Pat Day speaks at Rodeo Cowboy Church

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By Joel Fickel

A modest crowd gathered inside Red Barn Arena Sunday evening to hear the impassioned words of former jockey Pat Day, now a Louisville chaplain and still a living legend in the horseracing world.

Jim Carpenter, pastor of Rodeo Cowboy Church, invited Day to speak at the church’s June fellowship. Church goers had the opportunity to meet and talk one-on-one after sharing a communal dinner.

Standing scarcely five feet tall under a C.O.P.S (Christians Obediently Preaching Salvation) cap, Day offered the powerful narrative of his life – drawing mostly from his incredibly successful racing career. He spoke at length about his triumph over an addiction to drugs and alcohol in 1984, which Day claims would not have been possible had he not finally let God into his life and become a servant of Christ.

“When you become born-again,” Day said of his transformation, then promising, “you become a new creature.”

Day is seen by others as remarkably humble despite the numerous awards under his belt. He won the Preakness five times, the Belmont three times, and was a four-time runner-up and one-time winner at the Kentucky Derby. He was also inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in 1991. In 2005, he retired with career earnings totaling nearly $298 million – the most with which a jockey has ever come away.

He ended his sermon with the Sinner’s Prayer, which Day said was introduced to him at the age of thirteen. The seed remained dormant inside him for years and only bloomed when he decided to answer God’s knock at his door.

Day has been involved with the Race Track Chaplaincy of America since the late 1980s and is currently the racing industry’s board representative of that organization.

Day and his family currently reside in Crestwood.