Welcome To The Club

by Ed Meyer

posted on April 25, 2009 in General Discussion, News | 5 Comments >>

More than 5,000 wins and 35 years later, jockey Tim Doocy still loves his summer job.

When Prairie Meadows begins its 50-day thoroughbred meet at 6:30pm tonight, Doocy, 53, will be back in the saddle in a riding career that started in 1974.

Doocy grew up in Humboldt, Ia., and moved to Glenwood when he was a high school senior. He started working at the track in 1973, almost on a lark, and started riding in 1974.

On April 4th, he became just the 24th jockey in history to record his 5,000th victory, which came aboard Color Out at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas.

“To me, a win’s a win, but the 5,000 meant a lot to me,” Doocy said. “When I realized that number was possible, I really wanted to do it.

“I didn’t realize what a big deal it was until I got closer and people I didn’t even know came up and said, ‘I hope you get it here.’ I’ve been lucky to have longevity and to keep healthy.”

Winning 5,000 races is the sport’s equivalent of a pitcher winning 300 games in baseball.

Behind Doocy are some of racing’s greatest names, such as Gary Stevens (4,888 wins) Eddie Arcaro (4,779), Steve Brooks (4,451), Craig Perret (4,415), Eddie Maple (4,398), Walter Blum (4,382), Randy Romero (4,294), Bill Hartack (4,272) and Jose Santos (4,083).

“It’s definitely something to be proud of, and it couldn’t happen to a better guy,” said jockey Glenn Corbett. “He’s very modest, he doesn’t brag. He’s just a quality person and very deserving.”

He has won 484 times at Prairie Meadows and holds the track record for wins in a year with 132 in 2004. He was also the year’s winningest rider in 2006.

“He’s just good,” trainer Tim Gleason said. “He can stay in front or be anywhere on the racetrack and he has a chance. He’s always been one of the top riders.”

Growing up, Doocy’s sport was wrestling, and he made the 1974 state tournament in the 98-pound class.

While he was a junior in high school, the friend of an uncle introduced him to horse racing at Ak-sar-ben in Omaha. He began working at the track, doing everything from grooming horses to exercising them. Even then, he didn’t know how long it’d last.

“I was 17 years old,” he said. “I didn’t know. I wasn’t thinking about a career. It just worked out that way.”

But, he’s never thought of a second career.

“It’s the only thing I know,” he said. “I still love getting on horses. It’s the only thing I’ve done in 30 years, and I still love it.”

“I love the winners, but there’s nothing more rewarding than developing young horses and figuring out what makes them tick. The fun part about riding is trying to figure them out. How does he want to run? How do I get the best performance out of him? That’s what’s fun.”

He won his first race aboard Transfusion in July 1974 at the now-defunct Commodore Downs in Erie, Pa.

“I wasn’t successful early on,” Doocy said. “I made a living, but it was 10 years before I really started doing better. I just tried to work hard and treat people right.”

He started moving up when T.V. Smith, who was one of the Midwest’s top trainers, started giving him mounts. Doocy won the 1986 Cornhusker on Gourami, the 1990 Haskell Invitational with Restless Con, and the 2000 Hawthorne Gold Cup on Dust on the Bottle.

He also rode Dust on the Bottle in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, finishing 10th and was 11th in the 1999 Preakness aboard Torrid Sand.

Doocy won last year’s Iowa Breeders’ Derby aboard Kate’s Main Man, owned by Loretta McClintock of Centerville, Ia. She said she likes Doocy’s headiness.

“He’ll always give you the best ride he can give you,” McClintock said. “Most good jockeys not only know their horses, but they know what the other horses are doing in the race. He’ll rate his horse depending on what some of the others are doing.”

“He’s always fun to talk to after the race. He’ll give you a play-by-play of what happened.”

But he remembers his biggest win in racing coming off the track. He met his wife, Terry, in the paddock at Fonner Park in Nebraska. They were married in 1977.

“That was my best accomplishment in racing right there,” Doocy said.

5 Responses to “Welcome To The Club”

  1. Barbara says:

    What a great post, I am looking forward to more.

  2. RICARDO V RIOS says:

    DEAR FRIEND,
    HAVE NOT SEEN YOU SINCE 1992 ON SPECIALLY WRITTEN. I TRIED GOING OVER TO CHURCHILL AND EVERYBODY IS NOT AROUND ANYMORE. IM STUCK IN LEXINGTON AND TRYING TO GET WITH MY ROYAL MOTHER OVERSEAS. LOT OF ELLEGAL THINGS GOING ON IN RACING INDUSTRY AND THEY ARE NOT CHECKING PEOPLE OUT THE RIGHT WAY AND WE HAVE LOST ALOT OF FRIENDS KEEP QUITE I MISS ALL THE OWNERS AND I KNOW ABOUT MY TITLES. I LIKE GARY STEVENS AND ALL THE PEOPLE AND THRYING HARD AND WILL GIVE YOU DETAILS ONCE I GET OUT OF LEXINGTON. THEY STOLE EVERYTHING I HAD IN LIFE. WENT FROM RICH TO POOR. YES , IM RICKY RIOS LONGCHAMP AND I MISS EVERYONE FROM LONGACRES. WE NEED TO DO BETTER INVESTIGATIONS AND WE ARE LOSING TO MANY IN INDUSTRY. I WANT TO GO TO KEMPTON PARK
    BY NEXT YEAR AND MAKE THET THE RICHEST RACING IN HISTORY. WORK ALL TOGETHER FOR SYNDICATION AND PROSSPER FOR EVERYONES BENIFIT. YES, I MAKE RACE CALLS. I LIKE YOU AND FAMILY STAY SAFE. RICKY RIOS

