Laffit Alejandro Pincay, Jr., born December 29, 1946 in Panama City, Panama, began riding in his native land. Winning his first race on Huelen on May 16, 1964, Pincay quickly rose through the ranks and established himself as a fearless steady jockey at a young age.
In 1966, his fortune continued when his talent caught the eyes of prominent Florida horse owner Fred W. Hooper who first sponsored and contracted him in the United States.He rode at Arlington Park in Chicago, winning his first race on Hooper's filly, Teacher's Art, in July, 1966. Pincay then won eight of his next eleven races and assured his stateside career.
Longing for beautiful weather and restless for new challenges, Pincay moved his tack in the late ‘60s to the toughest jockey colony in the country - Southern California. There, in spite of a weight problem with which he constantly battled, Pincay continued to roll to wins in every type of race.
He won his first of seven Santa Anita Derbies in 1968. He was leading rider at Santa Anita and Hollywood Park by 1972 and on his way to an incredible forty-four meet riding championshipships nationwide.
He bested Johnny Longdon's win record at Hollywood Park when he won on board Volaze in June, 1972. By 1973 he became the first jockey to eclipse the $4 million mark in single year earnings in the nation. Pincay also had the honor that year of riding Sigmond Sommer's Sham to the fast but futile second place finishes behind the immortal Secretariat in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. In the 80s, Pincay became the legendary trainer Woody Stephens "go to" rider, resulting in his first Triple Crown race win on Conquistador Cielo in the 1982 Belmont Stakes.
The partnership between Stephens and Pincay was fruitful, as the jockey rode 1984 Kentucky Derby winner Swale for the the Hall of fame trainer and went on to become the only jockey in the 20th century to ride three consecutive Belmont Stakes winners, Caveat (1983) and Swale (1984 )being the other two.
Pincay won multiple renewals of almost every major graded race in America, including seven Breeders Cup races. By the late 90s, Pincay had acquired every major award, including induction into the Hall of Fame in 1975. A seven-time leading jockey nationwide, he received The George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award, the Mike Venezia Memorial Award and five Eclipse awards, affirming the highest level of respect the horse world bestowed upon the man affectionately and aptly known as "The Pirate" for his daring on the track and dashing good looks.
Pincay also had the honor of riding Sigmond Sommer's Sham to the fast but futile second place finishes behind the immortal Secretariat in the 1973 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.
Pincay's greatest achievement as a rider came on December 10, 1999, when he broke Bill Shoemaker's win record with a victory on Irish Nip at Hollywood Park and set a new mark of 8,834. Covered by major news outlets worldwide, Pincay was honored in a special ceremony and continued to build on his win record and triumph at the top levels of racing.
Pincay's career would have continued to build, but a fall on March 1, 2003 at Santa Anita resulted in a broken neck that wasn't discovered until days later. At that point, doctors advised him that returning to ride would be life threatening. Reluctantly, Pincay hung up his tack on April 29, 2003.
His lifetime career wins numbering 9,530 was the world record at the time of his retirement. In 2004, Hollywood Park Racetrack announced the creation of the Laffit Pincay Jr. Award, presented annually on Hollywood Gold Cup Day - a race he won a record nine times. The award is presented for serving the horse racing industry with integrity, dedication, determination, and distinction.
Between traveling for charitable work, visiting family and promoting
the sport, Pincay recently completed his biography co-authored with Madelyn Cain, titled "Laffit - Anatomy of a Winner." And winning is a topic he knows very well.
Major Racing Wins
San Bernardino Handicap
(1967, 1968, 1971, 1974, 1979, 1985, 1989)
Santa Anita Derby
(1968, 1972, 1973, 1976, 1978, 1982, 1985)
Hollywood Gold Cup
(1970, 1975, 1977, 1979, 1982, 1985, 1986, 2001, 2002)
John C. Mabee Handicap (1979)
San Diego Handicap (1976, 1986, 1987, 1992)
Eddie Read Handicap (1978, 1984, 1987, 1991)
Bing Crosby Handicap (1976, 1977, 1983)
Clement L. Hirsch Handicap (1990, 1992)
Del Mar Oaks (1983)
Del Mar Handicap (1995, 2001)
Del Mar Derby (1979, 1980, 1982, 1990, 1994)
Del Mar Debutante Stakes (1976, 1982, 1983, 1984)
Del Mar Futurity (1976, 1983, 1985, 1987)
Whitney Handicap (1974)
Florida Derby (1974, 1984)
Blue Grass Stakes (1974, 2001)
Woodward Stakes (1979)
Jockey Club Gold Cup (1979, 1987)
Kentucky Oaks (1981)
Canadian International Stakes (1984)
Washington, D.C. International (1987, 1990)
Breeders' Cup Classic (1986)
Breeders' Cup Distaff (1989, 1990)
Breeders' Cup Juvenile (1985, 1986, 1988)
Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (1993)
American Classic Racing wins:
Kentucky Derby (1984)
Belmont Stakes (1982, 1983, 1984)
United States Champion Jockey by earnings
(1970-1974, 1979, 1985)
United States Champion Jockey by wins (1971)
George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award (1970)
Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey
(1971, 1973, 1974, 1979, 1985)
Eclipse Special Award (1999)
Big Sport of Turfdom Award (2000)
National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame (1975)
Hollywood Park annual Laffit Pincay Jr. Award
Affirmed, Is It True, John Henry, Gamely, Desert Vixen, Susan's Girl, Genuine Risk, Bayakoa, Phone Chatter, Caveat, Conquistador Cielo, Perrault, It's in the Air, Swale, Chinook Pass, Cougar II, Autobiography, Capote, Skywalker, Landaluce