Manuel Ycaza (1938-2018) a jockey, had 2,400 wins in a career that began in 1957. He was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1977. But, in a tribute in Sports Illustrated, the jockey was noted for what most remember about his career, and it was not the Hall of Fame or all those wins.
At the 1962 Preakness, Ycaza was in a dead heat near the finish line, ridin’ Ridan. John Rotz, riding Greek money won the head-to-head and crossed the finish line first. Ycaza then accused Rotz of impeding him and Ridan near the finish. When officials reviewed the film what they found was Ycaza trying to drive his elbow into Rotz’s chest. The officials suspended Ycaza for “frivolous claims.” Over the years, Ycaza had 376 suspension days. Some say he was a daring rider, some say he was reckless. But the story that made it into his obituary was one of dishonesty.
Time for reflection — is there a story about me I really would not like folks to remember? And if there were such a story, what have I done since then to change, to compensate, to make amends? How much better the tribute would have been had the words — “his only suspension in decades of racing” — been part of the story. RIP.