  3. RICARDO V. RIOS says:

    DEAR TIM DOOCY,
    YES , IM RICKY FROM LONGACRES. IN THE PHOTO FROM SPECIALY WRITTEN.
    THERE WAS A CRIME SPREE GOING ACROSS STATES AND I DONT TALK ABOUT IT AND I WENT OVER TO CHURCHILL TO GET HELP ON TEMP BASIS AND WANTED TO MEET STAFF. IM LOCATED IN LEXINGTON AND IM HOPING TO GET BACK TO WASHINGTON STATE. IM BROKE AND HAVE MANY CHECKS AT VA. I LOVE TWIN SPIRES AND LOST EVERYTHING TO THESE CORRUPT GROUPS. I LOST THE WHOLE HOUSE WITH BELONGINGS AND WE LOST PEOPLE IN THE INDUSTRY. I LOVE THE KARRILAS AND I KNOW EVERYONE AND ALL THE PREVIOUS OWNERS AND THEY PUT ME IN THERE WILLS AND I DONT TALK ABOUT IT. I LOVE KEMPTON AND WANTED THE INDUSTRY TO GO FORWARD WITH ALL NEW IDEAS. I MISS GARY STEVENS AND WANTED TO MEET HIM. I KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO JOCKEYS AND OWNERS AND THERE FAMILYS AND KEEPING QUITE. I WAS LOOKING FOR MY FAMILY AND THEY WHERE ON VACATION. ITS OK ILL MEET WITH YOU DOWN THE RODE AND RESPECT THE BAFFERTS. IM LONGCHAMP FROM LONGACRES AND ENGLAND MY MOM IS ROYALTY. I MISS ANTHONY AND HEARD HES OVER THERE. I CANT STAND THESE PEOPLE THAT LIED AND TRIED TO TAKE OVER RACING FACILITIES AND THEY WHERE NOT WHO THEY SAID THEY WHERE. THE FAKE KATHALEEN WHITLEY CLAIMED TO BE AIRS TO EVERY FACILITY. I MISS ALL THESE GOOD PEOPLE OUT OF KEEENLAND ALOT HAVE MOVED ON. IM HOPING TO GET BACK TO WASHINGTON STATE AND GET BACK TO COMPANY AND THEN ILL GET THOSE IDEAS BACK TO THE THOROUGHBRED BOARD. ALL THOSE IDEAS WILL WORK AND IM ANGERED AT SIPHONING FROM TRACKS. CANT TELL YOU WHO IM WORKING WITH AND I CRIED FOR ALL THE PEOPLE THAT WHERE DISCEASED.
    I BELEIVE IN ALL YOU JOCKEYS AND THE BAZES AND THE MANAGERS AND THE LAST RACE CALLERS. IM HOPING WE CAN TURN THINGS AROUND AND WE MAY BUILD UP EUROPE AT KEMPTON PARK WITH THERE PERMISSION. IT IS OUTSTANDING AND WE WILL SLOWLY GET THESE FACILITIES BACK TO NORMAL
    WITH FOLDERS AND GOOD INVESTIGATIONS AND TEACH PEOPLE HOW TO ADD TO THE INDUSTRY IN MARKETING. I HAVE TO GO BACK TO MY COMPANY WE LOST ALOT OF EXECUTIVES. IM REINSTATED AND HOPING THEY SEND ME SOUTH. ILL GET A HOLD OF YOU ONCE I STAERT WORKING AGAIN. SOME HAVE BEEN USING MY NAME ILLEGALY AND ITS FRAUD AND GETTING AWAY WITH THINGS. I WANTED SO BAD TO MEET ALL THE PEOPLE I HAVE NOT MET AND ITS BEEN A LONG TIME AND I WAS FEDERAL AND GOING TO COLLEGE. IM BROKE AND HOPING I GET CHECK TO GO NORTH AND MEET MY SECURITY DIRECTOR AND ILL BE REISTATED. THE CLOSE BY PEOPLE HAVE BEEN HELPING. I WENT FROM RICH TO POOR AND THEY DID THIS TO ME.
    THANKYOU,
    RICKY RIOS
    LONGCHAMP
    P.S. I LIVED IN ENGLAND AND MY MOTHER IS FROM GERMANY. I MISS RACING PART TIME AND MISS ART SHELLER. LOVE THE QUEEN AND HER FAMILY. MY MOM COMES FROM THE 1890 OF THAT PERIOD. IT WAS GREAT MEETING YOU
    AND TONY IT MENT THE WORLD TO ME AND IM TRUSTED.

  4. Marilyn neff says:

    Still missing you at Oaklawn. It’s not the same w/o you.
    Hope ur doing fine. An Oaklawn fan.

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