Hall of Fame jockey Prado announces retirement

Retirement


When Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado decided to leave his native Peru to ride in the United States, the plan was to come and make money and become a lawyer for a few years.

But as is often the case with well-thought-out plans, love gets in the way.

Prado fell in love with the horse he was riding, and those years turned into nearly 40 years. Prado, now 56, told Bloodhorse on June 20 that he is retiring from thoroughbred racing to spend more time with his family.

“It was getting harder and harder and wasting my time with my family and loved ones,” he said.

Prado said the idea of ​​retiring had been on his mind for months, but he finally made the decision two days ago on Father’s Day.

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“I decided to call it quits after seeing my kids having fun at home,” he said. “I’ve been very blessed throughout my career.”

Prado’s last ride was January 6th Gulfstream Park But I was looking for a horse to ride. However, there was no chance. He said the lack of mounts is making it harder to thrive, much like golfers who go to the rink once a month.

“They all wanted a new jockey,” he said of the trainer. “It makes sense. When I was 20, I took someone’s place, and now someone’s taken my place.”

Replacing him would be difficult, even metaphorically.

Prado finished ninth in the North American jockey earnings of $272 million, $8,849. He takes his 7,119 wins in his 39,725 rides, his eighth win in North America. Prado won the Kentucky Derby (G1) on Barbaro in 2006, the Belmont Stakes (G1) on Barbaro in 2002, and the Belmont Stakes (G1) on Birdstone in 2002. These Belmont victories denied War Emblem and Smarty Jones the Triple Crown, respectively.

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Barbaro and jockey Edgar Prado ran under the famous Twin Towers to victory in the 132nd Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.
Photo: Skip Dickstein

Barbaro and jockey Edgar Prado win the 2006 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs

Prado rode Salava in the early 2000s, along with many other top horses trained by Kenny McPeak. Of Prado, he said, “He’s always done a great job for me and it’s always been a pleasure to work with Edgar. He should be really proud – really proud of what he’s done.” You must be thinking, he’s a really special guy.”

McPeak recalled instructions to Prado in the paddock before the 2002 Belmont Stakes as he prepared to ride Salava, who went 70-1.

“Shock the world,” McPeak told him.

The horse and jockey succeeded brilliantly, recording the biggest upset in Belmont Stakes history.

“His favorite instructions were ‘Good luck.’ Those were the ones he liked the most,” McPeak said.

Like any great rider, this was all Prado needed to hear and usually had the best of knowledge.

Leaving family and friends behind in 1986 to come to the United States was difficult, and Prado faced many obstacles along the way.

“It wasn’t easy,” he said.

His career eventually began in Maryland, where he found success before moving to New York in 1999, where he won 11 championship titles on the New York Racing Association circuit. Prado also won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey in 2006 when he won the Derby.

For the third consecutive year (1997-1999), he led the nation in wins. In 1997 he became the fourth jockey to achieve 500 or more wins in a year. Prado has also won the Breeders’ Cup five times.

Prado said some thought he should have retired 10 years ago. Looking back, he says his best decision was to listen to his heart. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have been able to ride a horse like the 2015 champion sprinter. run happy .

“He kept riding because he liked it, not because he had to,” McPeak said.

Prado, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008, said the process of retiring was also an opportunity to reflect on his career.

“It took a lot of effort. I was given nothing. I worked hard to prepare myself and improve. The higher I climbed the ladder, the tougher the competition,” he said. Told.

“I did my best. It was very competitive. Not because I wanted to win, but because I wanted to thank whoever gave me that opportunity at that particular moment, with that particular horse.”

– Additional reporting by Byron King



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