04/03/2013 1:35PM

Oaklawn Park: Jockey agent Jerry Hissam retiring due to illness


Jerry Hissam, the agent who represented jockey Calvin Borel through three Kentucky Derby wins and a Horse of the Year campaign with Rachel Alexandra, said on Wednesday that he has retired. Hissam, 68, has been battling an infection in his pancreas since January, and said he has lost 71 pounds.

“I’m improving, but I’m still stuck at home,” he said Wednesday. “I’m retired.”

Hissam said earlier this year that the infection is a complication from a gall bladder operation he had on Dec. 27. He also had heart bypass surgery in December. Hissam began the current Oaklawn meet representing Borel, but when he had to address the infection agent Doc Danner began filling in for Hissam.

Hissam said he was an agent for 42 years, with 22 of them spent with Borel, who reached the heights of racing with Kentucky Derby wins on Street Sense (2007), Mine That Bird (2009), and Super Saver (2010). Hissam also has represented Sam Maple, Larry Snyder, and David Whited.

Whited is now a trainer. It was aboard one of his charges that Borel won the 5,000th race of his career March 7 at Oaklawn. Borel estimates 4,000 of his wins came with Hissam.

“It was really special having his book,” Hissam said of Borel. “Everybody has been wonderful.”

Hissam is a West Virginia native who got his start in racing going to the track with his friend, Terry Lipham, a jockey who won the prestigious All American Futurity for Quarter Horses and successfully transitioned to Thoroughbreds, with Grade 1 winner Bates Motel among his more notable mounts.

Hissam said he will retire in Hot Springs, Ark., where he has had a home since 1974.