2017 Parade Marshal

Corey S. Nakatani

Corey S. Nakatani was born in Covina, California, and is an American Thoroughbred horse racing jockey. He got his big break in 1990 when he rode Itsallgreektome to win big stakes races.

Nakatani has long resided on the Southern California circuit of Santa Anita Park, Hollywood Park, and Del Mar racetrack. On October 8, 2011, he won six races in one day, including two grade one victories.  Nakatani continues to race the Southern California circuit having just completed the 2017 Spring season at Santa Anita and entering the Summer season at Del Mar.

Nakatani has won more than 3,850 races including: Kentucky Oaks twice, one time on Lite Light and the other riding Pike Place Dancer; Canadian International Stakes; Strub Stakes four times; Dubai Golden Shaheen; and 10 Breeders’ Cups, three of which were won consecutively between 1996 and 1998 in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. His closest finish in the Kentucky Derby is second on Nehro in 2011. In 2006, he ranked sixth among United States jockeys with 145 wins on 738 mounts, with earnings of $14,001,900.

His late father Roy Nakatani, was born in a World War II internment camp and spent time at Santa Anita Park when it was a relocation camp. His mother is Marie Nakatani and he is one of 10 children. Nakatani was a champion high school wrestler who became intrigued by racing after visiting Santa Anita with his father after a wrestling tournament at the age of 16. He eventually approached horse trainer Roger Stein for work. After three days of mucking out stalls and walking horses, he decided he wanted to ride even though he had never been on a horse before.

Stein suggested that he get some experience on a working farm, so he learned the ropes on the Thoroughbred farm of Tony Matos. He then went on and broke and galloped horses for Johnny Longden and Longden’s son, Eric Longden before starting his career as a jockey. He graduated from jockey school in Castaic, California, and won his first race, a dead heat, in Caliente, Mexico in 1988 aboard Blue King. He moved to Southern California in April 1989, and became the leading apprentice jockey that same year.

Nakatani won his 3,500th race at Aqueduct Racetrack on November 17, 2011 aboard Grand Strategy in the eighth race of the day.  As of July 1, 2017, Nakatani’s career earnings is $230,126,776 (12th all time), with 3,856 wins, 3,507 places and 3,200 shows in 23,399 mounts.

Nakatani has ridden a number of notable horses including: Jackson Bend, Nehro, Colonel John, Lava Man, Thor’s Echo, Aragorn, Rock Hard Ten, Sarafan, Indian Blessing, Lite Light, Relaxed Gesture, Sandpit, Serena’s Song, Silic, and Lit de Justice. His favorite horse of all-time is Lava Man.

He also is a golfer who carries a three handicap.

Nakatani is married Lisa, and together have a daughter Lilah. He has three other children from a previous marriage: Brittany, Matthew, and Austin. He currently lives in Southern California.