Cauthen back at Derby, rooting for another Triple Crown

Churchill Downs, KY ( – Every year, Steve Cauthen’s birthday
happens right around the time of the Kentucky Derby, which is firmly
entrenched on the international calendar as the first Saturday in May.

This year, on May 1, Cauthen turns 55. It is now 37 years since he won the
Kentucky Derby aboard Affirmed en route to the Triple Crown. When you do the
math, its hits you. Cauthen was only 18 years old when he became the last
jockey to accomplish what many regard as the most difficult challenge in

As he returns to Churchill Downs this weekend from his horse farm in Northern
Kentucky, Cauthen will work with Derby Experiences (,
Churchill Downs’ travel/experience program for people from all over the world
who come to Louisville annually to do Derby Week in a special way. He’ll be
promoting the sport with media and fans, and rooting for another Triple Crown
run so that his favorite sport can once again become the major international
story it was when he and Affirmed got it done in 1978.

“I think a horse will win the Triple Crown (again) and this could be the
year,” Cauthen told the media in a conference call on behalf of the
Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF) before the weekend. “American Pharoah
or Dortmund may turn out to be the horse that can do what we have been waiting
for all these years.”

Back in the day, it wasn’t so unusual. Jean Cruguet rode Seattle Slew to
Triple Crown glory in 1977 and the very next year was even more dramatic with
Cauthen and Affirmed dueling Alydar and jockey Jorge Velasquez to win all
three races by small margins in a rivalry that electrified the sporting world.
Secretariat and Ron Turcotte had their memorably dominant run in 1973. There
was a 25-year drought before that with Citation and jockey Eddie Arcaro
accomplishing the feat in 1948. In the history of the sport, only 11 horses
have won the Triple Crown

“Looking at American Pharoah (the morning line favorite at 5-2), he looks like
he could be a freak.” Cauthen continued. “The way he won the Arkansas Derby
was very impressive. At the same time, Dortmund (the second choice at 3-1) is
a really solid horse. I was impressed with the Santa Anita Derby victory. He
actually looks like a horse that can continue to improve. It will be
interesting. As a whole this is probably one of the best bunches for a long

Dortmund jockey Martin Garcia and Carpe Diem (third choice at 8-1) jockey
Johnny Velazquez will make an appearance for the Permanently Disabled Jockeys
Fund (PDJF) Friday night, less than 24 hours before going off in the Kentucky
Derby. They are representing the non-profit at the Fillies & Lilies Party as
the charity beneficiary for the Derby Experiences event.

“PDJF has been great to many of the riders,” Cauthen offered. “It’s knowing
that safety net is there. If you get hurt in your mid-20s, you’ve got a long
way to go. They help lots of guys for the remainder of their lives.”

The PDJF has distributed over $5 million to some 50 disabled jockeys since its
formation in 2006.