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Willie Shoemaker Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

Born: August 19, 1931 in Fabens, Texas
Died: October 12, 2003 in San Marino, California
Biography | show moreshow less
Willie Shoemaker, born on August 19, 1931, in Fabens, Texas, was an iconic American jockey, renowned for his successful and lengthy career in horse racing. He was one of the most celebrated jockeys in the history of the sport, known for his skill, determination, and numerous record-setting achievements.

Shoemaker's career as a jockey began in 1949, and he quickly rose to prominence in the horse racing world. He won his first Kentucky Derby in 1955 aboard Swaps and went on to win the prestigious race three more times during his career. His other Kentucky Derby victories came with Tomy Lee in 1959, Lucky Debonair in 1965, and Ferdinand in 1986. The win with Ferdinand was particularly notable as Shoemaker was 54 years old at the time, making him the oldest jockey to win the Kentucky Derby.

In addition to his success in the Kentucky Derby, Shoemaker won numerous other major races. He claimed victory in the Preakness Stakes twice and the Belmont Stakes five times. His exceptional talent and consistency over the years earned him a reputation as one of the greatest jockeys in the sport. Throughout his career, Shoemaker achieved numerous records. He was the leading jockey in terms of annual wins ten times and retired with a then-world record of 8,833 victories. His remarkable record of wins stood for many years and highlighted his skill and longevity in the highly competitive world of horse racing.

After retiring from riding in 1990, Shoemaker continued his involvement in horse racing as a trainer. He trained horses for several years, imparting his vast knowledge and experience to a new generation in the sport.
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