ARKANSAS NATIVE ONE CAREER WIN SHY OF TYING HALL OF FAMER EDDIE DELAHOUSSAYE AT 6,384
ARCADIA, Calif. (Oct. 25, 2014)–In a career that began in March 1973, jockey Perry Ouzts has amassed 6,383 wins the hard way–riding cheaper horses primarily at tracks in Ohio and northern Kentucky. Today however, Ouzts, 60, is realizing a longtime goal by riding his first-ever race at Santa Anita and he discussed his maiden voyage to The Great Race Place this morning on HRTV’s “Race Day America” with hosts Peter Lurie and Millie Ball.
When asked about his physical conditioning regimen, Ouzts responded, “I’ve always been naturally light, so that’s been a big help. As far as conditioning, I do the same thing I’ve done for 41 years. I get on horses every day and I love what I do.”
Along with his Hall of Fame cousin, retired Hall of Fame jockey Earlie Fires, Ouzts is a native of Riverdale, Arkansas, and it’s in-large-part due to his association with Fires that he ended up on the Tom Proctor-trained Wonderfully in today’s Grade III Autumn Miss Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. Should he win aboard the 20-1 longshot, he would tie retired Hall of Famer Eddie Delahoussaye at 6,384 wins which is 14th on racing’s all-time list of leading riders.
“Earlie won a lot of races for Tom’s dad (the late trainer, Willard Proctor),” said Ouzts. Earlie told me to give Tom a call and tell him ‘We’re practically family.’ I really appreciate Tom giving me a shot on this horse and if we can win it, I’ll tie-up Eddie Delahoussaye in his own backyard!”
Although he’s long-wanted to ride a race at Santa Anita, Ouzts, who just wrapped up his record 30th riding title at the former River Downs near Cincinnati this past Sunday, explained his career path thusly:
“I’ve done really well right where I was. I like winning races, not just riding races. I’ve had opportunities to ride other places, but I like to win. I’ve always had faith in my abilities and that I could win with any horse. I look at the Form and see how a horse has run its best race and try to put them in a spot where they’ve had success.”
Although Irish-bred Wonderfully is a longshot in the one mile turf Autumn Miss, Ouzts waxed optimistic about her chances. “She was only beat four lengths in a million dollar race (Grade I Belmont Oaks, July 5) three races back, so if she just runs back to that, she’s got a shot.”