Honors Nice, But Pincay Would Rather Ride

(from Santa Anita notes)
In his first opportunity to bid public farewell at Santa Anita Park, Laffit Pincay Jr. will be honored by the Oak Tree Racing Association Saturday.

Pincay will autograph a limited number of "Laffit, All About Winning," a documentary chronicling his storied career on DVD.

He'd rather be riding.

"I still miss it," said Pincay, who retired in April 2003 due to injuries suffered in a spill at Santa Anita on March 1, 2003. "It's not like I don't miss it, because I'm still in good shape."

His peers and the public miss Pincay as well, but his fans will have an opportunity to wish him well and receive the DVD, which tells the inspirational story about one of greatest and most courageous athletes of all time.

"It's very nice," Pincay said of the documentary. It includes interviews with Burt Bacharach, Jerry Bailey, Angel Cordero, Eddie Delahoussaye, John Longden, Richard Mandella, Bill Shoemaker and many others. Horses included are Affirmed, Landaluce, Spend A Buck, Bayakoa, John Henry, Perrault, Skywalker, Spectacular Bid, and Swale.

The film was produced and directed by Academy Award winner Jim Wilson and is narrated by Kevin Costner. Wilson and Costner also collaborated on "Dances With Wolves," which was 1991's Academy Award winner for Best Picture.

"Not only was Laffit one of the greatest jockeys of all time, he was and is immensely popular with our fans," said Sherwood Chillingworth, Oak Tree executive vice president. "This is a day he and his fans richly deserve, and we're thrilled to be a part of it."

Pincay, who retired with 9,530 victories, is Oak Tree's all-time leading rider with 671 wins. One of his most memorable came aboard the legendary John Henry in the 1980 Oak Tree Turf Championship (now called the Clement L. Hirsch Turf Championship).

"I won a lot of races at Oak Tree," Pincay said, "but that race on John Henry was a great race."

Resigned to retirement, Pincay spends much of his time these days exercising, traveling, and watching movies. He has not found the right venue to return to racing.

"I'd like to do something," said Pincay, who will be 59 on Dec. 29. "I wish I had something in mind, but I don't. I'm waiting for something to come up that I might enjoy doing and would be willing to put in the time to do it. I don't feel that way right now so I'm going to wait a little and see what happens, and if it doesn't happen, thank God I don't have to do anything."

Becoming a trainer or a jockey's agent has minimal appeal to Pincay, at least for the moment. "Maybe later on, I don't know," he said, "but right now I don't feel like doing anything like that."

Asked about following in the footsteps of his 29-year-old son, Laffit III, an HRTV host, Laffit laughed and said, "I don't think that's my cup of tea."