Day's Retirement Means New Client for Danner

(from Churchill Downs notes)
Pat Day has retired from racing, but the man who booked the Hall of Fame jockey's mounts is still working the Churchill Downs backside each morning.

His name is Larry Danner, but everybody knows him as "Doc."

Doc Danner served as Day's agent for the past 12 years, but now that Day is working with the Racetrack Chaplaincy of America and no longer riding, the 58-year-old is working with jockey John Jacinto, a newcomer to the Kentucky circuit.

Danner was on hand for Churchill's celebration of Day's career last Saturday, dubbed "Pat's Day." The Brush, Colo. native retired this August and finished his 32-year riding career with a record 2,481 and 155 stakes wins at Churchill.

"It was a great farewell," Danner said of Saturday's festivities. "Pat is such a gracious person. I know he signed autographs for about 4 ½ hours. Most of all, it's kind of sad. The bottom line is, you can watch out there and see that there's no Pat Days out there. I think it'll take awhile for these horsemen to realize it.

"It's sad, but he'll best be remembered because of his integrity, his honesty and his walk. I mean, he talks the talk, but he also walks the walk."

Day's retirement has forced his old friend to switch to a new top client.

"It's a new challenge," Danner said of the transition. "You go from handling a world-class – top two or three riders in the world – and someone who will be remembered as one of the all-time best, to pushing ... a young boy and an upcoming rider."

While Jacinto's career numbers come nowhere near Day's, the 29-year-old Peruvian is has his own accomplishments. A product of the same jockey school that produced Edgar Prado and Rafael Bejarano, Jacinto was the leading rider at Sam Houston Park in 2002 and recently won the 2005 riding title this summer at Louisiana Downs. Jacinto made the move to Kentucky this fall in time for the Keeneland meet and immediately made a splash, winning the $500,000 Lane's End Breeders' Futurity (gr. I) aboard 36-1 longshot Dawn of War for trainer Dale Romans.

Despite what Jacinto has done outside of Kentucky, Danner said there has been a definite turn in the flow of his phone calls to and from trainers.

"It's different when you're going to hustle them instead of them calling you," said Jacinto.

For two men accustomed to consistently winning, both are adjusting to Jacinto's move to the Midwest. Through Sunday, Jacinto sits in 10th place in the jockey standings with four wins and seven runner-up finishes from 50 mounts during the Fall Meet.

"You know what Pat says best, 'The Lord's got a way of humbling us.' And I'm very humble right now. But that's not going to keep me from working hard, because that's what got me here in the first place."