Cauthen the American beauty; Value Scope A Legend on THE LEGENDS Week 2: STEVE CAUTHEN.
IN the late seventies, American Steve Cauthen was the name in neon.
As a 17-year-old with a 12-year-old's face, in 1977, he won 487 races in the US, was champion jockey and won a record EUR6.15 million.
A year later 'The Kentucky Kid' won a yet-to-be-repeated American Triple Crown, riding Affirmed to three stirring victories over Alydar.
Cauthen moved to Britain in 1979, and though he took a while to adapt, for several years until he retired in 1992, he was the top man. He was champion three times, with a peak of 197 winners in 1987.
He possessed outstanding judgment of pace and led all the way on both his Derby winners for Henry Cecil, Slip Anchor (1985) and Reference Point (1987).
"Slip Anchor was the best he ever was on the day. He loved Epsom. He flew down the hill and handled everything well, but he was never the same horse after he was injured in his box," remembers Cauthen.
"We will never know how good Slip Anchor could have been, but for me, Reference Point was the better horse, easily one of the best four I've ridden."
Cauthen (right) went on to record ten British Classic victories which included the fillies' Triple Crown on Oh So Sharp (1985).
I was privileged enough to spend some very happy times in his company.
Steve hasn't changed a bit; a serious horseman, family man and one of the friendliest men in racing. My abiding memories were simply watching Steve ride.
Whatever the race, he remained almost motionless, his body thrust forward, perfectly balanced over his mount's withers. His hands alongside the horse's neck calm and still, transmitting the message through the reins to the bit: "Relax".
Beneath him, horses understood.
Horses rarely wasted any extra energy by straining for more speed or fighting against the rider. They were a team. And beyond the technical fine points, that teamwork between man and horse is what superior raceriding is all about.
His gestures were so smooth and subtly tuned to the movements of the horse that it was scarcely perceptible.
His back was almost parallel to the ground. You could probably serve drinks on it with a couple of furlongs to go and you wouldn't spill a drop before he hit the winning line.
His head was always low and icily still. There was economy in every motion. He never turned a hair or broke into a sweat until the final moments when his maximum effort was required. He banked his competitive fires beneath a deadpan facade.
Cauthen is regarded as the model to many modern-day jockeys of how to judge pace of a race, particularly from the front. He almost singlehandedly changed the modern-day style.
He still keeps in touch with his friends from Newmarket.
"I loved my time in England and loved the people there," he said. "I call Henry from time to time. He had a horse in training for me a couple of years ago, but it didn't turn out to be as good as we'd have liked. He's got some nice horses now and he never lost the ability to train.
It is great to see him having success again."
Today Cauthen, wife Amy and their daughters Katelyn, 15, Karlie, 12, and Kelsie, 7, live on their 484-acre breeding farm and training centre, Dreamfields, in the hamlet of Verona, five miles south of Steve's home town of Walton, Kentucky.