Larry Snyder, who ranks as one of the all-time winningest jockeys in North America, died Monday, according to an announcement from Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark. He had been battling cancer. Snyder was 76.
"Racing has lost one of the great ones," said Hall of Fame rider Pat Day.
“He became a great friend. He certainly was a rider that everybody looked up to. He was a voice for the riders, always looking out for the riders."
Snyder won 6,388 races during a 36-year career as a jockey, which spanned from 1960 to 1996. He became the sixth rider in North America to hit the 6,000-win plateau when he achieved the feat on Aug. 24, 1989 at Louisiana Downs.
One of Snyder’s biggest wins came the same year, when he won the Arkansas Derby aboard the Frank Brothers-trained Dansil.
“When I went out on my own in 1980, Larry rode some horses for me and was very instrumental in my career,” Brothers said Tuesday. “I was thrilled Larry Snyder would ride some of my horses. I started with Jack Van Berg in the 1970s and he was like the head rider for the Van Bergs. So, I knew all about Larry Snyder.
“We had a great relationship. I always had a lot of respect for Larry. No. 1, he was a wonderful family guy. He was a man’s man and he was a great rider.”
Brothers said Snyder would regularly ride for the barn during the summers at Louisiana Downs and also when he would send horses to Oaklawn.
Snyder was a native of Toledo, Ohio, according to a press release from Oaklawn. Early in his career, he led all North American riders in wins in 1969, with 352 from 1,645 mounts, according to the American Racing Manual. The same year, Snyder won six races from eight mounts on the April 1 card at Oaklawn.
He won a total of eight riding titles at Oaklawn and another six at Louisiana Downs.
“He was the man,” said Brothers.
Snyder also won titles at Arlington Park, Sportsman’s Park, Detroit Race Course and Hazel Park, according to a profile released in conjunction with his 1999 induction into the Fair Grounds Racing Hall of Fame. Snyder was inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in 1987, and was honored with the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in 1989. He won stakes with such noted horses as Sunny’s Halo and Diplomat Way, and his 35,681 mounts earned more than $47 million, according to the American Racing Manual.
Snyder worked as a steward at Oaklawn following his riding career, serving in that capacity until 2017.
“In my 40 years at Oaklawn, I don’t know if I worked with anyone with more integrity than Larry Synder,” Eric Jackson, senior vice president of Oaklawn, said in a press release. “He lived his life the same way on the track as he did off of it. Larry will be greatly missed.”
Oaklawn on Thursday named its new winner’s circle for Snyder. There was a ceremony at the track, which will utilize the winner’s circle for the first time next year, when the meet opens Jan. 25.
“Larry was a very beloved member of the Oaklawn family,” track president Lou Cella said in a press release. “We were all happy that we were able to honor him with the new winner’s circle before he passed. It was a very proud moment in Oaklawn’s history. We are able to recognize someone who played an important part of our past with something that will begin a wonderful new tradition at Oaklawn. Please join the Oaklawn family in sending our thoughts and prayers to the Snyder family.”
Snyder is survived by his wife of 56 years, Jeanette, and son Larry Snyder Jr.