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Steve Cauthen

Steve Cauthen
Induction Year: 
Number of Mounts: 
Number of Winners: 
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   Steve Cauthen was born May 1, 1960 in Covington, Ky. His father was a trainer and a farrier, which along with his small size made race-riding a logical career choice for Cauthen. 

   Cauthen rode his first race on May 12, 1976 at Churchill Downs, finishing last. Success, however, came quickly. He rode his first winner (Red Pipe) less than a week later at River Downs, and in 1977 was the nation’s leader in wins with 487. In only his second year of riding, he became the first jockey to win $6 million in a single season, passing that mark in December of 1977 on a 3-year-old filly named Little Happiness at Aqueduct. After that, he was called “The Six Million Dollar Man” and “Stevie Wonder.”

   In 1977, Cauthen won numerous awards, including Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year, Sporting News Sportsman of the Year, Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year, and ABC’s Wide World of Sports Athlete of the Year. In the same year, he won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Apprentice Jockey and the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey in the United States.

  In 1978, Cauthen became the youngest jockey to ever win the U. S. Triple Crown, riding Hall of Famer Affirmed to victories in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes.
   As he grew older, Cauthen had increasing problems making weight. In 1979, he moved to England, where jockeys normally compete at higher weights, and became a highly successful rider there, as well as in Ireland, France, Germany, and Italy. Cauthen won on his first mount in England when Marquee Universal prevailed in the Grand Foods Handicap at Salisbury Racecourse on April 7, 1979. 

   Cauthen was British Champion Jockey three times, and won 10 European classic races, including the 2,000 Guineas, the Epsom Derby twice, and the St. Leger Stakes three times. He also won the Irish Oaks twice, and in 1989 rode European Horse of the Year Old Vic to victory in the French Derby and the Irish Derby. In 1991, he won the Derby Italiano on Hailsham.

   Other notable races won by Cauthen include the Whitney Handicap, Hopeful Stakes, Sanford Stakes, Futurity Stakes, Laurel Futurity, San Felipe Stakes, Jim Dandy Stakes, United Nations Handicap, 1,000 Guineas, Ascot Gold Cup (2), Middle Park Stakes (4), Epsom Oaks (3), and Grand Prix de Paris (2).

   Cauthen was presented the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in 1984.

   Steve Cauthen was inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in 1994.