The yearly Thoroughbred Club of American (TCA) testimonial dinner honored Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron at their 85th annual celebration on September 25th. The event took place at Keeneland’s Lexington location, just across the road from the TCA.
A Lexington resident for the past 12 years, McCarron became the second jockey ever to be named the honored guest. The first was Bill Shoemaker in 1982. Of course, McCarron isn’t just a jockey. He’s also an equine and human care advocate, founder of the North American Riding Academy, and a High Hope Steeplechase Association board member. McCarron also belongs to the following organizations: American Horse Council, The Jockey Club, and Thoroughbred Farm Managers Club.
McCarron had the audience eating out of the palm of his hand, as he regaled them with stories of his racing past.
“I’m very proud of the 28 years I spent in the saddle because I helped thousands of owners, thousands of trainers, and tens of thousands of gamblers win races,” joked McCarron. “I want to thank the agents who represented me over the 28 years despite the fact they were only 25% of the effort. I’d like to posthumously thank Bill Shoemaker for taking off John Henry in 1983. I want to thank Pat Day for taking off Alysheba; Jerry Bailey for taking off Go for Gin; and Victor Espinoza for taking off Tiznow. Thank you guys! You furthered my career. And I’d like to give a big shout out to Gary Stevens for my bone-head decision of taking off Silver Charm after riding him twice. … I blame my agent for that because I paid him a lot of money to make those crucial decisions and he let me down.”
While there’s a time and place for jokes, McCarron also used his platform to be serious:
“I truly believe there is enough power in this room to cause some change to happen and for the good of the horse and for the good of the participants, and the integrity of the game, something has got to give.”