Budding superstar jockey Steve Cauthen took time to sign autographs for his fans at Saratoga Race Course in this 1977 photo, taken when Cauthen was only 17 years old and in the middle of an incredible season.
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Steve Cauthen is perhaps best known for riding Affirmed to his sweep of the 1978 Triple Crown, a feat that has not been accomplished since, but it was in 1977 when ‘The Kid’ rose to national prominence.
Cauthen followed a successful start to his career at age 16 in 1976 with a banner campaign in 1977, shattering the New York record for victories in a year with 447 and amassing more than $6.1 million in purse earnings. A shoe-in for the Eclipse Award as outstanding apprentice, Cauthen also was honored as the Eclipse Award winner as outstanding jockey and was presented with Eclipse Award of Merit for an incredible campaign that led to Sports Illustrated naming him 1977 Sportsman of the Year. Cauthen is the only person from the horse racing industry ever to be so honored by Sports Illustrated.
The following year, Cauthen became the youngest rider ever to win the Kentucky Derby when he guided Affirmed to victory at the age of 18. Inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in 1994, Cauthen is the only jockey ever to win the Kentucky, Epsom, Irish, French, and Italian Derbys.