William Shoemaker

When he retired in 1990 after more than 40 years in the irons, Bill Shoemaker had won a record 8,833 races, including 11 in the Triple Crown series.

Bill Shoemaker after winning on Princess Endeavor on Febuary 11, 1969 at Santa Anita (Bill Mochon/Museum Collection)
Inducted

1958

Born

Aug. 19, 1931, Fabens, Texas

Died

Oct. 12, 2003, San Marino, California

Career

1949-1990

Wins

8,833

Earnings

$123,375,524

Racing Record

21.89

Win %

Biography

When he retired in 1990 after more than 40 years in the irons, Bill Shoemaker had won a record 8,833 races, including 11 in the Triple Crown series.

Shoemaker led all North American jockeys in earnings 10 times and in wins five times. He won 485 races in 1953, a record that stood for 20 years. The Eclipse Award winner for Outstanding Jockey in 1981, Shoemaker won the Kentucky Derby with Hall of Famer Swaps (1955), Tomy Lee (1959), Lucky Debonair (1965), and Ferdinand (1986); the Preakness with Candy Spots (1963) and Hall of Famer Damascus (1967); and the Belmont with Hall of Famers Gallant Man (1957), Sword Dancer (1959), and Damascus (1967), as well as Avatar (1975).

In September of 1970, Shoemaker won his 6,033rd race to surpass Johnny Longden for the all-time record. Shoemaker held the career wins record record until Laffit Pincay, Jr. surpassed it in late 1999. 

Born in Texas in 1931, Shoemaker rode his first winner at Golden Gate Fields in 1949. He won the Santa Anita Handicap 11 times and the Santa Anita Derby, Hollywood Derby, Hollywood Gold Cup, Del Mar Handicap, and Oak Tree Invitational eight times each. He rode numerous legends, including Hall of Famers Swaps, Round Table, Northern Dancer, Buckpasser, Ack Ack, Cicada, Forego, John Henry, Spectacular Bid, and Gamely.

Shoemaker was 54 when he won his final Kentucky Derby aboard Ferdinand in 1986. The following year, he piloted Ferdinand to victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Shoemaker retired with purse earnings of $123,375,524.

Achievements

Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey — 1981

North America's leading rider in earnings — 1951, 1953, 1954, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964
North America's leading rider in wins — 1950, 1953, 1954, 1958, 1959

Triple Crown Highlights

Won the 1955 Kentucky Derby — Swaps
Won the 1959 Kentucky Derby — Tomy Lee
Won the 1965 Kentucky Derby — Lucky Debonair
Won the 1986 Kentucky Derby — Ferdinand 
Won the 1963 Preakness Stakes — Candy Spots
Won the 1967 Preakness Stakes — Damascus
Won the 1957 Belmont Stakes — Gallant Man
Won the 1959 Belmont Stakes — Sword Dancer
Won the 1967 Belmont Stakes — Damscus
Won the 1975 Belmont Stakes — Avatar

Breeders' Cup Highlights

Won the 1987 Classic — Ferdinand

Other Highlights

Won the Santa Anita Handicap — 1954, 1955, 1958, 1961, 1966, 1967, 1971, 1975, 1980, 1982, 1985
Won the Del Mar Handicap — 1950, 1953, 1954, 1971, 1976, 1982, 1983, 1987
Won the Hollywood Derby — 1951, 1955, 1957, 1958, 1974, 1976, 1982, 1986
Won the Hollywood Gold Cup — 1956, 1957, 1958, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1978, 1987
Won the Santa Anita Derby — 1956, 1958, 1960, 1963, 1965, 1970, 1977, 1987

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