Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron will retire from his full-time teaching duties at the North American Racing Academy (NARA) at the end of 2014 fall semester. McCarron joined the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) to launch NARA in 2006.
McCarron currently serves as Lead Instructor for Jockey Pathway students at NARA, which is now part of Bluegrass Community and Technical College. While McCarron will no longer teach full time, he will remain a part of the program he founded by teaching master classes in advanced riding each summer. Throughout the year, McCarron’s successful methods of preparing professional exercise riders and jockeys will continue.
McCarron’s illustrious 28-year riding career ended in a victory, when in June 2002 he rode Came Home to a win in his last professional race. He was the sport’s all-time money leader with 7,141 total wins, including two Kentucky Derby wins, six wins in Triple Crown races, two Eclipse Awards, nine Breeders’ Cup victories and over $260 million in purse earnings.
“I’ll miss the students. So many have taken their studies very seriously and have gone on to apply what they learned at NARA to become successful race riders, grooms, trainers and just solid horsemen and horsewomen overall, which is what racing needs. Yes, I am retiring! But I do look forward to my new role as an adjunct riding instructor, mentor, and in assisting BCTC during this transition. It’s been a wonderful ride!”
Dr. Augusta Julian, BCTC President, said of Chris, “The equine industry is benefitting from the commitment of Chris McCarron to prepare young jockeys and others with technical skills, life skills, and knowledge of the field. He has truly given back after a brilliant career. Not everyone has such a passion for their field that they mentor, train, and support others coming behind them. Chris is one of those rare few, and we are proud of the successful start and continuing efforts Chris, and the faculty and staff in the program, have made. BCTC remains committed to excellent preparation and success for graduates of the program.”
Since 2006, BCTC-NARA students have achieved licensure and joined the equine industry workforce for careers in the care, training and riding of racehorses. Twenty graduates are currently active as professional jockeys and their mounts have earned nearly $40 million in purses at tracks across North America.
Originally launched by the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, NARA is now part of BCTC and remains a highly successful career and training program offering one-year certificates and two-year associates degrees in support of the horse racing and breeding industries.