Steve Neff wins 1986 riding title at River Downs

Steve Neff wins 1986 riding title at River Downs

Pat Lang

Neff, Winner of More Than 3,000 Races, Dies

The jockey was often in the winner's circle at Cincinnati-area racetracks.

Steve Neff, who won multiple riding titles at River Downs and Latonia Race Course (now Turfway Park) in the greater Cincinnati, Ohio, area, died the week of June 26, said his friend and former riding colleague Clifton Schwing.

Neff won his riding titles in the 1970s and 1980s and eight times from 1976-87 won at least 200 races per season. He retired as a jockey in 1995 and then worked for Comair at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport; he worked one year as the clerk of scales at River Downs, now called Belterra Park Gaming.

Neff is credited with 3,678 wins from 27,951 mounts in his career, according to Equibase. He rode in the Inaugural Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) at Hollywood Park in 1984 aboard Ohio Horse of the Year Smart and Sharp, a 22-time winner who raced for Fleming Fraser.

Felix Chavez, now clerk of scales at Belterra Park and former jockey-turned-trainer, said of Neff: "We won over a dozen stakes races together. When you told Steve how you wanted a horse ridden, you didn't have to worry when you gave him a leg up. He would follow instructions perfectly every time."

According to Neff's daughter, Angela, his remains have been cremated and family services will take place in Pennsylvania.