Willie Shoemaker, who began his thoroughbred racing career in 1949, is one of the most successful jockeys of all time. On a yearly average, Shoemaker mounted more than 1,200 thoroughbreds, 300 of which became winners. In his first year, he had 219 victories. Shoemaker won the Kentucky Derby four times. His victories were aboard Swaps in 1955, Tomy Lee in 1959, Lucky Debonair in 1965 and Ferdinand in 1986. Shoemaker also won the Preakness twice with Candy Spots in 1963 and Damascus in 1967. In his 1957 victory in the Belmont Stakes, aboard Gallant Man, he set an American record time of 2:26 3/5 for 1 1/4 miles. Shoemaker also had four other wins in the Belmont Stakes. By the end of his riding career, Shoemaker had won 8,833 races. He was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 1965.

Willie Shoemaker

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