Edgar Prado was born into a racing family in Lima, Peru on June 12, 1967. His father was an exercise rider and some of his brothers had become jockeys and trainers. After graduating from jockey school, Prado rode his first winner in Peru in 1983 and was the leading rider there before moving to the United States in 1986.
When he arrived in the United States, Prado first rode in Florida and then Massachusetts before settling in Maryland, where he was the state’s leading jockey six times (1991-1993 and 1997-1999).
A racing accident that sent jockey Richard Migliore to the hospital in 1999 enabled Prado to establish his credentials as a world-class rider. When Migliore was injured in a spill at Belmont Park that spring, trainer John Kimmel secured Prado’s services as Migliore’s replacement. At Saratoga that summer, Prado finished second in the jockey standings, making it clear he had the talent to rank among the sport’s elite.
Prado was the nation’s leading rider in victories three times (1997-1999), and in 1997 became only the fourth jockey ever to win as many as 500 races in one year (535).
Among Prado’s achievements are a victory in the Kentucky Derby, two Belmont Stakes, three Breeders’ Cup wins and career earnings of $225 million through 2009. He has ridden Barbaro, Sarava, Birdstone, Round Pond, Silver Train, Folklore, Lemon Drop Kid, Saint Liam, Lost in the Fog, and Funny Cide. He is the author of “My Guy Barbaro,” a memoir about his relationship with the 2006 Kentucky Derby winner.
Both of Prado’s victories in the Belmont Stakes denied a Triple Crown bid. In 2002, he guided Sarava to victory at 70-to-1 odds, denying War Emblem the Triple Crown. Two years later, Prado thwarted the Triple Crown hopes of Smarty Jones when he won the Belmont with 36-to-1 Birdstone.
Among Prado’s other major victories are the Travers Stakes, Woodward Stakes, Suburban Handicap, Blue Grass Stakes (2), Florida Derby (3), Hopeful Stakes, Pennsylvania Derby, Haskell Invitational, Kentucky Oaks, Santa Anita Handicap, Man o’ War Stakes (2), Saratoga Special (2), Brooklyn Handicap, Hopeful Stakes, Manhattan Handicap, and the Coaching Club American Oaks (2).
Prado won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey in 2006, the same year he won the Mike Venezia Memorial Award. He also won the Fourstardave Award for Special Achievement at Saratoga in 2002 and 2005. Prado won the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in 2003. He has won 10 riding titles in New York and won his 6,000th career race in 2008 at Gulfstream Park.
Edgar Prado was inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in 2008.
Photo Courtesy of Brien Bouyea