The well-traveled Shaun Bridgmohan is going on 20 years in the saddle, and though he is reducing the volume of mounts he takes on these days, he is still considered by many to be one of the better jockeys in the country.
Bridgmohan immigrated to America from Jamaica at age 13 and ‘paid his dues’ at Calder (now Gulfstream Park West) until he graduated high school. Bridgmohan was a hot-walker, groom and exercise rider before he became a professional jockey in 1997. He picked up his first career win at Calder before quickly moving to New York. He would win the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Apprentice in 1998 on the strength of a 199-win campaign, bolstered by a six-win performance at Aqueduct on Feb. 15.
Bridgmohan would win one leading rider title at Aqueduct (2002) but had difficulty breaking into the upper echelon of the NYRA ranks, so he decided to venture to Arlington Park in 2005.
“I thought I was in a neutral position year after year, just going through the same motions,” Bridgmohan told the New York Daily News. “I wasn’t accomplishing what I thought I could do, so I just needed a different change of scenery.”
He continued, “I had a good opportunity to ride at Arlington Park. I had a good agent [Dennis Copper]. Obviously it has worked out very well.”
Bridgmohan’s humility was on display in that interview, as he was the leading rider at the Illinois oval in 2005. More importantly, Hall-of-Fame trainer Steve Asmussen noticed Bridgmohan and decided to make him his leading rider in Kentucky. Bridgmohan had a pair of productive seasons to close out the year at Keeneland and Churchill Downs before snaring the Churchill rider title in the spring of 2006. The Jamaica native was quick to praise Asmussen even after winning his 2,000th race at the Fair Grounds in 2010 (where he won another leading rider title).
“I’d…like to thank Steve [Asmussen] for giving me so many good horses to ride,” Bridgmohan told reporters. “He’s always shown a lot of faith in me and I really appreciate his support. He’s been a tremendous boost to my career.”
Despite an incredible amount of success as a jockey (he’s just over 50 wins away from 3,000 for his career), Bridgmohan does have some regrets.
When asked by the DRF about the worst moment of his career, Bridgmohan replied, “When I took off the Breeders’ Cup Classic winner [Volponi] in 2002. I had a choice between him and Evening Attire, and I picked Evening Attire. I didn’t feel very good about that.”
But when asked about his future goals by the DRF he replied, “Just continue to compete at the highest level I’ve been at and keep riding good horses. Hopefully, the Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cups that every jockey wants to ride in will be part of that.”
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