Pat Day Joins The TDN Writers' Room Podcast

Pat Day | Coady Photography

Just a few days removed from his 70th birthday, Pat Day joined the TDN Writers' Room podcast presented by Keeneland to talk his career, what he's been up to since retiring in 2005 and, most of all, the Breeders' Cup. Day rode Wild Again to victory in the inaugural GI Breeders' Cup Classic in 1984 and it was an historic win that helped turn the future Hall of Famer into one of the biggest stars in the sport. Day was this week's Green Group Guest of the Week.

“What that race meant for my career was monumental,” Day said. “First of all, let me back up. In January of 84, that was when I came to Christ. I was a stone alcoholic and a drug addict and was still highly successful in the midst of that. On January 27th of 1984, I accepted Christ into my life and got set free from that addictive lifestyle. I recognized that God had blessed me with tremendous talent and ability and opportunities and I started treating that with the respect that it deserved. Subsequently, I had an incredible year capped by the victory with Wild Again in the inaugural Breeders' Cup. That helped secure my first of four Eclipse Awards. I don't know that you could put a price on just what that did for my career. It was tremendous and catapulted me to the next level. I started getting opportunities after that to participate in the major races all over the country and to ride some of the top choices in those races.

If the Wild Again win was Day's top Breeders' Cup moment, his loss to Sunday Silence aboard Easy Goer in the 1989 Classic was surely his worst.

“When they came off the turn, Easy Goer was slow to change leads,” Day said. “He finally did. When he did, he caught on and accelerated, but obviously it was too little, too late. There was just so much hanging in the balance. The Eclipse Award for top 3-year-old. Horse of the Year. There were some tremendous accolades that hung in the balance. That Breeders' Cup was hard and the second hardest pill to swallow with him would have been the Preakness. I think I rode a horrible race and I think that I cost him the race in the Preakness. Easy Goer was a great horse. The best I ever rode. I know the record doesn't reflect it but I still think he was better than Sunday Silence.”

Who was his toughest opponent?

“Day in and day out, the smartest, strongest rider I rode against on a regular basis was Jerry Bailey,” Day said. “He would draw up a game plan and he was able to implement that game plan just about every time.”

Who was the most competitive rider he ever went up against?

“With that subject, Angel Cordero's name always comes up,” he said. “We would laughingly say he could ride two or three horses in a race. Angel, I love you, man. He was an astute handicapper. And if he handicapped the race and he felt that you had the horse to beat, he was going to beat you. He felt like if he beat you he would win the race. He was very competitive.”

Elsewhere on the podcast, which is also sponsored by 1/ST Racing, the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association, WinStar Farm, the KTOB, XBTV and West Point Thoroughbreds, the team of Zoe Cadman, Randy Moss and Bill Finley discussed Frankie Dettori's decision to postpone his retirement and focus on U.S. racing in 2024 and the GI Kentucky Derby. The team agreed that Dettori, who has been riding in top form this year, deserved at least one more year. Finley predicted he might decide to keep riding for two or three more years. They also reviewed last week's action which included a win by European shipper Mawj (Ire) (Exceed and Excel {Aus}) in the GI Queen Elizabeth Challenge Cup S. at Keeneland and the ultra-impressive win by City of Troy (Justify) in the G1 Dewhurst S. at Newmarket.

To watch the Writers' Room, click here. To view the show as a podcast, click here.

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