Jockey Ricky Joe Faul, who has 3,352 victories during his 30 years in the saddle, will hang up his saddle and riding boots in the Saturday June 27 racing program at Evangeline Downs Racetrack & Casino.
Faul, who won his first race on March 3, 1978, at nearby Delta Downs aboard Monsieur Cognac, said, “There comes a time in every professional athlete’s life that you have to step aside, It’s been a wonderful trip, and I’ve accomplished more than I ever thought I would, but now is the right time for me to let it go. I’ve been so fortunate in my life and career and I want to thank all the racing people, the trainers, owners, agents, valets, my fans, and especially my family who have been so important to me and my success. I’ve been thinking about this for the past couple of months and now that I’ve made the decision I’m ready for a new challenge.”
After completing his apprenticeship, Faul enjoyed his greatest success throughout the 1980’s and into the 1990’s earning a total of 15 leading rider titles, including 10 at Jefferson Downs. Faul so dominated racing at the now defunct New Orleans area oval that he was the leading rider during seven consecutive seasons. In addition to his titles there, Faul also captured leading rider titles at Evangeline and Delta Downs.
Although an admitted homebody who generally eschewed the more high profile racing circuits to stay nearby and help raise his family, Faul enjoyed success during his periodical forays to different racetracks, earning champion jockey laurels at Hoosier Park and the now shuttered Birmingham Race Course. In addition, Faul also competed at Santa Anita Park in the early 1990s.
Affectionately nicknamed “The Bus Driver” by his fellow riders and fans for his slightly unorthodox riding style, Faul says that his favorite mounts included the locally based High Strike Zone and Bet Me Best. High Strike Zone provided Faul with the biggest win of his career, in the 2006 Texas Mile (gr. III) at Lone Star Park.
Although his riding days will be behind him, Faul will continue to work in the racing industry. He has taken out his jockey agent’s license and will represent Joe Stokes beginning next week.
In addition to his retirement, the 47-year-old native of nearby Sunset, La., and Abbeville resident will celebrate his 28th wedding anniversary with wife Donna.