Veteran Illinois-based jockey Ray Sibille, whose career has spanned 3 1/2 decades, said he's retiring July 21 after the fifth race at Arlington Park.
Sibille finished fifth in his final ride aboard Above the Harbor for trainer Donnie Von Hemel. It was Sibille's only ride of the day.
"It isn't something I wanted to do," Sibille said. "It's just one of those things. My doctors told me it was time. It just has to happen. I've been in too much pain. However, if you'd have told me back when I rode my first horse in 1969 that I'd still be riding in 2004, I'd have told you that you were crazy."
Sibille, 51, is from Sunset, La. He has maintained a rigorous physical fitness schedule for years to extend his riding career, but has now been scheduled for hip replacement surgery Aug. 24.
"I'll go back to Louisiana and begin an extensive rehabilitation schedule once the surgery is over," Sibille said.
Official totals from Equibase list Sibille with 4,264 wins from 36,858 mounts heading into the July 21 program. His mounts have earned almost $69 million since his career began in 1969.
Among the highlights of his career is a riding championship at Arlington in 1980 and a perfect one-for-one record in Breeders' Cup competition. He rode Great Communicator to victory in the 1988 Breeders' Cup Turf
(gr. IT) at Churchill Downs.
Sibille is the fourth-leading jockey in Arlington history with 981 wins.