Jerry D. Bailey
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Jerry D. Bailey (born August 29, 1957 in Dallas, Texas) is a retired American Hall of Fame jockey. He began his racing career in November 1974. His first mount was on a horse named Pegged Rate, who ran off the board. He notched his first career win the next day on his second career mount, Fetch, at New Mexico's Sunland Park, and has gone on to win 5,892 races. Among his numerous wins, he can boast the New York Handicap Triple in 1984, six victories in American Classic Races races, and a record 15 wins in Breeders' Cup races, including five Breeders' Cup Classics. Three of his Breeders' Cup Classic wins were consecutive (1993–1995). Bailey is perhaps most famous among racing fans as the regular rider of 1990s great Cigar.
In his 2005 book titled Against The Odds, Bailey wrote about his battles with alcoholism that affected a large part of his early career.
When the 2003 Thoroughbred racing Eclipse Awards were handed out on January 26, 2004, Jerry Bailey was proclaimed the outstanding jockey in North America for an unprecedented seventh time (1995–1997 and 2000–2003); in 1997 he had been the first jockey to win three consecutive Eclipse Awards.
Bailey is also known for his controversial run in the 2004 Belmont Stakes atop Eddington. Smarty Jones, considered a strong favorite that year for the Triple Crown, ended up losing to Birdstone. Later careful study of the video replays gave rise to accusations that Bailey and another jockey had colluded to deny Smarty Jones the victory—that is, they rode not to win, but to defeat someone else. Although not against the rules, this kind of riding is considered highly unethical, and bad for the sport since Triple Crown winners are so rare. One jockey wrote "[Bailey's] ride in the Belmont Stakes, however, on a live contender, was a disgrace to horse racing. Bailey sacrificed himself only to beat Smarty Jones and jockey Stewart Elliott."  Of course it could be argued that, with Smarty Jones the horse to beat, Bailey wasn't winning anything that day if he did not beat him. In any case, Bailey was that rare jockey who could win on any racetrack in the world and must be conceded as the greatest American jockey of his time.
In 1992, Bailey was selected for the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award, arguably the top lifetime achievement award for North American jockeys. In 1993, he was voted the Mike Venezia Memorial Award for "extraordinary sportsmanship and citizenship". He was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1995.
Jerry Bailey was one of the first of five top jockeys to wear advertising patches in the Kentucky Derby, starting in 2004. They sued on First Amendment grounds, to be allowed to wear ad patches during the race. The ruling was issued on April 21, 2004, by U.S. District Judge John Heyburn in Louisville.
The patches, worth approximately $30,000 apiece, were legal in other Triple Crown states of New York and Maryland, but were argued by The Kentucky Horse Racing Authority that they might lead to corruption and violated racing tradition.
Jerry Bailey announced his retirement on January 19, 2006, at age 48, with his last race on January 28. His 5,892 wins which placed him 15th on the all-time list, and his mounts have earned more than $295 million, good for second all time. Pat Day leads with nearly $298 million. Bailey currently is involved in racing in a number of capacities, most notably worked as a commentator for ESPN at major televised races. Jerry is now on the NBC Sports Network covering Triple Crown races and Derby Prep races for them as a commentator.
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|Jockeys' Guild President
Gary L. Stevens
- Jerry Bailey with Tom Pedulla. Against The Odds: Riding for my life (2005) G.P. Putnam's Sons ISBN 0-399-15273-3
- Del Mar Media Guide
- Jerry Bailey's official website
- Bio at NTRA.com
- Profile at Racing Hall of Fame
- USA Today Derby Jockeys Can Wear Ads