Veteran Akifumi Kato scores at Turf Paradise on 69th birthday
USA: Veteran jockey Akifumi Kato has redefined longevity in the sport by riding a winner for the 50th consecutive year – and he reached the remarkable milestone on the day he turned 69.
Kato partnered She’s A Lady Griz, trained by his daughter Kaylyn, to a comfortable win at Turf Paradise.
Originally from Osaka, Japan, Kato rode his first winner in the US in California in 1972 and went on to become a mainstay at Playfair racecourse in Spokane, Washington state.
He rode 1,104 winners, more than any other jockey at the now defunct track, including four wins in its premier race the Playfair Mile, which earned him two riding titles.
According to the Paulick Report, Kato is the only active jockey to have won a race at the four major Washington tracks past and present – Longacres, Playfair, Yakima Meadows and Emerald Downs.
He has a career tally of 2,034 wins worth more than $6m in prize-money.
• Visit the Turf Paradise website