Bill Shoemaker: Larger than Life

Bill Shoemaker: Larger than Life chronicles the life and times of Bill Shoemaker, often cited as Thoroughbred racing’s last celebrity jockey. Growing up a natural athlete that excelled at boxing and wrestling, Shoemaker found his calling when he began working with Thoroughbreds in high school. Beginning his professional riding career while still a teenager, Shoemaker won the Kentucky Derby four times over a span of four decades. In 1970, he won his 6,033rd race to become the all-time winningest rider in history, a record since broken by two other jockeys. Based in California, Shoemaker was part of the state’s celebrity culture, appearing frequently on national television, acting as a spokesperson for major companies and forever being immortalized in a series featuring famous athletes by noted pop artist Andy Warhol.

The exhibit features the extensive collection of Bill Shoemaker, presented to the Kentucky Derby Museum by his daughter, Amanda, in 2008. The artifacts and images in the exhibit document Shoemaker’s youth, his extensive career as a jockey and his post-riding life as a Thoroughbred trainer and advocate for the industry.