The Triple Crown is a highly-coveted horseracing series composed of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont StakesThe Kentucky Derby, Triple Crown’s first leg, is scheduled for May 6, 2023Unsurprisingly, the spectators of this annual sports event already have their early favoritesOf course, the jockeys’ names, who will set the horses’ pace in the Derby, also resonate in horse racing forums.
The best jockeys know how to maximize the speed and focus of a horse on the trackIn the history of the Triple Crown, there have only been 13 title holdersSome jockeys have mounted multiple champs, and others are one-shot ridersLet’s name a few of the most outstanding jockeys who have steered iconic Triple Crown heroes.
At age 11, Mike Smith already started taming and riding horses in MexicoHe started his professional career at 16, the minimum age to get a riding licenseHis first win in his career also happened during his first race ever, riding Forever Man at Santa Fe, New Mexico.
He was atop Justify when he claimed victory in the 2018 Triple Crown seriesTheir tandem dominated horse racing betting during that seasonMike Smith also mounted Zenyatta, the 2010 Horse of the YearHe has ridden Zenyatta in 17 of her 20 races, where the tandem won 16 titlesDuring Zenyatta’s last race in the 2010 Breeders Cup Classic, they missed the title and finished secondHis latest win was with Corniche at Del Mar, when they bagged the TVG Juvenile Presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance.
Eddie Arcaro is the only jockey who has ridden two Triple Crown title holdersHe has a small build, but he was a giant in the horse racing worldArcaro also mounted five Kentucky Derby winners, namely Lawrin (1938), Whirlaway (1941), Hoop Jr(1945), Citation (1948), and Hill Gail (1952)Whirlaway and Citation were the two Triple Crown champions he mountedIn his second Triple Crown win, he rode Citation to substitute another jockey who went boating and disappeared before the big day.
Arcaro became a jockey at the early age of 15No wonder he consistently showcases remarkable athletic power every time he rides a horse on the trackHis long history of being a rider is definitely his edgeHe retired at age 45 and continued following horse racing events as a commentator.
Steve Cauthen became one of the most influential jockeys in the world through the influence of his father, who’s also a rider and a horse racing enthusiastRiding horses seemed like a natural talent to CauthenPerhaps, it really runs in the bloodAt age 16, he was granted a license as a jockey.
He became the youngest rider to claim a Triple Crown title shortly after he turned 18Other notable distinctions that Cauthen has earned are the Eclipse Award for Apprentice Jockey, the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey in the United States, Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year, Sporting News Sportsman of the Year, Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year, among many others.
When he retired in 1992, he moved to Kentucky and served as an executive in Turfway ParkHe was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame two years later.
All horse racing fans know Secretariat as the greatest horse racing championSecretariat is an iconic runner, but his jockey, Ron Turcotte, deserves as much praise after he mounted Secretariat in the 1973 Triple Crown series.
They were known to be the greatest tandem in the history of the Triple CrownTheir chemistry on the track would show as Secretariat flawlessly conquered the one ½-mile Belmont Stakes with a sensational 31-length athletic performanceThere was a 25-year winning drought before the tandem claimed the title.
Five years later, Turcotte got involved in an accident on the track, resulting in paraplegiaNevertheless, he was inducted into the Racing and Hall of Fame in 1979, followed by Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1980.
Count Fleet, the sixth Triple Crown victor, was mounted by Johnny Longden, also known as “the pumper.” What’s more remarkable about Longden is that he’s the only person who trained and mounted a Kentucky Derby winnerThe horse we’re talking about is Majestic Prince, who claimed victory in the 1969 Kentucky Derby.
Aside from Count Fleet, Longden has also mounted horse racing heroes like Busher, Swaps, Noor, and WhirlawayIt was in 1956 when Longden became the winningest jockey, with a record-breaking 6.032 wins, beating British rider Sir Gordon Richards with 4,870 wins.
The jockeys we’ve included in our list have proven track records of success in multiple racecoursesMore than the titles, they have shown an exceptional ability to communicate with thoroughbreds, keeping their momentum on the track and ultimately outdistancing their competitors.