HomeBreeders Cup Experiences BlogThe Top 8 Winningest American Horse Racing Jockeys of All Time

The Top 8 Winningest American Horse Racing Jockeys of All Time

By Victoria Barnett December 18, 2015

Derby-Experiences-Racing-163-770038-edited.jpgTo continue with the 12 Days of Quintmas, we’re going to look at some of the most beloved jockeys in horse racing history.

We have seen a tremendous amount of success from these jockeys over the years, and they certainly deserve plenty of praise and recognition. So which jockeys reign supreme? Take a look below at the top eight winningest American horse racing jockeys of all time.

Jockey

Starts

Wins

Seconds

Thirds

Winning %

Earnings

Russell A. Baze*

53,125

12,724

9,496

7,786

23.95%

$197,519,806

Laffit A. Pincay, Jr.

48,486

9,530

7,784

6,650

19.66%

$237,120,625

William “Bill” Shoemaker

40,350

8,833

6,136

4,987

21.89%

$123,375,524

Pat Day

40,305

8,803

6,861

5,688

21.84%

$297,934,732

David A. Gall

41,775

7,396

6,525

6,131

17.7%

$24,972,821

Chris J. McCarron

34,241

7,141

5,670

4,672

20.86%

$263,986,005

Angel Cordero, Jr.

38,658

7,057

6,136

5,359

18.25%

$164,570,627

Edgar S. Prado*

37,723

6,874

5,994

5,235

18.22%

$258,527,893

*Still Active

Updated 12/30/15. 

Russell A. Baze

Russell Baze began his racing career as soon as he turned 16, due in part to his racing family. In fact, his father was a jockey himself and trained the horse Baze captured his first win on. Now, he’s been racing for over 40 years and is the all-time winningest jockey in history with 12,717 wins in 53,111 starts. The 1999 Hall of Famer has had participations in the Kentucky Derby and other Grade 1 races, but typically you’ll find him in the lower end spectrum of racing, in particular at Golden Gate Fields.

Laffit A. Pincay, Jr.

Derby-Experiences-Lafit-Pincay-Meet-and-Greet-02.jpgLaffit Pincay, Jr. is known as one of the greatest jockeys in history with 9,530 wins in 48,486 starts. He began racing in Panama – he learned from his father who was a jockey – before heading to the United States in 1965. During his career, Pincay won the Kentucky Derby, three Belmonts, seven Breeders’ Cup events and seven national championships. He also became the youngest rider at the time to be inducted into the Hall of Fame and the first jockey to hit the 9,000 mark. Pincay was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1975.

William “Bill” Shoemaker

Bill Shoemaker was among horse racing’s most renowned jockeys. During his career, he rode the winners of 11 Triple Crown races – the Kentucky Derby 4 times, the Preakness Stakes twice and the Belmont Stakes five times. Ten times he was America's leading jockey in earnings won; five times he was the leading jockey in races won. In 1958, he was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. After his final race in 1990, Shoemaker led the life of a trainer at Santa Anita before retiring in November 1997. He passed away at age 72 in 2003.

Pat Day

Pat Day began his athletic career as a wrestler and then later as a bull rider before going a different direction with riding thoroughbreds. He earned his first win in 1973, and by the late 70’s he was at the top of the national standings and the leading rider at Churchill Downs. He won the Kentucky Derby once, the Preakness five times and the Belmont Stakes three times, and he also won twelve Breeders’ Cup events. He sports a number of professional honors including four Eclipse Awards and induction into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1991.

Derby-Experiences-Pat-Day-Meet-and-Greet-02.jpgDavid A. Gall

David Gall began his career in Canada before making his home at Fairmont Park in Illinois. He once won eight races on a 10-race card, a record he shares with six other riders. Gall never rode in a Breeders’ Cup or Triple Crown race, and for the most part, stayed out of the limelight even when he was America’s leading rider in terms of victories in 1979 and 1981. He was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1993 and remained in the industry as a trainer and owner.

Chris J. McCarron

Derby-Experiences-Chris-McCarron-Meet-Greet-01.jpgChris McCarron began riding professionally in 1974 and won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Apprentice Jockey in the same year. He won nine Breeders’ Cup events, five of which were the Breeders’ Cup Classic. McCarron also won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes twice each. During his career, this 1989 Hall of Famer led American jockeys in earnings four times and in wins three times. After retiring in 2002, he served as a technical advisor and had an acting role in the movie, “Seabiscuit.”

Angel Cordero, Jr.

Angel Cordero began his racing career in Puerto Rico in 1960 before moving to the United States two years later. He was quite the competitor and became known as the “King of Saratoga” with 14 riding titles, including 11 in a row. He captured three wins in the Kentucky Derby, two wins in the Preakness and one win in the Belmont. Cordero also won four Breeders’ Cup races and was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1988.

Edgar S. Prado

Edgar Prado was born into a racing family in Peru and began his career in 1983. He was America’s leading jockey in wins three times and in 1997 became the fourth jockey ever to win as many as 500 races in one year (535). His accomplishments include a victory in the Kentucky Derby, two wins in the Belmont and four wins in the Breeders’ Cup. Prado has won several awards including the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey in 2006 and was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 2008.

Looking Ahead to the 2016 Breeders’ Cup®

The 2015 Breeders’ Cup was one of the best events of the year, and we are already looking forward to next year. We know we will see plenty of talent from some of our favorite jockeys. Who knows, they could be making history!

Next year, the Breeders’ Cup will return to Santa Anita with a whole new set of contenders. Although ticket packages for next year have yet to be released, you can sign up for our quick call back list and be one of the first to know when they are available!

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Kristen Doolan

Kristen Doolan was born and raised a Florida State Seminole. Making her way from Florida to North Carolina, Kristen achieved her B.S. in Business Administration, Marketing at The University of North Carolina Wilmington. She is an avid traveler, college football addict, beach bum and loves spending time with her family and friends. 

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Jazzy Morgan is originally from London, England and a die-hard Manchester United Fan. She grew up in Connecticut and made the move down south in 2011 where she attended Winthrop University and received her B.S. in Family & Consumer Sciences and a minor in Marketing. Jazzy enjoys traveling, working out, reading her monthly Vogue & Cosmo and keeping up with fashion trends.

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Evan Chronis was born in Omaha, Nebraska but has made his home in south Charlotte for almost two decades. A Tar Heel born and bred, Evan received his B.A in Media and Journalism from UNC-Chapel Hill. He is an avid Boston sports fan thanks to his family’s New England roots, and a fanboy of Wes Anderson films.