Updated on 09/16/2011 7:36AM

McCarron decides to retire


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron, whose mounts have earned more money than any jockey in history, is retiring next week.

McCarron, 47, quietly began telling friends in racing of his decision in the middle of the week. A formal announcement was expected over the weekend at Hollywood Park. His final day of racing will be June 23 at Hollywood Park.

Through Thursday, McCarron had won 7,137 races from 34,219 mounts that had earned $264,031,267.

A member of racing's Hall of Fame since 1989, McCarron has been a leading figure on and off the racetrack in recent years. He won two Kentucky Derbies, on Alysheba in 1987 and Go for Gin in 1994 and nine Breeders' Cup races, including consecutive runnings of the Classic with Tiznow in 2000 and 2001.

"My greatest achievement in racing was being elected to the Hall of Fame," McCarron said on Friday.

A native of Massachusetts, McCarron won two Eclipse Awards, as the outstanding apprentice jockey in 1974 and outstanding jockey in 1980. He led the nation's jockeys in wins on three occasions, most recently in 1980; and was the leader in annual earnings four times, most recently in 1991.

He launched his career in Maryland in the winter of 1974, a year he won a record 546 races, a mark surpassed in 1989 when Kent Desormeaux won 598.

McCarron moved to California in 1978 and won 25 riding titles in Southern California, the most recent of which was the 1998 spring-summer meeting at Hollywood Park.

McCarron said he will remain active in the Don MacBeth Memorial Jockey Fund, which he helped found. The organization aids disabled riders. He said he would also like to do some television work, which he has done in the past for the networks. "I want to stay in the game," he said.

In the last 10 years, McCarron has been more selective with his mounts, riding fewer horses each day and becoming allied with top-class stables involved in important races. During that time, he also became active with the Jockeys' Guild.

McCarron told his agent, Scotty McClellan, of the decision earlier this week at McClellan's house. "He said, 'Let's see what you did to the back yard,'" McClellan said. "When we were out there, he said, 'I'm stopping.'"