Earlie Stancel Fires was born on March 19, 1947 in Riverdale, Ark. He received his jockey license in 1964 and won his first race in March of 1965 at Oaklawn Park. By the end of the year, Fires had 224 victories, topping all apprentice riders.
Fires won numerous riding titles at Arlington Park, Churchill Downs, Keeneland, Gulfstream, and Tropical-at-Calder. In 1983, he set a record at Arlington with seven wins on a single card. Fires is Arlington’s all-time leader in wins with 2,886. Overall, Fires won 6,470 races and had purse earnings of $86,392,977.
Early in his career, Fires’ most significant mounts included In Reality and War Censor. With In Reality, Fires won six races, including the Florida Derby and Jersey Derby. With War Censor, Fires won numerous stakes, including the Dixie Handicap and the Hialeah Turf Cup.
Other notable victories for Fires include the Arlington Matron Stakes (5), a second Florida Derby, the Breeders’ Futurity Stakes, Santa Barbara Handicap, Arlington Handicap (2), Spinster Stakes, Lincoln Heritage Handicap (7), Isaac Murphy Handicap (3), Alabama Stakes, Ashland Stakes, Gazelle Stakes, American Derby, Phoenix Stakes, Donn Handicap, Ohio Derby, E.P. Taylor Stakes, Arlington-Washington Futurity, and Hanshin Cup (3).
Fires was presented the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in 1991. When he retired in 2008, Fires ranked ninth among North American jockeys in lifetime wins. He won riding titles in four different decades, a testament to his durability and consistency.
Earlie Fires was inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in 2001.