His final win in a Triple Crown race was a historic one with Touch Gold in the 1997 Belmont Stakes. After encountering all kinds of trouble three weeks earlier in the Preakness, Touch Gold ran past Silver Charm in the final yards, thwarting the gray in his bid to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.
Injured seriously in spills at Santa Anita in 1986 and Hollywood Park in 1990, McCarron said his induction into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility remains his most memorable moment. "It's the biggest feather in my cap," he said.
The rider provided trainer Jay Robbins with his biggest moments the last two Breeders' Cups with unforgettable victories aboard the now-retired Tiznow. The California-bred edged Giant's Causeway in 2000 at Churchill Downs, then won another thriller last fall at Belmont Park.
McCarron is scheduled to be aboard first-time starter Catabatic Wind for Robbins on Sunday at Hollywood Park, and the trainer was surprised to hear about the rider's retirement.
"I'm kind of in shock," Robbins said. "He works horses for me periodically and he hadn't given any indication he was thinking about retirement. He's a great asset to the industry and he's always been involved in a lot of different aspects.
"He's a terrific rider. He was very diligent about his job and he could tell you about a horse after getting on them in the morning or in the afternoon.
"A lot of times we would talk about the state of the industry and the problems it faces and he just might think he can better serve it in a different way."
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*--* Winners' Circle Jockey with most all-time victories: *Laffit Pincay 9,374 Bill Shoemaker 8,833 *Pat Day 8,259 *Russell Baze 7,834 David Gall 7,396 *Chris McCarron 7,136 Angel Cordero 7,057 Jorge Velasquez 6,795 Sandy Hawley 6,449 Larry Snyder 6,388 *active; totals through June 13
CHRIS McCARRON HIGHLIGHTS
*--* BREEDERS' CUP WINS (9) * Precisionist (1985 Sprint), Alysheba (1988 Classic), Sunday Silence (1989 Classic), Gilded Time (1992 Juvenile), Paseana (1992 Distaff), Northern Spur (1995 Turf), Alphabet Soup (1996 Classic), Tiznow (2000 Classic) and Tiznow (2001 Classic) TRIPLE CROWN WINS (6) * Danzig Connection (1986 Belmont), Alysheba (1987 Kentucky Derby), Alysheba (1987 Preakness), Pine Bluff (1992 Preakness), Go For Gin (1994 Kentucky Derby) and Touch Gold (1997 Belmont) ARLINGTON MILLION (1) * John Henry (1984) PACIFIC CLASSIC (1) * Free House (1998) SUPER DERBY (1) * Alysheba (1987) TRAVERS (3) * Forty Niner (1988), Corporate Report (1991), Deputy Commander (1997) SANTA ANITA DERBY (4) * Dinard (1991), Cavonnier (1996), The Deputy (2000) and Came Home (2002)
SANTA ANITA HANDICAP (3) * Alysheba (1988), Free House (1999) and Tiznow (2001) HOLLYWOOD DERBY (1) * Denon (2001) HOLLYWOOD FUTURITY (2) * Stalwart (1981) and King Glorious (1988) HOLLYWOOD TURF CUP (8) * John Henry (1983), Alphabatim (1984), Frankly Perfect (1989), Miss Alleged (1991), Bien Bien (1992), Fraise (1993), Running Flame (1996) and Bienamado (2000) JAPAN CUP (1) * Pay The Butler (1988) MATRIARCH (5) * Claire Marine (1989), Flawlessly (1991-93) and Tout Charmant (2000) METROPOLITAN HANDICAP (1) * State Dinner (1979) YELLOW RIBBON STAKES (3) * Delighter (1988), Alpride (1995) and Spanish Fern (1999) WOODWARD STAKES (2) * Precisionist (1986) and Alysheba (1988)