Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron will retire from his full-time teaching duties at the North American Racing Academy at the end of 2014 fall semester, according to an announcement from the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.
McCarron, who established the riding school in 2006, currently serves as lead instructor for "Jockey Pathway" students at NARA, which is now part of Bluegrass Community and Technical College. In his new role, McCarron will no longer teach full time, but will remain a part of the program he founded by teaching master classes in advanced riding each summer.
At the time of his retirement from racing in 2002, McCarron was the all-time money leader with more than over $260 million in purse earnings. Included in his 7,141 wins were two editions of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) among his six Triple Crown races, and nine Breeders' Cup World Championships races. He won two Eclipse Awards as outstanding jockey.
"Now that I'm almost 60, the time has come for me to pass the baton at NARA and move on to another chapter in my life," McCarron said in a statement. "I'll miss the students. So many have taken their studies very seriously and have gone on to apply what they learned at NARA to become successful race riders, grooms, trainers, and just solid horsemen and horsewomen overall, which is what racing needs.
"Yes, I am retiring, but I do look forward to my new role as an adjunct riding instructor, mentor, and in assisting BCTC during this transition. It has been a wonderful ride."
According to NARA, 20 graduates of the program are currently active as professional jockeys and their mounts have earned nearly $40 million in purses at racetracks across North America. During the past two years, BCTC-NARA has successfully expanded its focus from training jockeys to include a horseman's pathway.