When Jon Court gets a leg up from Steve Asmussen on Long Range Toddy for the 145th Kentucky Derby, he will become the oldest jockey to ride in the Run for the Roses at 58 years old. Court has 106 million in earnings from over 4000 wins, but you can bet this one would be sweeter than any of those.
“Regardless of my age, I’m able to compete at this level and sometimes, without a doubt, put on a clinic for the younger riders that I’m competing with,” Court said. “Yes, they’re very professional and athletic, but so am I at this age, and I feel very fortunate and grateful that I have this opportunity in this stage of my career.”
Court credits new training and fitness techniques allowing older jockeys to continue to ride at a high level.
“I think it has a lot to do with the fact that times are changing,” he said. “With innovative technology, we’re finding the information highways and learning how to sustain longevity and, along with that longevity, endurance at a level we’ve not been accustomed to before. Over the years, I think I could single out a few people who have paid very close attention to their health, and there aren’t a lot of us that do pay attention to our health.
“There are some people that have certain benefits in life, whether you want to say that it’s luck or genetics, that have and keep quality of physical and cognitive function at a later age. These days, it’s easy to get comfortable and complacent, swing by to get fast food, and lay on the couch and watch a great marathon series. But, personally, I’d rather take a walk on a trail, read a book, hit the gym, or go horseback riding.”
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