By: Peter Monaco
Anyone that’s been in the horse racing game for any length of time has most likely heard of jockey Edgar Prado. His riding accomplishments are outstanding, he’s basically avoided the spotlight for the most part over the years; just punching in everyday as a humble and very workman-like rider.
Edgar left Gulfstream Park in late January and traveled to Saudi Arabia, where he rode a few mounts earlier this month and even won a race as recently as several days ago. I’ve yet to speak with Edgar about the latest, but one could safely assume he went to Saudi Arabia, checked out the scene, rode a few races and thought the arena could work out for him.
But, when Edgar attempted to apply for a jockey license, he was immediately denied. It seems in Article 66, statement #5, of the Saudi Jockey Rule Book states: ” No person over the age of 50 years, or less than 16 shall be granted a license with the ECR.” https://www.frusiya.com/pages/rules_regulations.php
It seems this was a surprise to almost everyone, including Edgar.
In a tweet on the morning of 2/21, Edgar stated: “returned back to America after I find out i can’t get license here in saudi arabia from the jockey club because of my age, anyway thank you so much to Mr. Adelal Almazroa,
I wish I could have been more informed about this before I left USA and my business to ride here under contract, SAD!”
Edgar’s been licensed to ride in the USA since 1986 and here are some of the 51 year-old’s major accomplishments:
* In 1997 he was the 4th rider to win 500 races ( 536) in a single year.
* Most wins by a jockey in the U.S in 1997, 1998 and 1999
* Received the 2003 George Wolf Memorial Jockey Award.
* American Classics: Prado won the 2006 Kentucky Derby aboard Barbaro and won the Belmont Stakes in 2002 and 2004, and won the Kentucky Oaks in 2003..
* Received the 2006 Eclipse Award for “Outstanding Jockey.
* Inducted into Racing’s Hall of Fame in 2008
* Received the 2006 Mike Venezia Award for “exemplify, extraordinary sportsmanship and citizenship”
* Five career Breeders’ Cup race wins.
* Recent Good Form: In 2018, Edgar Prado won 33 races from 283 mounts and now has more than 7,200 career victories with over $270 million in earnings.
Edgar might also be credited for pulling up Barbaro in the 2006 Preakness Stakes and tending to the injured horse until help arrived. Although the horse was later euthanized in 2007, Edgar went above and beyond to try to keep Barbaro from injuring himself further.
It seems hard to believe any country would want to keep a stand-up, extremely accomplished and competent jockey, like Edgar Prado from riding at their tracks.
When thinking of this situation, so many excellent and talented jockeys over the age of 50 come to mind. There was an old timer named R.A. Cowboy Jones who rode on the Kentucky and Illinois circuits and was very much an older gentleman and, as far as I know, he could still be riding today at 100.
And, Bill Shoemaker won the Kentucky Derby at 54 years old in style.
Mike Smith, Keith Desormeaux, Calvin Borel, the list is endless, these are some of the best jockeys out there still riding at over 50 years of age, or better.
Edgar Prado not only has been a humble rider since 1986, he has avoided scandal, serious injury, and simply enjoys riding. Edgar is also well respected by the people in racing.
I believe a jockey who has survived the battles of our sport and emerged at 50 years of age, or older, without major incident and is still riding, should be rewarded instead of being discriminated against because of their age.
In addition, Edgar is just a nice guy. He’ll talk to anyone and he’s a very positive and patient man. I’m thinking this isn’t going to hold him back for long.
Edgar Prado is good for horse racing, and we’ll be very happy, as well as lucky, to have him riding back here in the good ole’ U.S.A.
Faisal Alattawi, the prominent horse racing enthusiast and writer from Saudi Arabia was asked to weigh in on the matter. Here is what he had to offer:
I truly cannot imagine what happened to Edgar Prado. I never thought this would happen to him or any jockey anywhere in the world today. The rules here in Saudi Arabia seem to be complicated. Very complicated. For me, it makes no sense at all, and I want to make sure people know the majority here in Saudi Arabia are not happy with the Prado decision. Edgar Prado will always be a legend and we here respect his career and accomplishments. We have had so many jockeys come here from all ver the world, from many different countries and they were treated respectfully. We continue to spread love and respect to those and all riders regardless of what transpired with Edgar Prado recently.
Edgar in Saudi Arabia