When last seen on the Breeders' Cup stage, jockey Chris McCarron had captured his record fifth Classic with Tiznow's stirring nose victory over Sakhee at Belmont Park last fall.But with McCarron in retirement, the spotlight is firmly on Pat Day and Jerry Bailey, who along with McCarron have combined to win 13 of the 18 Classics and 12 of the past 14. Elbowing their way back toward center stage are veterans Mike Smith and Pat Valenzuela, riders who have earned their own Breeders' Cup glory, but have missed the limelight recently.McCarron completed his Hall of Fame career on June 23.He rode on every Breeders' Cup program except for 1986 when he was sidelined by a broken leg sustained less than a month before the Championships. He shares the top spot in total mounts with Day at 101; ranks second in all-time earnings behind Day ($17,669,600); stands third in victories with nine, and is one of 13 jockeys to win two Cup races on one day.The second Classic victory on Tiznow capped a stellar Breeders' Cup run that also included victories in the 1995 Turf (Northern Spur), '92 Juvenile (Gilded Time), '92 Distaff (Paseana) and the '85 Sprint (Precisionist)."I get excited all over again, especially the last couple of strides when Tom Durkin says Tiznow does it for America," McCarron said of seeing replays of last year's Classic. "That was the proudest moment for me."The only jockey to ride in all 18 Cup programs, Day has won 12 Breeders' Cup races, a mark he shares with Bailey. His mounts have earned a staggering $21,718,200.Day, whose last Breeders' Cup win came in last year's Distaff aboard Unbridled Elaine, will have six chances to enhance his portfolio Saturday, highlighted by Farda Amiga in the Distaff and With Anticipation in the Turf.Day's other mounts are Good Journey (Mile), Dollar Bill (Classic), Whywhywhy (Juvenile) and Day Trader (Sprint).Bailey, who ranks third in Breeders' Cup earnings with $13,699,400, will have seven chances Saturday, including possible favorites in the Classic (Medaglia d'Oro) and the Sprint (Orientate), to claim a unique spot in the Championships' record book. Bailey has ridden at least one Breeders' Cup winner the past four years, a feat matched by Smith (1992-95) and Corey
Nakatani (1996-99).Thirteen riders have won two Cup races on a single day, but Bailey and Smith are the only riders to have done it three times.Bailey is closing in on his second consecutive year with mounts earning more than $20 million. He stands at $19,319,500 through Oct. 21.Bailey's other rides Saturday are defending Filly & Mare Turf champion Banks Hill, Imperial Gesture (Distaff), Bull Market (Juvenile), Beat Hollow (Mile) and Santa Catarina (Juvenile Fillies).Smith, who counts Distaff favorite Azeri and Classic hopeful Came Home among his six mounts Saturday, is the only rider to have won six different Cup races. Smith won the Mile twice with Lure in 1992 and '93, the Distaff twice with Inside Information in '95 and Ajina in '97, plus the Sprint (Cherokee Run '94), the Classic (Skip Away '97), the Turf (Tikkanen '94) and the Juvenile (Unbridled's Song '95).Of the 10 jockeys who have won five or more Breeders' Cup races, Smith has the highest winning percentage (8 for 42, 19 percent). However, since he won the Distaff and Classic at Hollywood Park in 1997, he has had only six Cup mounts, missing the '98 Championships entirely because of a back injury sustained that summer at Saratoga.Smith is also scheduled to ride Composure (Juvenile Fillies), Kalookan Queen (Sprint), The Tin Man (Turf) and Vindication (Juvenile).Valenzuela, who has won six Cup races from 32 mounts for an 18.8 percent clip, ranks second to Smith for riders who have won five or more Cup races. He has not ridden in the Championships since 1993.Saturday he will ride in seven races, including the Filly & Mare Turf aboard Beverly D winner Golden Apples.Valenzuela's other mounts are Falcon Flight (Turf), Starrer (Distaff), Most Feared (Juvenile), Crafty C.T. (Sprint), Sea Jewel (Juvenile Fillies) and Del Mar Show (Mile).