08/18/2002 11:00PM

Longden weak after stroke

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DEL MAR, Calif. - Hall of Fame riding great Johnny Longden recently suffered a stroke and is confined to his bed at his home in Banning, Calif., his wife, Cathy, said Monday.

"He's not in any pain, he's eating well, but he has to be in bed," Cathy Longden said from their home. "He's doing as good as you could expect."

Cathy Longden said her husband had a slight stroke, but that it was unknown exactly when it occurred, though she said it was in the past few days.

"The only sign is that he's very weak," she said. "He has no strength to get up and walk around.

"He's eating better than he has in a long time, and he hasn't lost his sense of humor," she added.

Longden, 95, at one time was the world's winningest jockey. He held that title for 14 years, after passing Sir Gordon Richards in 1956. When Longden retired a decade later, he had 6,032 victories, a record that held up until Longden was passed by Bill Shoemaker in 1970. Shoemaker retired with 8,832 victories, and has since been passed by Laffit Pincay Jr.