Hall of Fame Jockey Alex Solis Retires and was a 3-Time Breeders’ Cup Champion
Jockey Alex Solis announced his retirement from racing Sunday at Del Mar, but the 53-year-old Hall of Fame rider wants to stay near the sport.
“I’m retiring from race riding, but not from the sport,” Solis said. “I’d like to do something in the future, and I will use the same blueprint I’ve used all my life – to work hard and always do my best.”
Solis has not ridden since April this year and is still going through physical therapy following 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,” said Solis, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014. “When you have to ride races, you have to give it 100%. To be out that long, to think about making weight—my heart has to be in it.”
A true rags to riches story, Solis traveled from his homeland of Panama to the United States with less than $1,000 to his name and limited English. His riding career started in 1982, and four years later, he was the winning jockey aboard Snow Chief in the Preakness Stakes.
Solis Hall of Fame career concludes with 5,035 wins in 33,966 starts. He won 84 Grade 1 races and had purse earnings of $238 million. A fixture at Del Mar, Solis has the fourth-most stakes wins at the seaside oval with 95 and the sixth-most total victories with 688. He won two season riding titles, in 1996 and 2001. He was runner up in the Kentucky Derby three times and Solis also captures three Breeders’ Cup titles.
Solis was named to the California Horse Racing Board in 2015, becoming the first active jockey to hold such a position. He plans on focusing on that position in the near future as he moves forward with his post-racing career.
“I’ve been doing this for 37 years and it’s very important to stay involved and to help keep up the integrity of racing.”