Whenever racing people gather for a chat about the racing world, one of the names sure to be mentioned is that of American jockey, Steve Cauthen, for although he only rode on this side of the world between 1979 and 1992, he left truly enduring memories of his undoubted brilliance in the saddle all over Europe. Riding for many of the top trainers, although mainly for Henry Cecil, who in 1969, had taken over the stable of his step-father, Sir Cecil Boyd-Rochfort, and was making a decent job of it.
In 1979 Cauthen and Cecil set up a partnership that was to take them to the strathosphere of the racing world, for their golden touch seemed infallible.
Steve Cauthen was born in Covington, Kentucky, on 1 May, 1960, into a racing environment, as his father was both a trainer and a blacksmith. He was destined to be a jockey from the very outset, and rode in his first race in May, 1976, at Churchill Downs, finishing last on a horse called King of Swat.
About a week later, he rode his first winner, Red Pipe, at the nearby River Downs course, which was the beginning of a winning spree that was to take his first season in racing by storm. As he was naturally a lightweight rider, his choice of mounts from then onward covered a very wide area, and his ride to the upper echelons of the sport was somewhat meteoric, to say the least.
In 1977, his second year on the track, he became the first jockey to win $6m in a season, and was soon christened by the media as the 'Six Million Dollar Man' and 'Stevie Wonder'. At the end of that year, he won many more awards, including Top Apprentice of 1977 in the United States.
In 1978, continuing on his winning way, Steve really got into the big time, winning the American Triple Crown on Affirmed.
Established now, but maturing with age, Steve began getting into the dreaded jockey's trouble of increasing weight, and, after a short period trying to cope with this problem, in a brave move, decided to look up his racing contacts in Britain, knowing that the weights in the racing there were on a much heavier scale than in the USA.
Steve reckoned that he could more easily cope with his weight problems under the regime as practiced on this side of the world, so, over he came in March, 1979, to ride as first jockey to Henry Cecil, who was flourishing as one of the top ten trainers in Britain.
In late March, the flat season began, with the Cauthen magic not taking long to make its mark, for, at Salisbury racecourse, he won on his very first ride, Marquee Universal, on April 7, 1979, which was trained by Barry Hills.
Cauthen's season on this side of the world yielded one Classic winner, Tap on Wood, in the 2000 Guineas, trained by Cecil, of course. The jockey and trainer established a good working rapport gradually throughout that season, with their solid partnership taking the American into the jockey's top ten.
Over the years up to his returning to America in the mid-nineties, Cauthen's success list was very impressive indeed. He became British Champion Jockey on three occasions, '84, '85, and '87. He won two Epsom Derbys, on Slip Anchor in '85, and Reference Point in '87. The Oaks, Oh So Sharp in '85, Diminuendo in '88, and Snow Bride '89. The St Leger, Oh So Sharp in '85, Reference Point '87, and Michelozzo '89.
The 1000 Guineas with Oh So Sharp in '85, and the 2000 Guineas with Tap On Wood in '79. All of these tot up into 12 Classic races won in Britain, and when you add to these his Irish Derby win with Old Vic in '89, two Irish Oaks with Diminuendo '88, and Possessive Dancer '91, and an Irish Leger with Marsallah in '92, it brings the combined total to 16 Classic wins in all.
He is the only jockey in history to win both Triple Crowns, in the USA with Affirmed in 1978, and in Britain with Oh So Sharp in 1985. Cauthen retired from race riding in the mid-1990s and went home to Kentucky, where he was appointed executive at his local track, Turfway Park.
In 1992, he married Amy, also from Kentucky, and they have three daughters. Although only a relatively short time on this side of the pond, Steve Cauthen will always be remembered as one of the best jockeys ever.
Your Friday Trio for this week is:- Terdaad (2-55 Asc.) danger Mont Angel, Highland Castle (4-05 Asc.) danger Barbican, and Seal Rock ( 5-15 Asc.) danger Al Aasifh.
Good luck, keep safe, and good hunting!