Jockey Jerry Lambert, 3-time Hollywood Gold Cup winner, dies
LOS ANGELES (AP) Jerry Lambert, a leading jockey on the Southern California circuit in the 1960s and `70s who rode Native Diver to three consecutive Hollywood Gold Cup victories, has died. He was 74.
He was found dead Monday at Magali Farms in Santa Ynez, California, where he worked, according to daughter Lacey, who also works at the breeding and training facility. Santa Anita Park in suburban Arcadia announced his death Wednesday.
Lambert was the regular rider of Hall of Fame gelding Native Diver, and together they won Gold Cups in 1965, '66 and '67. He won 2,535 races and retired with 42 stakes wins at Santa Anita, 54 at Hollywood Park and 30 at Del Mar. He won his first race on a half-mile bullring in Shelby, Montana, in 1958.
Lambert, who went by ''Clyde,'' was Santa Anita's leading rider in 1967-68 and won another title at the track's fall meet in 1972. He was Del Mar's leading rider in 1967. He was born in Clyde, Kansas, on Dec. 27, 1940.
Lambert was known as a superb judge of pace in races who had a light touch on the horses and a cool demeanor.
Hall of Famer jockey Donald Pierce rode against Lambert from 1961 until 1984.
''Anytime he was in a race, you had to deal with him because he didn't make mistakes,'' Pierce said. ''He was very quiet, very low-key and he'd come and beat you when you'd least expect it.''
Lambert rode Convenience against Typecast and Hall of Famer Bill Shoemaker in a match race on June 17, 1972, at Hollywood Park.
Typecast was favored, but Lambert guided Convenience to a head victory in the $250,000 winner-take-all thriller in front of 53,575.
''Not too many people out rode Shoemaker, but Jerry had him in his hip pocket that day,'' said trainer Tom Proctor, whose father Willard trained Convenience. ''He had Shoe in a bad spot going into the first turn and again when they turned for home. I never saw my dad get nervous, but he was that day.''
Lambert experienced a career resurgence in 1987 riding at Bay Meadows and Golden Gate Fields in Northern California. But it was derailed when he was involved in a riding accident at Pleasanton in July of that year, resulting in a broken cheekbone, broken ankle and collapsed lung.
He ended his career at Los Alamitos in Orange County, riding Arabian-breds from 1994-98.
Funeral services were pending.