Pat Day

Growing up in Colorado, Pat Day dreamed of becoming a rodeo cowboy. Day's dream of making a living riding horses came true, but not as he might have expected. Day instead turned to racehorses and rode his first winner in 1973 at Prescott Downs in Arizona en route to becoming one of America’s most accomplished riders of all time.

Pat Day celebrating after winning the 1992 Kentucky Derby with Lil E. Tee (Shigeki Kikkawa/Museum Collection)
Inducted

1991

Born

Oct. 13, 1953, Brush, Colorado

Career

1973-2005

Wins

8,803

Earnings

$297,934,732

Racing Record

21.84

Win %

Biography

Growing up in Colorado, Pat Day dreamed of becoming a rodeo cowboy. Day's dream of making a living riding horses came true, but not as he might have expected. Day instead turned to racehorses and rode his first winner in 1973 at Prescott Downs in Arizona en route to becoming one of America’s most accomplished riders of all time.

Day established numerous records while based in Kentucky, where he became the all-time leading rider at both Churchill Downs and Keeneland. While riding in Illinois, he once had eight winners in one afternoon at Arlington Park, and at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas he won 12 consecutive riding titles.

Day’s most important mounts include Hall of Famers Easy Goer, Dance Smartly, and Lady's Secret, as well as Wild Again (the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Classic winner), Summer Squall, Tabasco Cat, Unbridled, Flanders, Tank’s Prospect, Louis Quatorze, and Lil E. Tee.

In the Triple Crown series, Day won the 1992 Kentucky Derby with Lil E. Tee; the Preakness in 1985 (Tank’s Prospect), 1990 (Summer Squall), 1994 (Tabasco Cat), 1995 (Timber Country), and 1996 (Louis Quatorze); and the Belmont in 1989 (Easy Goer), 1994 (Tabasco Cat), and 2000 (Commendable). He also won the Breeders’ Cup Classic in 1984 (Wild Again), 1990 (Unbridled), 1998 (Awesome Again), and 1999 (Cat Thief). Overall, Day won 12 Breeders' Cup races and retired as the leading money-winning Breeders’ Cup jockey with earnings of $23 million.

Other notable wins by Day include the Travers Stakes (four times), Jockey Club Gold Cup (three times), Blue Grass Stakes (four times), Woodward Stakes, Florida Derby, Hollywood Gold Cup, Canadian International Stakes (twice), Pimlico Special, Del Mar Handicap, and Kentucky Oaks (twice). Day won the Canadian Triple Crown in 1991 with Hall of Famer Dance Smartly.

Day retired in 2005 with record career earnings of $297,934,732 and 8,803 wins. He led North American riders in wins six times and earnings twice. Day was a four-time Eclipse Award winner (1984, 1986, 1987, 1991) and was presented the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in 1985.

Achievements

Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey — 1984, 1986, 1987, 1991

North America's leading rider in wins — 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1990, 1991
North America's leading rider in earnings — 1999, 2000

Triple Crown Highlights

Won the 1992 Kentucky Derby — Lil E. Tee
Won the 1985 Preakness Stakes — Tank's Prospect
Won the 1990 Preakness Stakes — Summer Squall
Won the 1994 Preakness Stakes — Tabasco Cat
Won the 1995 Preakness Stakes — Timber Country
Won the 1996 Preakness Stakes — Louis Quatorze
Won the 1989 Belmont Stakes — Easy Goer
Won the 2000 Belmont Stakes — Commendable

Breeders' Cup Highlights

Won the 1984 Classic — Wild Again
Won the 1986 Distaff — Lady's Secret
Won the 1987 Juvenile Fillies — Epitome 
Won the 1987 Turf — Theatrical
Won the 1990 Classic — Unbridled 
Won the 1991 Distaff — Dance Smartly
Won the 1994 Juvenile Fillies — Flanders
Won the 1994 Juvenile — Timber Country
Won the 1997 Juvenile — Favorite Trick
Won the 1998 Classic — Awesome Again
Won the 1999 Classic — Cat Thief
Won the 2001 Distaff — Unbridled Elaine

Media

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