Steve Cauthen is an American jockey.
Cauthen, the son of a trainer and a farrier, grew up in Walton, Kentucky around horses, which (along with his small size) made race-riding a logical career choice. He rode his first race on May 12, 1976 at Churchill Downs; he finished last, riding King of Swat. He rode his first winner (Red Pipe) less than a week later, at River Downs. His rise to prominence was meteoric; he was the nation's leader in race wins in 1977 with 487. In only his second year of riding, he became the first jockey to win $6 million in a single season on the day in December, 1977 he rode Little Happiness (three-year-old filly) in the sixth race at Aqueduct Racetrack. After that, he was called "The Six Million Dollar Man," and "Stevie Wonder."
He won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Apprentice Jockey and the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey in the United States and was selected as Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated, as well as being named as ABC's Wide World of Sports Athlete of the Year. In 1978 he became the youngest jockey to ever win the U. S. Triple Crown, riding Affirmed.
He was voted the prestigious George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in 1984 that honors a rider whose career and personal conduct exemplifies the very best example of participants in the sport of thoroughbred racing.
However, as he left his teens and matured, he had increasing problems making weight. In 1979 he moved to England, where jockeys normally compete at higher weights, and became a highly successful rider there. His move and first ride were very high profile in the UK. His very first ride in the UK resulted in a winner, when Marquee Universal, trained by Barry Hills won the Grand Foods Handicap at Salisbury Racecourse on April 7 1979. Cauthen was British Champion Jockey three times, and won English classic races ten times, including the 2,000 Guineas, the Epsom Derby twice, and the St. Leger Stakes three times. He also won the Irish Oaks twice and in 1989 rode European Horse of the Year, Old Vic to victory in the 1989 French Derby and the Irish Derby. In 1991 he won the Derby Italiano.
After he finished his riding career, he returned to Kentucky, where he is an executive at Turfway Park, the nearest major track to his hometown. Cauthen was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1994. He married his wife Amy, also a Kentucky native, in 1992 and they have three daughters.