One of America’s Greatest Jockeys to be shared with tourists from around the world. Four Time Derby Winning Jockey to be celebrated in 2010.
(January 23, 2009) Ali was the Greatest, Babe is Baseball, “The Shoe” was racing.
The Kentucky Derby Museum announced today that the private collection of legendary jockey Bill Shoemaker would be permanently housed at the Museum. The collection includes Shoemaker’s personal memorabilia, scrapbooks, photos, awards and numerous trophies. Many of the pieces will be conserved before display in a museum exhibit April of 2010 celebrating the exciting career of the first jockey to break a million dollars in money earned. A temporary exhibit will be displayed beginning Feb. 2, 2008.
Shoemaker’s daughter Amanda was on hand to turn the collection over to the Kentucky Derby Museum, “I’m honored that my father’s historic accomplishments will be enjoyed by race fans from around the world. He broke numerous records and captured many titles during his 40 year career as a jockey. He overcame great adversity after his accident and although he was bound to a wheelchair, he never gave up his love of horses or racing,” said Amanda Teal.
In a career that spanned five decades, Bill Shoemaker rode in more than 40,000 races and won a record 8,833 of them. His purses, totaling more than $123 million, included four Kentucky Derby victories, including his last as the oldest Derby Winning Jockey, at age 54, aboard Ferdinand in the 1986 Derby.
Riding from 1949 to 1990, winning on 22.9 percent of his mounts, Shoemaker became the first jockey to win over $100 million. After his last race as a jockey, in February 1990, Shoemaker made the transition to trainer one month later. His stable quickly swelled to some 40 horses, and he was regarded within the sport as adept at judging and preparing them.
An auto accident in 1991 at the age of 60 left him paralyzed when he rolled his car down an embankment that after playing golf. Two months later and wheelchair bound, Shoemaker returned to the track to continue training until 1997.
He died at the age of 72 on October 13, 2003.
Triple Crown Race wins:
• Kentucky Derby: Swaps (1955), Tomy Lee (1959), Lucky Debonair (1965) and Ferdinand (1986)
• Preakness Stakes: Candy Spots (1963) and Damascus (1967)
• Belmont Stakes: Gallant Man (1957), Sword Dancer (1959), Jaipur (1962), Damascus (1967) and Avatar (1975)
• *Led the nation in stakes victories 14 times.
• *Won the national money-won title 10 times
• *Won more races in a year than any other rider, 5 times.
• *Leading rider at Santa Anita a record 17 straight seasons from 1951-1967
• *Leading rider at Hollywood Park 18 seasons
• *President of the Jockey’s Guild for 15 years
• *Youngest, at the time, to be inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame
• *He’s been called, “racing’s best-known celebrity”
• “The world’s winningest rider”
*now ranked as the third winningest rider to Laffit Pincay, Jr. (1999) and Russell Baze (2006)
Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron: *McCarron’s middle daughter Stephanie was Shoe’s Goddaughter
“He was absolutely an anomaly. For his size at 95 pounds and a size 1 and a half shoe, he wasn’t supposed to be able to control a 1000 pound animal. It was just incredible to watch him out-think and out-maneuver everyone else.”
“Lots of horses are difficult to ride, the great sportswriter, Jim Murray, once said, ‘Shoe didn’t just ride a horse, he played him like a piano.”
On Shoe as a prankster: “I was worried when I left Maryland that I would miss the camaraderie of the locker room that on the West coast the jocks would be stuffy and more professional. I hadn’t been there a week when I went to put on my boots and discovered they were glued to the floor, I found out later that Shoe had done it. He would put shaving cream in the silks and you’d throw your arm down in the sleeve when you rushing between a race… he would just sit back and laugh.”
“He had a tremendous impact as far as my career goes. All you had to do was emulate him to become a good rider. His ability goes without saying, his record speaks to that, but his kindness, his demeanor were unequal.”
“He never ruffled. His demeanor stayed the same whether he rode a million dollar winner or a claimer.”
“When he stood up on Gallant Man he let it roll. Lot of people would’ve been incredibly angry or upset to have received that suspension after the race. He handled it with plum. He was a classy individual.”
“It was wonderful (to ride with him) to have him in a good part of our lives, we were honored and privileged to have known the man.”
“Shoe was the exemplary leader of all jockeys. He’s an incredible example of what defines a professional.”
Frankie Brothers, Trainer:
"Shoe was always a class act and set the standard for other riders--in every respect."
Donna Barton Brothers, Retired Jocky, NBC Commentator:
“I remember Shoemaker saying that he believed that for every cross a rider threw on a horse through the stretch they would get another inch of effort out of that horse and, "If noses win races, then I believe throwing crosses are important." It’s something I heard him say after I had been riding for only about 4 years and I just never forgot it. I would throw crosses down the lane thinking about his words EVERY day.
Ron Turcotte, Secretariat’s Jockey for Triple Crown victories:
“Bill Shoemaker was very gifted… unusually gifted. A horse would just run for him. He had small hands but could finesse his moves and used talent more than strength.”
“You could say he was America’s Greatest Jockey, he was the Pat Day of his time. (But) he was very humble and never bragged, always nice to the rest of us jocks.”
“He was a very clean rider and if you were in trouble he’d always let you through if he could. But he was a mischevious little guy, always pulling jokes and he’d say ‘see ya later’ when he pulled to the front.”
Bill Boland, Derby winning jockey with MiddleGround (1950)
“He had great hands, horses loved to run for him.”
“He could ride eight races a day and he was just as fresh after the eighth race as he was at the beginning of the day. He was light, strong as a bull and had a great pair of hands.”
“He had a lot of confidence about him. It didn’t make any difference if it was a 35-hundred dollar race or the Kentucky Derby, if you were in trouble and it wasn’t your fault, he would try to help you.”
About the 1959 race, “It took me about six months to get over it but it wasn’t against him or anything.”
“In his era, he was the greatest. He was great every place he went.”
Ray York- Retired Jockey, Derby winning jockey with Determine (1954)
“He was just fantastic, I’ll tell ya, there was only one Shoemaker. And there will never be another Shoemaker because they could never copy his style. He was just great.”
“He was big time. People just loved to go see him.”
Hall of Fame Trainer Carl Nafzger:
“He had magic hands. If you know racing, you know Shoemaker. Shoemaker is Thoroughbred Racing. I don’t think people grasp the magnitude of his career. I’m proud that Kentucky did this, that the Derby Museum will have this collection. It would’ve been a shame to see it scattered.”