Bobby Ussery was born in 1935 in Vian, Okla., and he began his career as a professional jockey with a win in his first race on Nov. 22, 1951 aboard Reticule in the Thanksgiving Handicap at Fair Grounds. By the end of the decade, Ussery had several major victories, including the Travers Stakes, Whitney Handicap, Alabama Stakes and the Queen’s Plate.
In 1960, Ussery piloted Bally Ache to victories in the Preakness Stakes and Florida Derby and rode champion Hail to Reason to a win the Hopeful Stakes.
Ussery won the Kentucky Derby in 1967 with Proud Clarion.
Other major wins for Ussery include the Canadian International Stakes, Metropolitan Handicap (2), Jamaica Handicap, Toboggan Handicap, Flamingo Stakes, Tremont Stakes (2), Black-Eyed Susan, Gotham (2), Fall Highweight, Mother Goose, Coaching Club American Oaks, Matron (2), Brooklyn Handicap (2), Withers (2), Wood Memorial (2), Saratoga Special, Acorn (2), Bernard Baruch (2), Delaware Handicap (2), Diana Handicap, Dwyer Handicap, Jersey Derby (2), Metropolitan Handicap, Sanford, Schuylerville and Carter Handicap.
Ussery rode a record 215 winners in New York in 1959 and became the 10th jockey in history to win 3,000 career races.
Bobby Ussery was inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in 1980.
Cyrano, Bobby Ussery up (photo by Mike Sirico)