There have been so many great riders over the years, it’s difficult picking the all-time best jockey. Many of them rode in different eras, they all had their strengths and weaknesses, and they rode against different levels of competition.
For instance, although Russell Baze is the all-time winningest rider, many might not even put him on their all-time top five list because he’s ridden the majority of his career in Northern California, where the competition is not as keen as Southern California, New York, Kentucky, et al.
Some might choose Laffit Pincay, No. 2 in lifetime victories, because of his entraordinary strength. Still others might go with Bill Shoemaker, who many say had a clock in his head because of his uncanny ability to judge pace during a race.
Eddie Arcaro? Johnny Longden? Angel Cordero? Jerry Bailey? Pat Day?
All were outstanding jockeys during their time.
We had some fun here discussing the all-time best race callers a couple of months back, and I thought maybe we could do the same debating who was the best jockey of all time.
In my book, it’s Pincay. I never saw Shoemaker in his prime, so I’m going by what I saw and not what I’ve heard or read.
With the exception of Baze, we’ve left all active jockeys off our list. There’s no doubt current riders the likes of Rafael Bejarano, Garrett Gomez, Julien Leparoux and Joel Rosario could make this list after they’ve retired. But they’ve yet to stand the test of time, although Gomez has come the closest.
So how about it: Who’s the best jockey you’ve seen during your years watching the sport? Don’t hesitate to leave a comment supporting your vote, or let us know if we left your favorite off our list.