Veteran jockey Jon Court is the elder statesman in the Churchill Downs jockey colony at age 60. However, the journeyman rider continues to ride at a top level and remains optimistic about the future of his career.
“I’ve been very fortunate and blessed to be able to have a body that still cooperates and to have live horses underneath me,” said Court, who had five wins through 28 days at the Spring Meet. “I know I’m at the top of the stretch in my career but that means I still have a quarter-mile left to go. I’ve been around the block for many years and love what I do.”
Court has won more than 4,200 races in his career that began in 1980 at the now defunct Centennial Race Track in Littleton, Colo. Court started his jockey career before eight of the current Top 10 riders in the Churchill Downs colony were born.
“When you get to this stage of your career, some of the younger riders come up and ask for advice,” Court said. “I’m very open and love doing that. It makes you realize you are very blessed to be in that sort of situation where fellow riders are asking you for advice. I’m very lucky.”
Court was named to ride six horses over the next three days of racing at Churchill Downs. Among his scheduled mounts was a 2-year-old named Curly Tail for trainer Dallas Stewart and owner Willis Horton. Stewart and Horton remained successful with Court earlier this year when he rode Will’s Secret to a third-place finish in the $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1).
“There have been many loyal trainers and owners who have stuck with me for a number of years,” Court said. “This game is tough but loyalty goes a long way.”