For jockey Larry Reynolds, it’s like he never left

Roughly 10 years after he initially retired from riding, jockey Larry Reynolds realized that some of the issues that curtailed his career initially were no longer in play.

Reynolds recorded over 3,300 winners before he retired in 2013, after recording stakes victories aboard prominent Charles Town runners such as Confucius Say, Julie B and Earth Power. He also ventured to Maryland to record stakes victories aboard Miss Slewpy and Maryland Moon while transitioning from being the leading rider at Charles Town to topping the standings at both Laurel Park and Pimlico.

And that was all in his first act.

Last year, a decade after hanging ‘em up in 2013, he reached out to trainer Tim Grams about making a return to riding, first in the mornings and then potentially in the races at night.

“When I stopped riding 10 years ago, I did so because I felt that I wasn’t riding the way that I wanted to,” Reynolds said. “I felt like I was being tentative because of all my previous injuries. I wasn’t riding the way I was supposed to ride because I had so many little aches and pains that it really changed the way I rode. When I started to come back, my wife [former jockey Lori Strickand] and I talked about it a lot and prayed a lot.”

Grams can still recall the moment when Reynolds hinted that he wanted to return to galloping horses in the morning and was simply looking for one trainer to give him a chance.

“Me and [his wife] Judy were sitting in a restaurant one night having dinner and watching races when Larry called me and said he wanted to come back and start galloping horses,” Grams said. “Well, I told Judy that he wasn’t coming, didn’t even give it a second thought until one Monday morning when Larry showed up at 6 o’clock. He’s been coming back every morning getting on eight or nine of mine. Now he’s my go-to rider.”


Grams has won more than 900 races in his career. He perhaps will best be remembered for his work with the talented, temperamental gelding Runnin’toluvya, who won more than $1.1 million and the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic. His wife Judy Grams is a former local rider herself, so the couple know the ins and outs of the racetrack.

Larry Reynolds
Jockey Larry Reynolds. Photo courtesy of Maryland Jockey Club.

Their success – Grams is winning at a 25% clip this year – made the Grams barn an ideal place for the comebacking Reynolds, 53, to land.

Reynolds won with four of 40 mounts in 2023 and so far in 2024 sports 10 winners from 46 mounts. He recorded his first victory in 10 years when he steered Moonlit Shadow to an allowance score for Grams last Sept. 22.

During the first full weekend of March 2024, Reynolds guided Powered by Love and Judgement Day to allowance scores for Grams. While both have shown glimpses of promise early in their careers, Judgement Day has won both of his starts for Grams with Reynolds aboard, including a gritty tally on March 9 when he outfought stablemate Dr. Dumbledore.

“He won his first start really impressively, but then he got sick and missed two weeks of training,” Reynolds said. “I think he went into that race a little short. I mean, he was tired when Tim’s other horse [Mr. Dumbledore] came to me on the far turn. I mean, he won that race on pure guts. He was tired turning for home, which was to be expected. But he fought back and won that race on pure guts.”

Reynolds’ son Austin has done a little riding of his own, riding 45 mounts over the last several years and winning a couple of races while also galloping horses and working in several trainers’ operations. Although Larry had been away from the track for a decade, when he returned to the jocks’ room, he found that it featured a bevy of familiar faces.

“Even though I had been away for 10 years, when I came back I still was competing with [Arnaldo] Bocachica, J.D. Acosta, Gustavo Larrosa, Antonio Lopez and a couple of other guys that were still around,” he said. “There were a few new faces, like Carlos Lopez, Juan Nunez, and Marshall Mendez, but for the most part when I returned to ride there were a lot of guys in the jocks’ room who I rode with before I retired.”