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Jockey, 65, isn’t riding off into sunset just yet

Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY — About a decade ago, Remington Park jockey Jimmy Brooks had an idea for a trifecta of sorts — having three generations of the same family ride in the same race.

It hasn’t come to pass yet, but with his father, Roy Brooks, still riding, the odds are getting better.

"He said, ’Cameron wants to ride, and that all three of us could ride in the same race,’ Roy Brooks recalled of the conversation about Jimmy’s son, who then was in grade school. "I said, ’Well, I don’t know if I can last that long.’

"But I’m still going."

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To this day, Roy Brooks — who will turn 66 on Aug. 1 — remains one of Remington Park’s top jockeys, finishing in second place in the standings during the just-completed meet with 48 wins on 324 mounts. Jimmy Brooks missed most of the meet with a broken pelvis, but plans to return to the track, and Cameron Brooks — now 18 — plans to begin pursuing a riding license.

Cameron Brooks is hoping his grandfather doesn’t retire until they can all race together.

"I don’t want him to (quit). I love watching him," Cameron Brooks said. "I’m ready to get out there with him. I hope I can be half as successful as him."

Roy Brooks’ grandson isn’t his only admirer. His longevity in a profession in which injury or physical ailments claim many careers and few riders are able to remain competitive past their mid-50s has won Roy Brooks the respect of many in the industry.

"I tell him every chance I get that he’s my hero, and I mean that," said fellow jockey G.R. Carter, the Oklahoma City’s track’s perennial leading rider. "It’s not like he’s just a token figure that’s just around for the hell of it. You have to do your best to beat him or he’ll beat you. He takes no prisoners."

Brooks won his first career race aboard Star Lady Bruce in 1967 at long-gone Greer Downs in Mangum, but not before some adventure.

"I lost both stirrups and still won the race," he said. "I don’t know how I kept from falling off. I was so cotton-mouthed I couldn’t talk, I couldn’t spit, nothing. I was scared to death."

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