Jon Court Retires

Jon Court makes last trip to the post Sunday | Coady Media

Veteran jockey Jon Court rode the final race of his career Sunday afternoon at Oaklawn Park. Court, 63, entered Sunday with 4,263 victories and $114,023,582 in purse earnings in his career, totals that rank 67th and 59th, respectively, in North American history, according to Equibase.

“It's time,” Court said moments after his final career stakes mount, Navy Seal, finished fifth in the Arkansas Breeders' Saturday at Oaklawn. “It's something I've been thinking about for a while. People have been asking me a lot. I've had a great 43 years. I'm past the 43-year mark, 44. I've got some kind of cushion and retirement laid out. I've got a real estate license and I've got some other companies that I can work part-time with, doing things off the racetrack. I really enjoy kind of mixing it up like that and getting out there in world. One thing is I was drawn here by the love of the Thoroughbred and that's going to be the toughest thing that pulls on me.”

Court has been riding professionally since 1980. He rode his first winner June 7 of that year at Centennial Racetrack in Colorado. The Florida native topped the Oaklawn standings in 2000 with 69 victories. He's the seventh-winningest rider in the Arkansas track's history with 730 victories, including 38 stakes. Court also owns riding titles at several other tracks, including Ellis Park and Birmingham Turf Club.

Court became the oldest jockey to ride in the Kentucky Derby when he finished 16th aboard Long Range Toddy in 2019 when he was 58. When he was 61, he became the oldest jockey in American Thoroughbred history to win a $1-million race when Last Samurai captured the GII Oaklawn H. in 2022.

Court's biggest career victories included consecutive runnings of the GI Arkansas Derby, which he won in 2010 aboard Line of David and in 2011 aboard Archarcharch for trainer Jinks Fires. He also won the 2004 GI Citation H. aboard Leroidesanimaux (Brz) for Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel.

Court was honored with the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in 2007.

“It's been a good career,” Court said. “Racing's been good to me. The horsemen have been great. The fans have been superior. I've got nothing but positive things going out.”

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