Angel Cordero Jr. says he will be ready for the “Living Legends Race” at the Oak Tree meet at Santa Anita Park Oct. 18, despite not being a big fan of exercise, at least out of the saddle.
After dismounting a Bobby Frankel-trained horse he galloped Sept. 18 at Belmont Park, Cordero said: “I hate going to the gym or running. Actually of all the athletes I have known, boxers, baseball players, none of them liked the training, getting ready for the match or the season, they just liked the action of playing. The only thing I like about going to the gym is looking at the girls, and none of them are looking at me.”
The “Living Legends Race” will debut for the first time this year, and will feature eight retired Hall of Fame jockeys. Cordero, 65, is the oldest of his rivals. Also competing are Jerry Bailey, 51; Pat Day, 55; Sandy Hawley, 59; Julie Krone, 45; Chris McCarron; 53; Gary Stevens, 45; and Jacinto Vasquez, 64.
“I’m the old man of the group, and the one that has been the longest out of the saddle (competitively),” Cordero said.
Cordero retired in May 1992 after a serious riding accident earlier that year, but the words “Rider’s Up” called him back for one more race in 1995. He rode 7,057 winners and his mounts earned more than $164 million during his career which began in his native Puerto Rico in 1960. He entered racing’s Hall of Fame in 1988.
Vasquez is the next Legends’ participant in line behind Cordero for being out of the saddle the longest, having retired in 1996.
Cordero, who is the agent to one of the country’s top riders, John Velazquez, should hold an advantage over some of his competitors since he exercises horses on a daily basis for Frankel and Todd Pletcher.
“I won’t have any trouble making the weight,” Cordero said with a laugh as he hustled from Frankel’s barn to go about his jockey agent duties.
The “Living Legends Race” will offer pari-mutuel wagering, and will be run at a sprint distance. The riders’ mounts will be California-breds, selected by a draw. Each runner will carry 126 pounds.