John Rotz was born in Warrensburg, Ill., in 1934 and went to work at Fairmount Park following his graduation from high school in 1952. Rotz started out as a groom, hot walker and exercise rider before making his debut as a jockey in 1953.
Rotz won the 1962 Preakness Stakes with Greek Money and captured the 1979 Belmont Stakes with High Echelon. He was the North American leader in stakes races won in both 1969 and 1970.
Known as “Gentleman John” because of his polite, articulate and professional nature, Rotz was voted the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in 1973.
Rotz won many notable races, including the Arkansas Derby, Clark Handicap, Matron (2), Spinster (2), Aqueduct Handicap, Arlington Classic, Remsen (2), Saranac (3), Wood Memorial (2), Metropolitan Handicap (2), Iselin Handicap (2), Champagne Stakes (3), Man o’ War, Acorn (2), Jerome Handicap, Jim Dandy (2), Test (2), Vagrancy (2), Alabama (2), Beldame, Comely (2), Florida Derby, Gazelle (2), Belmont Futurity (3), Hopeful (2), Spinaway, Withers, Fall Highweight (4), Gotham, Massachusetts Handicap, Delaware Handicap, Vosburgh, Carter, Mother Goose, Woodward and Santa Monica Handicap.
Among Rotz’s top mounts were Hall of Famers Gallant Bloom, Ta Wee, Carry Back and Dr. Fager, as well as Silent Screen, In Reality, Obeah, Castle Forbes and Rose Bower.
John Rotz was inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in 1983.
Rotz and Ta Wee win the Jasmine Stakes