Pat Day was born on the 13th of October 1953 in Brush, Colorado. He became interested in horses from a young age and his earliest ambition was to become a rodeo cowboy. However his love for horses turned from broncos to thoroughbreds later in life and it wasn’t long before Day was making a name for himself as an American flat racing jockey.
Day rode his first winner in 1973 at Prescott Downs in Arizona. The race was the first in a line of many great successes that would later bill him as one of the country’s top jockeys. By the time his long and successful career came to an end, he’d won numerous races and awards. He won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey four times, the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in 1985, and he was also inducted to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1991. He has ridden winners of the US Triple Crown races nine times and he won both the Canadian Triple Crown and the Breeder’s Cup Distaff on the legendary filly Dance Smartly. He is the only jockey to have ridden at least one horse in every one of the first 20 Breeder’s Cups – 12 of which he won. Day also has the distinction of being the leading rider at Churchill Downs and Keeneland. In fact, Day often caused havoc at these tracks since bettors would put large amounts of money on him because they were so confident in his ability – a confidence which often proved to be well-founded. In 1989, he set yet another record when he won eight out of nine races in on one day at Arlington Park.
However it would seem that Day’s highly successful racing career eventually took a toll on him. Not long after undergoing hip surgery that put him out of racing for a while, Day announced his retirement. That was on 3 August 2005 after 32 years of racing, during which he rode 8,804 winners and won US$298 million. Today Pat Day enjoys life as a family man. He resides with his family in Louisville, Kentucky and he still rides, although not in any of the big races. Pat Day continues to remain active in the racing community by serving as a spokesperson for the industry and for the Racetrack Chaplaincy of America. He still holds a number of records and is viewed by many as one of America’s most successful jockeys.