Happy 65th Birthday, Ironman!

by Ed Meyer

posted on July 10, 2019 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | No Comments >>

Perry Ouzts

My Dad was a hard worker all his life. – When I was a kid I used to be amazed at how strong he was and the amount of work he could handle. – ” Iron doesn’t rust.” – That was one of his many lines about how he was in such good shape. – If the old saying holds true about iron. Perry Ouzts is going to ride forever.

At 65-years-young, he just notched his first win on an eight-race card. – When Perry notches that first one there’s usually more to follow. – You won’t find him doing a flying dismount a la Frankie Dettori, or talking smack on his way to the winner’s circle. – When he wins, he jogs back very slow and savors the moment like a vintage wine or a fine cigar. He’s been there before and is one win away from tying Angel Cordero as the 7th leading rider in history. Not a bad day at the office.

Around horseracing tracks, he is nicknamed the “Workingman’s Hero” or, for his unique riding style, “Scoot N’ Boot.” He has also been noted for overcoming numerous potentially career-ending injuries.

Ouzts has had his share of near career-ending accidents. In 1992, during an event at River Downs, the race was stopped because Ouzts’s horse stumbled near the starting gate, throwing him off. Ouzts was kicked in the face, resulting in a broken jaw, nose, and shoulder. The most damaging injury Ouzts suffered happened in January 2006 at Turfway Park. Finders Chance, Ouzts’s horse that day, came to a sudden halt at the track’s quarter-pole, and Ouzts was thrown to Turfway Park’s Polytrack, part of the track’s synthetic racing surface. Another horse clipped his right arm, snapping the bone. This accident left Ouzts with four cracked and one crushed vertebrae. However, three surgeries and eleven months later, he made one of the most remarkable comebacks of any professional jockey. In his debut race after the incident, Ouzts finished second while riding Divine Dancer at the same Turfway Park. In 2009 and 2010, he won the summertime meets at River Downs.

Perry Ouzts was born in Lepanto on July 7, 1954, but was raised primarily in Rivervale (Poinsett County). During his years in Rivervale, Ouzts began riding horses with his cousins Earlie and Jackie Fires. Earlie Fires was eventually inducted into the Hall of Fame of Jockeys, while Jackie’s career ended when his body was crushed during a horse race in 1977, paralyzing him. Ouzts began riding professionally in the spring of 1973 at Beulah Park.  -Ouzts’ first career victory came in March 1973 while riding Rablu at Beulah Park in Grove City, Ohio. Ouzts holds a record of eighteen meet titles at River Downs in Cincinnati, Ohio, and eleven meet titles at Beulah Park.

Happy Birthday, Perry! – I’ve been watching with amazement for years, and wish you health, happiness, and many more trips to the winner’s circle. – Best of luck my friend!