Nine time champion jockey in the UK Pat Smullen passed away in Dublin Ireland yesterday, after a two year battle with prostate cancer. In the aftermath of his passing many posted and commented on their personal experiences with this fine man and outstanding rider who fought his disease with class and grace the same way he rose to be the champion he was.
We didn’t get to see Pat ride as much as we would have probably liked to here in the states, but for us avid students of the game we saw him win just about every Group 1 under the sun across Europe and beyond.
It didn’t take Pat Smullen long to show us all what he can do here in the US at none other than the Breeders’ Cup.
It was a day of firsts when Irish-bred Muhannak held on to win the first edition of the Breeders’ Cup Marathon on the Pro-Ride surface at Santa Anita Park in 2008. The son of Chester House was the first Breeders’ Cup entrant for 37-year-old trainer Ralph Beckett and the first Breeders’ Cup mount for jockey Patrick Smullen, and anyone who knew him would expect no different. That was not Pat’s first major win here in the US however, he won the Matriarch with Dress to Thrill back in 2002.
Rest in Peace Pat, and somehow the Cartier Award of Merit, as prestigious as it may be, falls short of doing you justice:
Photo: Breeders’ Cup