Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day

Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day

Anne M. Eberhardt

Hall of Famer Day Retires; To Assist With Racetrack Chaplaincy Program

Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day, racing's all-time money leading rider, has retired from the saddle and will assume a role in ministering to youth groups and assisting the Race Track Chaplaincy of America program.

Doc Danner, Day's agent, said the decision by the 51-year-old Day was not related to the hip surgery Day had in the spring, noting that the jockey had taken a sabbatical to ponder his future and concluded that it was best for him to retire.

"He went on a sabbatical and the Lord assured him it was time to move on and pursue a different direction in his life," Danner said.

Day will officially announce his retirement Thursday during a press conference at Churchil Downs.

Danner said it is unlikely Day will pursue any other role in the industry, such as becoming a trainer or racetrack steward.

Speculation about Day's future mounted earlier this week when Day's wife Sheila said her husband was at a cabin on the Kentucky River "doing some soul searching."

Day, who started racing in 1973, is racing's leading career money earner with purses totaling $297,912,019, according to industry record-keeper Equibase.

His 8,803 career victories rank fourth and trail only Russell Baze among active riders. He won 23 races this spring at Churchill, putting him 10th in the jockey standings and lifting his career total to a Churchill-best 2,481.