|Jockey Pat Day named Outstanding American by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame|
By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
STILLWATER, Okla. - Kentucky Derby winning jockey Pat Day has been named to the Hall of Outstanding Americans by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum.
The Hall of Outstanding Americans demonstrates wrestling's pride in those who have used the disciplines of the sport to launch notable careers in other walks of life, such as science and technology, business and industry, government and the military, the arts and humanities, among others. New classes of these remarkable achievers are inducted annually.
Day, of Louisville, Ky., is one of the greatest professional jockeys in history, and was inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in 1991. In 2005, after a 32-year riding career, he announced his retirement from the sport. Throughout his career, he won 8,804 races, fourth on the all-time list. He earned an estimated $297,941,912 through racing, and passed the retired Chris McCarron as the all-time earnings leader in 2002.
Day was raised in the small ranching community of Eagle, Colo. and dreamed of becoming a professional rodeo performer. But after two years on the circuit, his small stature convinced him to become a jockey. Day had his first winner in 1973 at Prescott Downs in Arizona, and continued racing for over three decades.
He led the country in victories six times, with a best of 484 in 1983, and won the Eclipse Award as the nation's top jockey four times between 1984 and 1991. He received the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in 1985 and the Mike Venezia Award in 1995.
He won the 1992 Kentucky Derby aboard Lil E. Tee and was a runner-up at the Kentucky Derby four times. He is the all-time leading rider at Churchill Downs with 2,481 victories, where he once won seven races in one day. He has won the Preakness five times, the Belmont three times, 12 Breeder's Cup races, the Travers three times and the Washington D.C. International.
In 1991, when he was elected to the Racing Hall of Fame, he held the record for Stakes won with 60. That same year, he also won the Canadian Triple Crown on Dance Smartly.
As a wrestler at Eagle Valley High School in Gypsum, Colo., Day posted a career record of 77-7. Four of Day's seven losses came during his freshman campaign. As a sophomore and a senior, he finished as the state's runner-up. Day capped his wrestling career with a state championship as a junior.
He now spends his time working with the Race Track Chaplaincy of America.