Chris McCarron has joined Team Valor International and will be part of the executive team of the far-flung organization. He starts this week and will be involved at Churchill Downs, where the operation races three runners (two in stakes) this week in Louisville.
“As a Hall of Fame inductee and as the rider of such legendary racehorses as Alysheba and John Henry, Chris is one of the most recognizable people in racing,” CEO Barry Irwin said. “But it is for his abilities as a communicator, his horsemanship and his drive as an organizer that he has been brought aboard.
“I have worked alongside Chris as part of the initiative to introduce Federal legislation to rein in the use of legal and illegal drugs in our sport and I have been very impressed with his communication skills and his passion for the best aspects of our game.”
McCarron said “I’m excited to be joining Team Valor International. TVI is one of the most successful syndicate operations in the history of our sport and I hope to add value to the efforts in acquiring and racing some of the finest horses in the world, as well as getting to know its racing partners and helping to introduce newcomers to horse racing.”
The legendary rider’s most recent major career achievement in racing came when he realized a nearly lifelong dream of establishing and nurturing America’s first school for jockeys. Named the North American Racing Academy, it is the only school where aspiring jockeys can earn a college degree. McCarron started NARA in 2006 and left it in safe hands in 2014.
After retiring from a record-breaking and storied career as a jockey, McCarron served a stint as general manager at Santa Anita. He regularly serves as an on-air personality and is a popular speaker at corporate events throughout the country.
Irwin said “I saw firsthand the dedication and energy that Chris brought to the task of establishing the riding academy. I don’t know too many people that had the unique skill set to pull off that venture. We would like to tap into those talents at Team Valor.”
The Hall of Fame jockey rode many of TVI’s most successful runners, including Grade 1 winners Golden Ballet and The Deputy, best in the Oaks and Derby at Santa Anita. But their mutual involvement began in 1978 when McCarron upon arrival in California won back-to-back races at Del Mar aboard Irwin’s second racehorse, a filly named Sorcerer.
McCarron will continue to be based in Lexington, Kentucky, where he has family and has lived for the past several years. He is, however, expected to travel to races and various promotional events as a spokesperson for Team Valor.
Team Valor is in the process of reshaping aspects of the company. Recently, Godolphin Flying Start student Jessica Berry, who graduates in July, was hired as part of the executive team. Also, TVI announced last week that it would start unwinding its involvement in South African racing and breeding which is comprised of 65 horses.
The international racing stable currently campaigns horses in the United States, England, France, Germany, South Africa, Canada, Australia and South Korea. Eight individual TVI runners have earned black-type in 2018, with its three biggest European stars ready to return to action this month.