Patrick Alan Day was an American Jockey who retired in 2005. He was a phenomenal rider in his time, becoming the instant favourite on the betting odds. If you were betting when Day was in the line-up, you knew where your money would go.
If you want to learn how to understand traditional odds, click on this link. Just as Pat Day was a known winner in his day, we have plenty of current riding legends for you to start making winnings off.
But back to the legend Pat Day. Looking into his riding past shows just how great this man is.
Like Father Like Son
Day started off his racing career after his father suggested he went riding. His dad used to love riding, and although it never turned into anything more than a hobby, he wanted his son to join in the feat. Well, it turned out that Day had a naturally good form. In 1973, Pat Day entered tournaments. He was 20 years old and had been riding for years, but it was at this point that he won his first race.
It was on a small racetrack in Arizona on a horse named Forblunged, and from this race, the fire in Pat Day’s heart was lit. He had always enjoyed horses, but now he knew that success as a jockey was possible, but he had a long way to go.
The Wins Keep Rolling In
By the time Day reached 23, he moved to New York to have a real try at becoming a full-time professional jockey. That same year he won the Jockey Gold Cup on Great Contractor. This horse was trained by Roger Laurin and owned by Howard P Wilson.
The instant success he found in New York was enough to power him through the rest of his years.
10 years later, Day had become the leading jockey in America. He achieved the most wins from 1982 to 1984, skipping 1985 he claimed the title again in 1986. His last two years of complete domination were 1990 and 1991, 6 years before he retired.
This means that Day was the leading jockey for 6 years, 3 of which were consecutive.
Although Pat Day has won 9 Triple Crown races he wasn’t able to claim the ultimate title. That shouldn’t put him down though, as he had 23 Triple Crown top 3 places throughout his career.
Looking at the Breeders’ Cup, Day achieved 12 first-place wins between 1983 and 2001.
His most accomplished cup was the Breeders’ Cup Classic, which he won 4 times. His most successful horse was Easy Goer who got him to 2nd place in the Kentucky Derby of 1989, 2nd place in the Preakness Takes in 1989, and 1st place in the Belmont Stakes in 1989.
Although Easy Goer only won one triple stakes race, he became an instant success in other major racing tournaments taking 11 major wins before retiring.
A Gentleman Jockey
Winning is everything to many jockeys, but Pat Day has an ethical side that he prioritizes over everything else. Day was always known as a patient person, and he was even more respected as a patient rider.
He wouldn’t overuse his horses, and granted rests and stays as often as possible. He wouldn’t push his horses more than they needed, trusting in their instinct and talent over fear.
Some people criticized Day for not getting his horses to dash at the right time, and you can easily attribute his losses to delays in the crop.
But Patient Pat (as he came to be), wouldn’t let the possibility of winning allow him to change his ethical stance. Some people would laugh at this mentality, and as Pat Forde (a reporter) stated “He is so patient he could watch a faucet drip for days”.
The insult didn’t bother Day though, as more people came around to his mentality as the years went on.
Still, when Easy Goer didn’t win the Triple Crown, his ethics caused a stir. Barry Irwin stated that Day “drove many a captain of industry, hard-boot trainer and horseplayer to the brink of rage.”
Because Easy Goer was so close to winning the Preakness Stakes, even Day started to doubt his morals. And yet for a jockey who didn’t overwork his horse, he still managed to come in second place. What did the 3rd place and 4th place riders have to say about that?
The Records And Honors Of A Legend
Among his title wins, Day also has a number of other records to his name. He is still, to this day, the leading rider of the Churchill Downs. He is also the leading rider of the Keeneland Race Course.
In the former, he has won 2,481 races, 155 of them having been stakes. While at the latter he achieved 918 wins, 95 of which were stakes.
Together they gave him 37 leadership titles.
Pat Day was a talented rider from the get-go. Although some people scoffed at his technique and riding mentality, you cannot deny that Day was a star to watch.