Two of North America's top jockeys ended 2000 in a neck-and-neck battle for leading rider by earnings, with Hall of Famer Pat Day eking out a slight advantage over perennial leader Jerry Bailey.
Riding at Calder Racecourse over the final weekend of the year, Day's emergence on top of the earnings list was somewhat easier than it has been for him in the past. In 1982, for example, Day was leading rider by number of wins after he chartered a plane to Vinton, La. on Dec. 31, 1982. Day's two wins on the Delta Downs card that night gave him a two-race margin over Angel Cordero Jr.
According to Equibase statistics from North American racetracks and a handful of selected international races for 2000, Day's mounts earned $17,479,838, compared with $17,468,690 for Bailey. Day's earnings were gleaned from 267 winners in 1,219 mounts, for a win rate of 22%. Bailey had a 27% win rate, booting home 246 of his 908 mounts. There was a noticeable drop-off behind Bailey to Shane Sellers, who ranked third with $14,881,680, followed closely by the $14,440,907 earnings for Jorge Chavez.
The international races included in Equibase's statistics were the Dubai World Cup, Japan Cup, Hong Kong Cup, Arc de Triomphe, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes, Esat Digifone Champion Stakes, Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, Grosser Preis Von Baden, and the BMW Cox Plate, all group I fixtures.
Once again the leader by number of wins was Northern California-based Russell Baze, whose 412 winners from 1,513 mounts also produced a 27% win rate.