Veteran jockey Alex Solis announces retirement
Veteran Californian-based jockey Alex Solis, who has ridden more than 5,000 winners in a long career, officially announced his retirement at Del Mar over the weekend.
Solis, 53, who was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2014, has had only eight rides in 2017 and had not ridden for seven months; he underwent hip surgery in August.
"The surgery went fine but I really thought about it and I've been out six, seven months, and I was losing the passion," admitted Solis, speaking to the Blood-Horse.
"When you have to ride races, you have to give it 100 per cent. To be out that long, to think about making weight my heart has to be in it."
According to Equibase statistics, Solis has ridden 5,035 winners in North America in a long career that began in his native Panama, where he was leading apprentice before moving to Florida in 1982.
Although he won no more Triple Crown races after his breakthrough success on Snow Chief in the Preakness Stakes in 1986, he is best known on the global stage for his association with Pleasantly Perfect, aboard whom he won the Breeders' Cup Classic (2003) and Dubai World Cup (2004) for longtime associate Richard Mandella.
Solis won 84 Grade 1 races altogether, among them three Breeders' Cup races. As well as Pleasantly Perfect, he also partnered top dirt sprinter Kona Gold and Johar, who dead-heated with High Chaparral in the Turf in 2003.
The rider also gained notoriety as the jockey who partnered the Mandella-trained Dare And Go to end Cigar's famous winning streak in the Pacific Classic of 1996 at Del Mar.
While he never won the Kentucky Derby, Solis was runner-up on three occasions, coming closest when Captain Bodgit was narrowly beaten by Silver Charm in 1997.
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