished second in 2000-01 and third in 2001-02 at Golden Gate and second in 2001 and 2002 at Bay Meadows behind perennial leader Russell Baze. He moved to the Kentucky circuit in 2003 and topped the Turfway Park winter/spring standings with a then-record 111 wins. After difficulty breaking into the ranks at Keeneland and Churchill that year, Lumpkins returned to California. He sustained ligament damage to an ankle in an on-track accident at Bay Meadows, forcing a six-month hiatus, and returned to riding at Canterbury in 2008 only to suffer an injury to a thumb during opening week that put him out of action again. The injuries and some family issues led Lumpkins to sit out most of 2008 and 2009.

“I love my job and I want my career back,” said Lumpkins, who returned to riding in 2010. “I’m looking for a new start. I took some time off, which I thought was best for me, and it gave me time to heal. Thistledown has always treated me well, and Ohio is my home, so I’m looking to continue my comeback here.”

Lumpkins rode briefly in Saudi Arabia early in his career and has ridden at most of the major tracks in the United States, earning meet titles at Mountaineer in 1989 and 1990 and at California’s Pleasanton meet in 2002. To date he has 2,550 career wins, a 19 percent win rate. Among his 85 stakes wins are nine graded events, the first coming in the 2001 San Francisco Breeders’ Cup Mile (G2) at Bay Meadows. His mounts have earned more than $32 million.

Now 41, Lumpkins was born in West Virginia and grew up in Maryland. He got his first taste of racing when he sneaked under Pimlico’s fences to walk hots for trainers Richard Dutrow Sr. and Grover “Bud” Delp. Seeing his potential as a jockey, Dutrow, Delp, and jockey Benny Feliano Sr. sent him to work at Bonita Farms, a leading Maryland Thoroughbred operation. His first winner, Su Ling Yourself, was owned by sportscasting legend Jim McKay.