Was Lester Piggott knighted?
Unquestionably the most famous jockey of his generation, Lester Piggott rode 4,493 winners on the Flat, plus another 20 over hurdles, and won the Flat Jockeys’ Championship 11 times, in 1960, 1964–71, and 1981–82. He rode an unprecedented 30 English Classic winners, including a record nine Derby winners, and famously won the English Triple Crown on Nijinsky in 1970.
Piggott was never knighted but, in 1975, was created an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to horse racing. He retired from race riding, for the first time, in 1985 and switched his attention to training, with no little success. However, in October, 1987, Piggott was prosecuted and found guilty of personal tax fraud after failing to declare income of £3.25 million to the Inland Revenue. He was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment – at the time, the most severe sentence in British history – of which he served one year before being released on parole, in October, 1988. During his time in prison, Piggott was stripped of his OBE.
Piggott returned to race riding in October, 1990, famously winning the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Belmont Park, New York on Royal Academy 12 days later. He also won his thirtieth and final English Classic, the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket, on Rodrigo De Triano, in 1992 before retiring for good in September, 1995.