Updated: April 19 - It's my Derby™ was a beautiful night full of laughter and memories that will stay with us for many years to come. It isn't often that you have five Hall of Fame jockeys sharing one stage together. They may all have been rivals on the track during their racing years, but it was clear that their support and care for one another ran deep. D. Wayne Lukas led a very entertaining conversation amongst the legends in racing and concluded the night with an auction of exclusive experience packages.
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At the historic Keeneland Sales Pavilion in Lexington, future Kentucky Derby winners have been sold to the highest bidder and gone on to greatness in winning the World’s Greatest Race. Names such as I'll Have Another, Animal Kingdom, Big Brown and War Emblem have all pranced out of that sales ring and into the history books. Now on April 17, 2015, a panel of all Kentucky Derby winning jockeys will join us on that same stage to share with you their fondest memories of their Derby winning experiences.
In support of our all-jockey panel, the Kentucky Derby Museum will donate a portion of every ticket to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. The Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF) is a 501(c)(3) public charity that provides financial assistance to some 60 former jockeys who have suffered catastrophic on-track injuries. Since its founding in 2006, the fund has disbursed over $5 million to permanently disabled jockeys, most of whom have sustained paralysis or brain injuries.
A native of Wisconsin, Lukas began training Quarter Horses in 1972. He has four Kentucky Derby victories: Winning Colors (1988), Thunder Gulch (1995), Grindstone (1996) and Charismatic (1999). He also has six Preakness Stakes wins and four Belmont Stakes wins. Lukas ranks first in career earnings among Thoroughbred trainers. In 2013, Lukas was awarded the Eclipse Award for Merit for a lifetime of outstanding achievement in Thoroughbred racing. Additional honors include: the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer (1985, 1986, 1987, 1994), more Eclipse Award champion Thoroughbreds (24) than any other trainer, the Turf Publicists of America Big Sport of Turfdom Award (1999) and inductions into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame (1999).
Pincay won the 1984 Kentucky Derby aboard Swale and finished with 9,530 wins overall, the most all-time when he retired in 2003. Other highlights include three straight Belmont Stakes victories from 1982-84 and wins in seven Breeders’ Cup events. Pincay, a native of Panama, earned enshrinement into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in 1975 after winning five Eclipse Awards for Outstanding Jockey (1971, 1973, 1974, 1979, 1985) and one George Wolfe Memorial Jockey Award (1970) during his career. Since 2004, Hollywood Park Racetrack honors an individual with the Laffit Pincay, Jr. Award, going to someone who has served the horse racing industry with integrity, dedication, determination and distinction.
Cordero won the Kentucky Derby in 1974 (Cannonade), 1976 (Bold Forbes) and 1985 (Spend a Buck), on his way to 7,057 victories overall. A native of Puerto Rico, Cordero won two Preakness Stakes (1980, 1984), one Belmont Stakes (1976) and four Breeders’ Cup races. Cordero was named to the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in 1988 with two Eclipse Awards for Outstanding Jockey (1982, 1983) on his resume. During his career, Cordero was known as the “King of Saratoga” after winning 14 riding titles at the track, including 11 in a row. He has stayed involved in racing post retirement, currently serving as an agent for jockey and fellow Puerto Rican jockey John Velazquez.
Day, the all-time leading rider at Churchill Downs and Keeneland, won the 1992 Kentucky Derby with Lil E. Tee and retired with 8,803 victories total. Day won five Preakness Stakes (1985, 1990, 1994, 1995, 1996) and three Belmont Stakes (1989, 1994, 2000) along with 12 Breeders’ Cup victories. He took home four Eclipse Awards for Outstanding Jockey (1984, 1986, 1987, 1991), one George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award (1985) and went into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in 1991. He had career earnings of $297,912,019 which ranks first all-time. Day now resides in Louisville and has a statue barring his likeness at Churchill Downs near the paddock.
McCarron won a pair of Kentucky Derbys, coming in 1987 with Alysheba and 1994 with Go for Gin. He also won two Preakness Stakes (1987, 1992), two Belmont Stakes (1986, 1997) and nine Breeders’ Cup races among his 7,141 wins. He won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey and George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in 1980, and earned enshrinement into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in 1989. A native of Boston, he was given the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Apprentice Jockey in 1972 at the beginning of his career. He recently retired as executive director and instructor at the North American Racing Academy in Lexington.
Velasquez won the 1981 Kentucky Derby aboard Pleasant Colony, one of his 6,795 career wins. Most known for his performances in New York, Velasquez also rode Pleasant Colony to a victory in the Preakness Stakes, and captured two Breeders’ Cup titles. His best horse may have been the one that didn’t win any of the Triple Crown races, taking Alydar to second place finishes behind Affirmed in all three events in 1978. Velasquez won the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in 1986 and was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in 1990. He now works as an agent for other jockeys.