(Edited Churchill Downs report)
Veteran jockey Mark Guidry still plans to end his career in the saddle by the end of the year, but the date for his final ride has been moved back a bit.
Guidry’s original schedule had called for his final ride to come in early August, but that date has now been pushed back to late November. The 48-year-old native of Lafayette, La. is hoping to start a new career as a racing official once his riding career comes to an end, but a school for prospective stewards that Guidry hopes to attend at the University of Louisville is not scheduled until late November. So Guidry has decided to keep riding until then.
“I figured I might as well ride on through the end of the year,” said Guidry. “I didn’t want to just be sitting around and not doing anything. Whenever I do stop, I want to have something to look forward to, to jump right into.”
Guidry plans to move his tack to Arlington Park for the rest of the summer once the Churchill Downs Spring Meet ends on Sunday. If all goes well, he will return to Kentucky in the fall for the meets at Keeneland and Churchill Downs, and that last career ride could come sometime during the latter’s Fall Meet.
“I don’t want to have too much idle time,” said Guidry. “I guess it’s just like a horse that’s been running for all those years. You can’t just turn them out to the pasture – you’ve got to take some time with them.”
With 22 wins heading into the meet’s final two days, Guidry ranks 11th in the race for “leading rider” of the Spring Meet. He notched his 5,000th career victory with a win at Churchill Downs on May 4. He shared the 2005 Fall Meet riding title at the historic track.
Guidry enjoyed his brightest moment at Churchill Downs when he guided 47-1 shot Lemons Forever to victory in the 2006 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I). He will be back aboard that Oaks winner in Sunday’s $150,000-added Locust Grove Handicap (gr. III), the featured event on the closing day of the track’s 52-day spring meet.