Laffit Pincay Jr.
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Laffit Alejandro Pincay Jr. (born December 29, 1946 in Panama City, Panama) was once flat racing's winningest all-time jockey, still holding third place many years after his retirement. He competed primarily in the United States.
Pincay learned to ride by watching his father who was a jockey at many tracks in Panama and Venezuela. He began his riding career in his native Panama and in 1966 prominent horseman Fred W. Hooper and agent Camilo Marin sponsored him to come to the United States and ride under contract. He started his American career at Arlington Park in Chicago and won eight of his first eleven races. Pincay rose to national prominence almost immediately, winning riding titles and major stakes on both coasts. In 1968, he became only the second rider in Hollywood Park history to win six races on a single card. During his career, Pincay was voted the prestigious George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in 1970 that honors a rider whose career and personal conduct exemplifies the very best example of participants in the sport of thoroughbred racing. In 1996, he was voted the Mike Venezia Memorial Award for "extraordinary sportsmanship and citizenship". He has won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey on five occasions and was the United States' leading jockey seven times.
In 1973, Pincay rode Sham, and together they won that year's Santa Anita Derby and placed second in the Wood Memorial behind Angle Light but ahead of their main rival, Secretariat. Sham was considered the best horse in the west, and they were second choice in the Kentucky Derby, once again behind Secretariat. Secretariat won the race, but Sham finished second, just 2/5 of a second behind. In the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico, Sham was in striking distance in the stretch before losing to Secretariat by two lengths. In the Belmont, Pincay was instructed to keep Sham close to Secretariat. They traveled down the backstretch together, but Sham tired and fell back to finish last of five while Secretariat pulled away from the field for a 31-length victory.
Pincay married his first wife, Linda, in 1967. He and Linda had a daughter, Lisa, and a son, Laffit III. Lisa is the mother to his two grandchildren, Madelyn and Mason. Linda Pincay committed suicide in January 1985. He has a son, Jean Laffit Pincay, with his second wife, Jeanine. Laffit Pincay III is a horse-racing commentator for HRTV and NBC. In October 2007, he was loaned to ESPN to serve as the winner's circle interviewer at the 2007 Breeders' Cup at Monmouth Park. He currently resides in Arcadia, CA.
Awards and Records
In 2004, Hollywood Park Racetrack announced the creation of the Laffit Pincay Jr. Award to be presented annually on Hollywood Gold Cup Day that features the race he won a record nine times. The award was designed by American sculptor Nina Kaiser and is presented to someone who has served the horse racing industry with integrity, dedication, determination and distinction.
At the time of his retirement (in April 2003), he remained horse racing's winningest jockey, with 9,530 career victories. On December 1, 2006, Russell Baze passed Pincay on the all-time win list, and in February 2018, Brazilian jockey Jorge Ricardo surpassed Baze with career victory 12,843, at Gavea, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
He won the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes in 1984 aboard Swale. Pincay's win with Swale was his third consecutive Belmont victory, having ridden Conquistador Cielo and Caveat to victory in the previous two years. The four victories in the Triple Crown were the only times Pincay visited the winner's circle in those races; he never won the Preakness Stakes and failed to win another Triple Crown race after he rode Swale.
Pincay was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1975.
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- LAFFIT: Anatomy of a Winner is a 2009 biography written by Madelyn Cain
- Laffit Pincay at NNDB (accessed April 2, 2006)
- Laffit: All About Winning at IMDb. Documentary film that takes a look at Laffit's career and life experiences as a jockey. The movie was narrated by actor Kevin Costner.
- Laffit Pincay Jr. at the United States' National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame
- NTRA 2004 article - Hollywood Park announces Laffit Pincay Jr. Award