Veteran jockey Mark Guidry, 21st on the all-time list of North American riders with more than 5,000 victories, plans to close out his riding career Nov. 10 at Churchill Downs.
“This has been tearing me up for the past week, but when I decided that it was the time, I feel much better,” said Guidry, who will begin the Racing Officials Accreditation Program at the University of Louisville in hopes of being a steward. “I’m going to ride Bel Air Beauty for (trainer Frank Brothers) in (the Mrs. Revere, gr. II) on Saturday, and that will be it.”
Prior to riding the ninth race on the Nov. 6 card, Guidry had ridden 31,315 mounts, with 5,042 winners, 4,466 seconds, and 4,184 thirds for earnings of $100,818,985. He reached the 5,000-win mark May 4 at Churchill on Chippewa Trail.
“I think it is just time,” Guidry said. “It is time for another chapter in my life and I am looking forward to it. I hope I can get a good job somewhere. I think I have a lot to offer. I have been through it all on the racetrack and hopefully, that will be my calling.
“I had a great career and I appreciate all the opportunities that were given to me all these years. That will be missed, but that is why a steward is a good thing for me, because I will be able to come see my peers and be a part of the game and give something back.”
One of Guidry’s most significant victories came at Churchill in 2006 when he guided Lemons Forever to victory in the $500,000 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I). A longshot at 47-1, the daughter of Lemon Drop Kid scored the biggest upset in the 133-year history of the Oaks.
Guidry also won the 2005 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) aboard Buzzards Bay and the 2002 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (gr. IT) at Keeneland aboard Riskaverse. Guidry finished third in the 2005 Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) aboard Perfect Drift, and won the Washington Park Handicap (gr. II) at Arlington Park earlier that year aboard Perfect Drift.
Other top horses ridden by Guidry include 1991 Horse of the Year Black Tie Affair and Buck’s Boy, the champion turf horse of 1998.
Guidry’s fellow riders honored him in 2006 with the George Woolf Award, one of his profession's most prestigious prizes. That award, decided by a vote by the nation’s jockeys, annually recognizes a rider whose career and personal character reflects positively on themselves and their profession.
Guidry, 48, is a native of Lafayette, La., and plans to move back there with his wife, Tina.