Turfway Park will honor Steve Cauthen, the last jockey to win Thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown, throughout live racing on St. Patrick's Day, Monday, March 17. This year marks the 30th anniversary of Cauthen’s victories in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes -- all grade I classics -- aboard Affirmed.
Normally dark on Mondays, Turfway added the St. Patrick’s Day card to make up races lost to cold weather earlier in the meet. Also highlighting the day is the inaugural running of the $50,000 St. Patrick’s Day Handicap, a six-furlong sprint for horses four years old and upward.
A limited number of commemorative programs for the day’s races will be printed, and Cauthen will be available to sign the programs from 2 to 4pm. The cover shows the jockey aboard Affirmed in the Kentucky Derby winner’s circle. Cauthen also will join Wolf Kratzenberg, Turfway’s player development manager, in analyzing the day’s races for the track’s simulcast program. Video of Cauthen’s Triple Crown rides will be shown as well.
The youngest jockey ever to win the Triple Crown, Cauthen was just 18 when he won the Triple Crown. Cauthen began his career on May 12, 1976, at the age of 16 and rose swiftly to the sport’s highest levels. Nicknamed '"Stevie Wonder" and "The Million Dollar Man," he set what was then an American earnings record of $6 million while still an apprentice. Another nickname, "The Kid," is the title of a biography of Cauthen written by the late Pete Axthelm.
Cauthen won the 1977 Eclipse Award of Merit as well as that year’s Eclipse awards as outstanding apprentice jockey and outstanding jockey. Sports Illustrated named him 1977’s Sportsman of the Year.
At 19, difficulty in maintaining riding weight led Cauthen to move his tack to Europe, where jockeys typically compete at higher weights. He was England's champion jockey for three years, won the Epsom Derby twice, and is the only jockey in history to win the Kentucky, Epsom, Irish, French, and Italian derbies.
After retiring from riding in 1993, Cauthen returned to his home state of Kentucky and established Dreamfields, a Thoroughbred breeding and training facility. He was inducted into the National Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame in1994.