Q-Racing Blog: Cody
Q-Racing Blog: Cody
By Ty Wyant
Reigning champion jockey Cody Jensen, 44, will ride an American Quarter Horse for the 9,828th time when he competes in the $350,000 The Championship at Sunland Park (G1) aboard Danjer.
It will be the final race in a stellar career that has spanned 25 years. It has been a career that every aspiring jockey should emulate, except for the injuries.
Jensen, a member of the Ruidoso Downs Racehorse Hall of Fame, has won 1,653 Quarter Horse races and his mounts have earned $41,867,476. His career earnings are fourth on the all-time jockey earnings’ list. He has 189 stakes wins, including 90 graded stakes wins.
He has multiple Grade 1 stakes wins in the All American Futurity, All American Derby, Ed Burke Million, Go Man Go Handicap, Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap, Rainbow Derby, Ruidoso Futurity and four wins in the Robert L. Boniface Los Alamitos Championship.
Jensen won three consecutive Los Alamitos Championships aboard Catchmeinyourdreams, the horse that is one of the reasons Jensen moved from the Intermountain area to Los Alamitos.
“They ran the Blane Schvaneveldt Futurity at Wyoming Downs and Blane would come up every year,” Jensen said. “He asked me to come down to Los Alamitos several times and said I could work for him.
“Catchmeinyourdreams (who was second in the 2001 Blane Schvaneveldt Futurity) was a 2-year-old and paid up in the Los Alamitos Million. So, I knew I had a good horse and could work.”
Jensen’s career has been marked by an incomparable multitude of injuries. Take a deep breath before you read his list of his injuries. Starting at the top of his body and working down, he said he has broken his eye socket, broken his nose seven times, broken his jaw, broken his collarbone four times, tore three tendons in his right shoulder, broken 10 ribs, broke his sternum, broken seven vertebrae in his back, broke the radius in his left arm, broke the ulna in his left arm, broken three carpel bones in left wrist, tore the ulna nerve in right elbow, tore the flexor tendon in the index finger of his left hand, broke his right pelvis in eight places, broke his left femur, he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, tore the posterior cruciate in his left knee, tore the meniscus in his left knee, broke the lower joint in his left knee in two places, tore the lateral meniscus in his right knee, dislocated his right knee cap, broke the fibula below his left knee, broke the fibula above his left ankle three times, broke the tibia in his left leg and, for good measure, mangled each of his big toes. Ouch.
He had a reputation of quick returns from his injuries and has gotten back on numerous racehorses before his doctors recommended. He is on the shortest list of the all-time toughest jockeys.
Jensen has that ride in the The Championship at Sunland Park on Danjer before heading to retirement in Utah’s Cache Valley this summer after his wife Amy, a teacher, completes this school year.
Danjer is one of those horses who could score a major Grade 1 win at any time. He was wins in the All American Juvenile and the First Down Dash. The All American Juvenile is for horses who did not qualify for the All American Futurity while the First Down Dash is for horses who did not qualify for the All American Derby. The gelding was second in the Ruidoso Derby (G1), a close third in the Texas Classic Futurity (G1) and third in the Zia Park Championship (G1) in his latest start.
“He’s been knocking on the door of winning a really big one,” Jensen said. “He’s a really nice horse with an explosive turn of foot.”
Cody and Amy will be heading back home this summer. Amy received her master’s degree this summer and will continue her career in education. Cody has options he wants to explore, but has no firm plans. It is certain he will be spending many days with his golf bag.
The best of good fortune and blessings to each of these admirable people. They are role models.
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