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Best of Horse Racing for 2000-2009

Jockeys

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2009 will close out the first decade of the new century, so it is time to look back and see who was the best horse racing had to offer over the last ten years. I will take a look at jockeys in this part, then trainers, and finally Thoroughbred race horses.

There have been many good jockeys over the past decade, but only four have managed to win the Outstanding Jockey Eclipse Award during that period. Three of them are still riding at the top of the ranks and one is now retired.

Also check out the best Trainers and Race Horses of the past decade.

Jerry Bailey

Jockey Jerry Bailey
© Vanessa Ng
Jerry Bailey was one of the best jockeys in the 1990's and continued to dominate the jockey ranks from 2000 through 2003. He won the Eclipse Award each of those years and set a record for single season stakes wins by a jockey in 2003 and a single-season purse earnings record in both 2002 and 2003. He retired in January 2006 with a total of 7 Eclipse Awards and 15 Breeders' Cup championship race wins, more than any other jockey. While he has ridden some great horses in prior decades, like Cigar, in 2000-2006 he had outstanding mounts such as Saint Liam, Pleasantly Perfect, Red Bullet, Empire Maker, Captain Steve, Street Cry, Summerly, Perfect Sting, and Medaglia d'Oro. He has gone on to work as a horse racing television commentator.

John Velazquez

Jockey John Velazquez
© Cindy Pierson Dulay
John Velazquez, who is the main rider for top trainer Todd Pletcher, rose to dominance in 2004 and won the Eclipse Award that year and in 2005. He has won seven Breeders' Cup championship races so far and some of his best mounts include Ashado, Speightstown, English Channel, Commentator, Wait a While, Game Face, and Rags to Riches. He hit the 4,000 career victory mark in September 2008.

Garrett Gomez

Jockey Garrett Gomez
© Cindy Pierson Dulay
Garrett Gomez is currently one of the hottest riders around. He was the Eclipse Award champion jockey in 2007 and 2008 and has won eight Breeders' Cup championship races so far, including four in 2008. He led the nation in earnings in 2008 and scored his 3,000th career win in September 2008. He also rides frequently for top trainer Todd Pletcher and some of the best horses he has ridden in this decade include Midnight Lute, Ventura, Indian Blessing, Artie Schiller, Colonel John, Go Between, Champs Elysees, Wait a While, Gio Ponti, and Nashoba's Key.

Edgar Prado

Jockey Edgar Prado
© Vanessa Ng
Edgar Prado is also one of the top jockeys currently riding and was the Eclipse Award winner in 2006 after his memorable season with Barbaro. Twice he has stopped Triple Crown attempts in the Belmont Stakes: in 2002 aboard Sarava (beating War Emblem) and 2004 aboard Birdstone (beating Smarty Jones). He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008 and has won three Breeders' Cup championship races so far. Some of the best horses he has ridden in this decade include Barbaro, Folklore, Silver Train, Round Pond, Benny the Bull, Tale of Ekati, Tough Tiz's Sis, Diamond Stripes, Monba, Bustin Stones, Dry Martini, and Kensei. While he always seems to be chasing the top spot and just missing, he still has to be considered one of the best out there.

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