Jockey guest speaker at Reelfoot Banquet
Posted: Friday, September 10, 2010 4:40 pm
By: Glenda Caudle
In one glorious day — a day for the record books — jockey Patrick Alan “Pat” Day of Crestwood, Ky., won eight of nine mounts at Arlington Park and set a North American record. The 1989 feat does not stand alone, however.
Day is also the all-time leading rider at Churchill Downs and Keeneland Race Course, two of the largest tracks in Kentucky, and he has claimed the Canadian Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup Distaff aboard future Hall of Fame filly Dance Smartly. He is the only jockey to have ridden at least one mount in each of the first 20 Breeders’ Cups and ranks second all-time in Breeders’ Cup winners, with 12 to his credit.
He is a four-time winner of the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey and was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1991.
He was also recognized as the North American jockey demonstrating the highest standards of professional and personal conduct with the presentation of the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award.
In 1995, he was voted the Mike Venezia Memorial Award for “extraordinary sportsmanship and citizenship.”
Day, who was born Oct. 13, 1953, in Brush, Colo., will be the special guest at the Obion County Distinguished Speakers Foundation banquet Sept. 16 at the Hampton Centré on West Reelfoot Avenue in Union City. Union City Rotary Club is the sponsor for the event which, since 2003, has featured top-quality speakers, including former government officials, writers, humorists, leading businessmen and women and knowledgeable personalities who discuss a variety of current events, challenges and opportunities.
Social hour and the privilege of meeting the country’s most famous jockey will begin at 6:30 p.m., with the catered meal to follow at 7.
Tickets are $100 each and tables are available for groups of eight. They are on sale at meetings of Rotary Club at noon on Fridays or at Lanzer’s Printing and Office Supply in downtown Union City.
Proceeds from the evening will be shared with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Tennessee-Union City.
Day acknowledges freely that, early in his career, he suffered from a serious substance abuse problem with both drugs and alcohol. Following his experience as a born-again Christian, in the early 1980s, he reordered his priorities and commitments. He has been involved with the Race Track Chaplaincy of America since his conversion and is currently the racing industry’s representative on the board of directors for that organization.
On Aug. 3, 2005, Day announced his retirement from a 32-year career that saw him ride 8,804 winners. He was wrapping up a career that had seen him ride winners of the U.S. Triple Crown races nine times. When hip surgery forced him to miss the Kentucky Derby for the first time in 21 years, he stood fourth on the all-time list and had set a North American record for prize money won, with his mounts earning nearly $298 million. He determined, at that point, that he would retire and commit the rest of his life purely to spreading the gospel.
The racer who was so dominant in his field that veteran horseplayers complained of his winning ways, turned his focus to winning souls among those whose life work is winning races.
Day will be discussing some of his famous mounts — Easy Goer (the best horse he ever rode), Menifee (who placed directly behind Charismatic in both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes) and Lil E. Tee (the American-bred Thoroughbred racehorse who in 1992 scored one of the biggest upsets in the history of the Kentucky Derby — Day’s first and only Kentucky Derby victory). He will also be talking about race track experiences and the turnaround in his own life once he became a Christian.
For more information, contact event chairman and Rotarian Clint Joiner at (731) 225-7327.
Glenda Caudle is Special Features Editor for the Union City Daily Messenger. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org 9/7/10