The Kentucky Derby Museum will soon open Shoemaker: Start to Finish (April 25, 2011 – December 31, 2011) which commemorates the life of world renowned jockey Bill Shoemaker.
This exhibit will display historical and personal memorabilia that Shoemaker acquired throughout his 40-plus-year racing career including: scrapbooks, photos, awards and trophies along with an extensive video collection documenting his prestigious career.
Billie Lee Shoemaker was born premature August 19, 1931 in Fabens, Texas. He only weighed two-and-a-half pounds and was not expected to live through the night. His survival is oftentimes credited to his 92-year-old grandmother, who made a makeshift incubator from the heat of an oven, blankets and an old shoebox. Miraculously, he lived through the night and went on to become the world’s winningest jockey until 1999.
Shoemaker rode in over 40,000 races and won an unprecedented 8,833 races. His purses totaled over $123 million and he was the first jockey to win over $100 million. He had four Kentucky Derby victories and currently holds the record as the oldest jockey, at age 54, to win a Kentucky Derby. At the age of 58, “The Shoe” retired from racing and began training horses. Shoemaker died at the age of 72 on October 12, 2003
The Kentucky Derby Museum received the collection in January 2009 from Bill Shoemaker’s daughter, Amanda. It is the biggest collection in the Derby Museum numbering close to 550 pieces.