After a long road to recovery spanning over 15 months, 49 year-old jockey Corey Nakatani has officially ridden his last race. Known for his competitive spirit and his will to Win, Nakatani has left an indelible mark on the sport of horse racing including 3,909 total Wins and over $234 million in earnings- ranking 12th on the all-time list.
His last ride came in August 2018 at Del Mar, when a spill and subsequent injury led to the premature end of Nakatani’s career.
“The time has come to officially announce my retirement from the sport of horse racing,” said Nakatani. “Although I never imagined this is how my career would end, I am very proud of my accomplishments and know that I competed at the very highest of levels, which gives me a sense of satisfaction. This game gave a young kid from Covina a purpose in life and I will forever be grateful for the opportunities it has given me. Without these amazing horses, I never would have considered my family and myself so blessed.”
A native of Covina, California, Mr. Nakatani Won 10 Breeders’ Cup races, most recently in the 2012 Dirt Mile aboard TAPIZAR. Throughout his career which spanned close to 30 years, from 1989 to 2018, Nakatani achieved 120 Grade 1 wins, 341 Graded Stakes Victories, and 10 riding titles in Southern California.
Among his many significant mounts were; LAVA MAN, SARAFAN, SERENA’S SONG, BOLT D’ ORO, and SHARED BELIEF.
“I want to extend profound thanks to the many I worked with over the years… all of the owners, trainers, and so many other people that helped me along in my tremendous career. I also want to thank the fans. My fans were truly the best and I continue to hear and receive support, even now. It wouldn’t have been the same without you all. Thank you.”
A Winner’s Circle ceremony will take place next Saturday, November 30th, at Del Mar, followed by a reception.
The Daily Racing Blog salutes Corey Nakatani not only for his extraordinary career as a rider, but also for him choosing to retire. Too often in sports, athletes refuse to recognize when their skills or health have diminished to such an extent that they can no longer perform at the highest level and then become a danger to themselves and to fellow athletes. It had to have been a gut-wrenching decision for him to walk away from the sport he loved, and participated in since he was a young lad.
All the best Corey.