06/23/2009 11:00PM

Veteran jockey Faul retires

Evangeline Downs
Ricky Faul, 48, will be honored with a ceremony at Evangeline on Saturday night.

Jockey Ricky Faul, a longtime regular on the Louisiana circuit and a crowd favorite, announced this week that he is hanging up his tack after a career that has seen him win 3,352 races. Faul will be honored in a ceremony Saturday night at Evangeline Downs that not only will mark his final race as a rider but also his 28th wedding anniversary with his wife, Donna.

"I'm in good health and thank the Lord I've never been seriously injured," Faul said. "I've had a long and productive career, and even though I still love race riding and enjoy the game, there comes a time in every professional athlete's life when you have to step aside and now is the right time for me. I give all the credit to my wife, Donna, my family, and my many friends and supporters."

Faul rode his first winner in 1978 at Delta Downs. In addition to winning a riding title at that oval, the 48-year-old native of Sunset, La., has been leading rider at the old Evangeline Downs, Birmingham Race Course, Hoosier Park, and the now-defunct Jefferson Downs in suburban New Orleans, where he accounted for no less than 10 titles.

Faul is one of three brothers to ride races. Jeff has been leading rider in Michigan and Louisiana, and Dee Dee became a jockey agent after a brief career in the saddle. Their mother, Betty, is a longtime mutuel employee at Evangeline.

"I'm still going to be involved in racing," Faul said. "Starting next week I'll become a jockey's agent for Joe Stokes. My long-term goal is to help teach the new guys not only how to succeed in this demanding game but in life as well."