Three-time AQHA champion jockey Cody Jensen has announced that he will be retiring at the end of 2019.
Jensen will ride Flash And Roll in Saturday's Grade 1, $600,000 Champion of Champions and Up And Coming in Sunday's Grade 1 Los Alamitos Two-Million Futurity.
“It’s a finality; I’ve come to grips with it," Jensen said. "It’s going to be bittersweet because I’ll never get to come down this straightaway again (at Los Alamitos) after Sunday, and that’s going to be real tough.”
Jensen said that he feels the time is right to end a great career in which he’s won 1,662 Quarter Horse races, 101 graded stakes races and 50 Grade 1 stakes races. He’s ridden five different millionaires to their biggest career wins -- All American Futurity winners No Secrets Here and Teller Cartel, All American Derby winner Hotstepper, and Rainbow Derby winner Wicked Courage and Houdini.
“It’s time to hang them up," Jensen said. "The injuries have accumulated over the years. It’s getting a little too tough. It’s time to cheer them on from the grandstand. I’ll tip my beer to the next guy that wins the Two Million.
“G.R. (Carter) ended his career in the Two Million with Flash And Roll last year," he added. "Heck, if I jump up and win the Champion of Champions on (Flash And Roll), nobody is going to want to ride her because she ends too many careers.
"I’m really lucky. I feel like I’m still able to ride at a high level, but I don’t ever want my body to get to the point where I can’t ride at that high level again. I never want to be the guy where people say, ‘You know, he used to be good. He should have hung it up.’ I’ll go ahead and step away while I feel that I’m still riding well and have something to contribute and get on horses like Flash And Roll and Up And Coming. To ride those type of horses for my sendoff is pretty great.”
Jensen’s most memorable win might have come in last year's Champion of Champions, when he rode Johnny Trotter's Bodacious Eagle to victory. Jensen is looking forward to spending some time with his wife, Amy, and also enjoying some new freedoms now that he’ll no longer have to worry about making riding weights.
“We have some plans in the works. We’re going to go back home in Utah and try to start some stuff up there. Right now my immediate plans are just to get fat,” Jensen said with a laugh.
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