Jockey Cliff Berry, who is no stranger to the Remington Park winners’ circle, won two stakes as part of the rich Oklahoma Classics program Friday night and was named the Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week for October 12 – 18. The award is voted on by a panel of experts for riding accomplishments by members of the Jockeys’ Guild, the organization which represents more than 950 riders in North America.
Earlier this season at the conclusion of Lone Star Park’s thoroughbred meet, news spread that one of the Southwest’s most prominent horsemen was retiring from the sport. Cliff Berry, 52, of Jones, Oklahoma, has made the decision that this Remington Park meet will be his final in the saddle. Berry is the all-time leading Thoroughbred rider there as well with 2,078 victories. He will put the finish on a brilliant career in December that has included over 4,500 wins and approaching nearly $66 million in mount earnings.
“I’ve had a lot of good horses and trainers over the years,” Berry said. “That’s how you win. I will miss it. It’s all I’ve ever known.”
He rode a couple more good ones on Friday night while winning a pair of stakes that included the feature event, the Oklahoma Classic Cup Stakes aboard Shotgun Kowboy. The $1 million night for Oklahoma-bred Thoroughbreds is an opportunity for local stars to shine, and Shotgun Kowboy continued to shine brightest of all.
Shotgun Kowboy made history by becoming the first Oklahoma Derby (gr. III) winner to ever run in the Oklahoma Classics Cup. He added to his lore by going on to win the featured race on Classics night at Remington Park.
“My horse broke sharp and he settled off (Z Rockstar) perfect,” Berry said from the winner’s circle. “I didn’t even touch him. He finished excellent. He’s a blast to ride.”
Back in 2011 after winning five races the previous evening, Berry managed to top himself at Remington Park on the night of December 10th when he won all seven races in which he had mounts. That feat has only been accomplished by three other riders in the modern era.
For the week Cliff rode seven winners from 21 starters with three second placings and two third place finishes. His total earnings for the week were $290,037.
JockeyTalk360.com spotlights the riders across North America and around the world who may be the bravest, toughest and most accomplished of all athletes. The Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week is selected by a vote of representatives of America’s Best Racing, the Daily Racing Form, Equibase, the Jockeys’ Guild, the Paulick Report, the Thoroughbred Daily News, National Thoroughbred Racing Association, National Turf Writers and Broadcasters, Thoroughbred Racing Associations, and Turf Publicists of America.