Pat Day, Hall of Fame Jockey
Pat Day is the all-time leading rider at Louisville’s historic Churchill Downs and at Keeneland in Lexington—the two largest horse racing tracks in Kentucky. Since recording his first win at Prescott Downs in Arizona in July 1973, Day has won the Eclipse Award as North America’s outstanding jockey four times. In the summer of 1997, he became only the fourth rider in history to notch 7,000 career victories. His Triple Crown record is equally impressive: He has finished either first or second with 18 of his 45 classic mounts.
Day has won numerous riding titles all over the country. He scored his 8,000th career victory aboard Camden Park on May 31, 2001 at Churchill Downs, following Laffit Pincay Jr. and Bill Shoemaker to that plateau. The numerous champions and classic winners he has piloted include Easy Goer, Lady’s Secret, Unbridled, Summer Squall, Tabasco Cat, Paradise Creek, Turkoman, and Timber Country. Day captured the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Classic in 1984 aboard Wild Again and has since won that race with Awesome Again and Cat Thief.
After undergoing hip surgery that forced him to miss the Kentucky Derby for the first time in 21 years, Day announced his retirement on August 3, 2005. During his 32-year career, he rode 8,804 winners, fourth on the all-time list, and set a North American record for prize money won with nearly $298 million.
Day and his family live in Crestwood, a suburb of Louisville.
Quick facts about Pat Day:
- In 2004, Day was ranked 11th nationally in money won with $7,963,343. He had 124 wins from 596 starts.
- Day was inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in 1991.
- Day is the top money-winning jockey in Breeders’ Cup history with $22,913,360 and is the only jockey to have ridden in all of the first 20 Breeders’ Cups. He has the second most victories in Breeders’ Cup history with 12 in 112 rides.
- Day has 9 Triple Crown victories: one Kentucky Derby with Lil E. Tee (1992); five Preakness Stakes, with Tank’s Prospect (1985), Summer Squall (1990), Tabasco Cat (1994), Timber Country (1995), and Louis Quatorze (1996); and three Belmont Stakes, with Easy Goer (1989), Tabasco Cat (1994), and Commendable (2000).
- Day set the North American lifetime earnings record on August 10, 2002, surpassing Chris McCarron, when he won the Sword Dancer Invitational Handicap aboard With Anticipation.
Another KET interview with Pat Day is also available online. His half-hour One to One conversation with host Bill Goodman covers both Day’s amazing career and the importance of religious faith in his life.
- Program 105
- The Muhammad Ali Center, Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day, the Festival of Faiths, Louisville historian Tom Owen, and the Lewis & Clark Homecoming. (#105)