Retired Hall of Famers Entertain The Crowds

Santa Anita Park Racecourse was on fire over the weekend, as racing events to kick off the excitement surrounding the Breeders’ Cup were organized for Saturday, 18 October 2008. But in the ten race lineup on Saturday, there was one race that stood out above the rest. It was a race where the horses did not really matter all that much, as it was all about the eight riders that showed up to take part in the Jockey Living Legends race.

The concept of hosting the Jockey Living Legends race was initiated by retired jockey, Lafitt Pincay Jr., but setting the wheels in motion lay in the hands of Mike Harlow, Rick Hammerle and Allen Gutterman. These three Santa Anita Park Racecourse officials had their work cut out for them, because putting the race together was not a simple as it may sound. When trying to create a race for retired jockeys, there are issues such as having the weight limitations waved on the jockeys, sorting out insurance and most importantly, finding willing racehorse owners to enter their horses in the race. But they pulled it off, and on Saturday, there were eight magnificent horses waiting for their jockeys, who had been assigned to horses by means of a draw. And in addition, they got the race approved for pari-mutuel wagering.

The retired jockeys invited to participate in the Jockey Living Legends race included Gary Stevens (45), Julie Krone (45), Jerry Baily (45), Chris McCarron (53), Pat Day (55), Sandy Hawley (59), Jacinto Vasquez (64) and Angel Cordero Jr. (65). These Hall of Fame jockeys were enthusiastically supported on race day by hundreds of fans who turned out see them in action one more time. Together with non-riding jockeys Eddie Delahoussaye, Jorge Velasquez and Lafitt Pincay Jr. they sat for two hours signing autographs for appreciative fans. But it would be a magnificent day for Sandy Hawley, as he and Tribal Chief won from wire to wire to record another official victory for Hawley and bring his total to 6, 450. Tribal Chief is trained by John Sadler and owned by the brothers David and Herb Alpert. In second place, was Dee Dee’s Legacy and Jerry Baily, while Gary Stevens, aboard Scandalous, finished in third place.

In the winners’ circle, the crowds were entertained by the jokes and playful bantering between the jockeys, and Hawley even vaulted off his horse, when challenged by his competitors. All the jockeys had a wonderful time and have said that if they were asked again, they would be up for the challenge. It was a race of celebration, entertainment, fun and victory. So much fun and excitement was had by the Hall of Fame jockeys, that Chris McCarron jokingly offered his services for next weekend’s Breeders’ Cup!