Patrick Alan "Pat" Day (born October 13, 1953 in Brush, Colorado) is an American jockey. He is a four-time winner of the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey and was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1991. Day also received the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in 1985, given annually to a North American jockey who demonstrates the highest standards of professional and personal conduct. In 1995, he was voted the Mike Venezia Memorial Award for "extraordinary sportsmanship and citizenship".
Pat Day was known for being a patient rider with gentle hands, and for not using a horse more than he had to. Because Day often arrived at the wire too late, he was given unflattering nicknames—Pat (I'll Wait All) Day, and Patient Pat. He often looked too passive, and his deliberate riding style of waiting and waiting, then making a move, and waiting again, frustrated trainer D. Wayne Lukas, and many fans and bettors. He also drew criticism by riding tentatively, and stopping and starting with many of his mounts.
Day has ridden winners of U.S. Triple Crown races nine times. Day was quoted in a recent interview on the TVG Network's "Legends" program that Easy Goer was the best horse he ever rode in his career. In 1999 he rode Menifee, who placed directly behind Charismatic in both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. Prior to the Belmont Stakes, where Menifee failed to place in the top three and Charismatic broke down in the final furlong, their rivalry was compared to that of Affirmed and Alydar in 1978.
In 1991, Pat Day won the Canadian Triple Crown and the Breeders' Cup Distaff aboard the future Hall of Fame filly Dance Smartly. He is the only jockey to have ridden at least one mount in each of the first 20 Breeders' Cups, and ranks second all-time in Breeders' Cup winners, with 12.
Day is also the all-time leading rider at Churchill Downs and Keeneland Race Course, the two largest tracks in his adopted home state of Kentucky. At the Downs, Day was often so dominant that veteran horseplayers would complain — bettors would often wager so much money on horses with Day in the saddle that the payoff odds would decline.
In 1989, he set a North American record when he won eight of nine mounts in a single day at Arlington Park.
Early in his career, he had serious substance abuse problems with both drugs and alcohol, but became a born-again Christian in the early 1980s. He has been involved with the Race Track Chaplaincy of America since his conversion, and is currently the racing industry's representative on the board of that organization.
After undergoing hip surgery that forced him to miss the Derby for the first time in 21 years, Day announced his retirement on August 3, 2005 after a 32-year career that saw him ride 8,804 winners, fourth on the all-time list, and set a North American record for prize money won, with his mounts earning nearly USD 298 million. He said he would retire and commit the rest of his life purely to spreading the Gospel.
Day and his family reside in the Lake Forest subdivision in Louisville, Kentucky.
Lil E. Tee was an American-bred Thoroughbred racehorse who in 1992 scored one of the biggest upsets in the history of the Kentucky Derby. His jockey was Pat Day; This was Pat Day's first and only Kentucky Derby victory.
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- Privman, Jay (May 3, 1992). "KENTUCKY DERBY : Day Makes the Right Choice : Jockey: The man who passed up rides on Alysheba and Unbridled gets first Derby victory in 10 tries". The Los Angeles Times.
- Drape, Joe (2001). The Race for the Triple Crown: Horses, high stakes, and eternal hope. Joe Drape.
- Christine, Bill (November 8, 1989). "HORSE RACING : Maybe It's Time Easy Goer Gets a Different Rider". The Los Angeles Times.
- Moran, Paul (September 19, 1989). "Easy Goer Shows He Won't Easily Be Beaten". The Los Angeles Times.
Gary L. Stevens
|Jockeys' Guild President
Tomey Jean Swan