Steve Cauthen is an American jockey who is now retired. 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. He was the nation's leader in race wins in 1977 with 487. In 1977 he became the first jockey to win over $6 million in a year working with agent Lenny Goodman, and in 1978 he became the youngest jockey to win the U. S. Triple Crown. After riding for a few years in the United States, he began racing in Europe. He is the only jockey to have won both the Kentucky Derby and the Epsom Derby.
After he finished his riding career, he returned to Kentucky and bought a stud farm. In 1999, the Racing Post ranked Cauthen as eighth in their list of the Top 50 jockeys of the 20th century. As of 2020, Cauthen is the only jockey ever to be named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year.