ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

A Look at Legendary Jockey Pat Day!

Updated on January 2, 2013

Over the decades, thoroughbred horse racing has seen some terrific horses come and go. Secretariat, Man O’ War, Seabiscuit, Affirmed and so many other legends come to mind, but often times we overlook the men who were aboard these magnificent animals when they were at the height of their greatness. The men, who are small in physical stature, but loom large in the history of racing, are not often the focus of our attention as we take a look back through history. There have been some talented people saddling up, including Laffit Pincay, Willie Shoemaker, and George Woolf among many others. Today we are going to take a look at the career of Pat Day, who was one of the most dominant and popular jockey’s, not only in his heyday of the 80’s and 90’s, but also in the history of horse racing.

Day was born in Colorado in October of 1953 and began his love for sports at an early age. Though he was small, he had a very competitive appetite and it showed as he was a state wrestling champion while in high school. That competitive spirit drew him to horses and for a short time, he actually took to riding in rodeos before moving on to a somewhat less dangerous occupation riding thoroughbreds. Day won his first race at Prescott Downs in Arizona in 1973 and began a career that was both illustrious and profitable.

Day eventually adopted Kentucky as his home, both professionally and personally, becoming a legend at Churchill Downs in Louisville and Keeneland in nearby Lexington. He was a fan favorite and is the all-time leading jockey at Churchill Downs. He was so successful and dominant that it didn’t matter what horse he was on, the bettors would line up to smack down large amounts, even with diminished returns from the heavy betting that accompanied a wager on Day.

Early in his career, Day suffered from the excesses of being at the pinnacle of his profession as he took to drugs and alcohol, but was able to beat those demons as he became a “born again” Christian in the 1980’s and rededicated himself to his family and his work. During the decade of the 80’s he began to show dominance as he recorded wins in 14 major racing events, including a day at Arlington in 1989 where he won eight of the nine races on the card, which was a North American record. The 1990’s were also great for Day. He won his only Kentucky Derby riding long shot Lil E. Tee in 1992, took the Preakness Stakes four times and was aboard a Breeders’ Cup winner seven times. Day also held his own into the decade of the 2000’s with wins in the Kentucky Oaks and Belmont Stakes, but a hip injury caused him to end his career in 2005.

Overall, Pat Day has a dazzling career record, winning four Eclipse Awards and being inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1991. He was the leading jockey in wins and/or earnings eight times, while winning 8,804 career races (4th all-time) with winnings at nearly $298 million (1st all-time). He won a combined nine times in Triple Crown races, taking the Preakness in three consecutive years (’94, ’95, ’96), and when he retired he had amassed over $23 million in winnings at the Breeders’ Cup. Day continues to be one of the most recognizable people in all of horse racing and was truly a giant in his profession.

An Interview With Hall of Famer Pat Day!


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)