Jockeys - Final
three tiers for these 4 legendary riders ... a fitting group to finish off the judging 👍
"King of the Spa" tier:
Angel Cordero Jr. - 13 pts.
one of the most celebrated athletes around these ways, Cordero was loved and worshipped by many, not only for his Puerto Rican ancestry, but for booting home tons of winners for just about every horse player i knew of when i was growing up ... if Arcaro was the Joe D of racing, Cordero was the Roberto Clemente - when ya see murals of a jockey it's pretty special - nothing short of mythical status for this cat.
the summer Saratoga meet is the epicenter of New York racing, if not the entire world ... hearing that some 20 years after his retirement he’s still known as ‘The King of Saratoga’ says all you need to know about Angel Cordero Jr. - meets at the Spa draw the best the game has to offer, and he crushed it.
one of the most fiercely competitive riders in the sport’s history, Cordero was a ##### to beat in a $10,000 claimer or a $100,000 stakes. while most of New York’s top riders in his era had bonds with the powerful, established stables, Cordero rode for anyone who could put him on a sharp horse.
when those barns needed a rider for a major stakes, they didn’t hesitate to enlist Cordero, especially at Saratoga.
‘The King’ won a still unrivaled 14 Saratoga riding titles, including 11 straight during a spectacular run from 1976-1986.
won the Kentucky Derby in 1976 with Bold Forbes and 1985 with Spend a Buck and posted two wins in the Preakness, including his controversial 1980 victory with Codex over the filly Genuine Risk, and one in the Belmont.
his excellence at the Spa is a most remarkable achievement - that alone merits him a spot among the greatest ever -
to quote wikkid in his selection:
"The first NASCAR jockey. There've been better horsemen in the saddle, but never a better racer. Horses did stuff they wouldnt do for anyone else for Cordero and they didn't always want to. There's a kind of hate in arrogance, especially the competitive kind. But there was naught but joy in Angel's nerve & verve, a sweet & hot salsa in everything he did"
"The Double Triple" Tier
Eddie Arcaro - 14 pts.
the only jockey here to have won the Triple Crown ... and, for good measure, he did it twice.
this is my selection for this category, and here was my writeup:
Joe Dimaggio of "The Sport of Kings"
still the winner of more stakes races than any jockey in history:
Kentucky Derby (5)
Preakness Stakes (6)
Belmont Stakes (6)
Jockey Club Gold Cup (10)
Juvenile Stakes (7)
National Stallion Stakes (7)
Wood Memorial Stakes (9)
Suburban Handicap (8)
Withers Stakes (6)
Kentucky Oaks (4)
only cat to ever win the Triple Crown twice - aboard all time greats Whirlaway in 1941, and Citation in '48.
tied with Bill Hartack for most Kentucky Derby wins (5), and his 6 wins in both the Preakness and Belmont are still records.
he retired prematurely at age 45 as the (then) career leader in wins and earnings.
nobody won more when it mattered most - clutch and intuitive, a "money" cat if ever there was one.
in the irons on some of the most storied horses of the era, along with a few all timers: Whirlaway, Citation, Ponder, Hoop Jr., Challedon, Kelso, Nashua, Mark-Ye-Well, Hill Prince, Bold Ruler, Sword Dancer, Real Delight.
instrumental in establishing the Jockey's Guild after his retirement, giving the lil' fellas a long overdue leg up.
giving the edge over Cordero due to Eddie's remarkable TC records ... 17 wins in the series is unparalleled.
"Here's To The Winners" tier:
Laffit Pincay Jr. - 15 pts
Bill Shoemaker - 16 pts.
the greatest money riders of all-time, Laffit broke Shoe's records, but i'm giving the edge to Bill for the greater success in the TC series (11-4) .. man, did Shoe pilot some amazing horses - Swaps, Round Table, Northern Dancer, Buckpasser, Ferdinand, Cicada, Damascus, Gallant Man, Sword Dancer, Forego, Jaipur, John Henry, Spectacular Bid, Gamely, Silky Sullivan - also won the big 'Cap (Santa Anita) a ridiculous 11 times, won 8 Hollywood Gold Cups, 8 Del Mar Handicaps, 6 Del Mar Futuritys.
Pincay was also pretty damn lethal out West - won the Hollywood Gold Cup nine times, the Big 'Cap seven times and the Del Mar Futurity four times.
he also bagged seven Breeders’ Cup wins, as trainers turned to him to ride famed horses such as Affirmed, John Henry, Conquistador Cielo, Sham, John Henry, Bayakoa and Cougar II.
can't argue these two at the top - they set a standard of excellence in the profession that still resonates in the present day ...
nod to Shoe as the GOAT, as far as this draft is concerned ... Pincay a very worthy runner-up.
FINAL POINTS TALLY:
1 - Sancho
3 - Castellano
4 - Murphy
5 - Delahoussaye
6 - Desormeaux
7 - Detorri
8 - Stevens
9 - McCarron
10 - Bailey
11 - Day
12 - Piggot
13 - Cordero
14 - Arcaro
15 - Pincay
16 - Shoemaker