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William J. Hartack

William J. Hartack
Induction Year: 
1959
Number of Mounts: 
21,535
Number of Winners: 
4,272
Winning Percentage: 
19.80%

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Bio

   Bill Hartack rode in the third quarter of this century and won with 19.8% of his mounts. He was born in Pennsylvania and rode his first winner at West Virginia's Waterford Park at age 20.

   Hartack was known as an intelligent, knowledgeable rider, with a keen desire to win, and excellent skill at transmitting that desire to his mounts. By his third season of racing, Hartack was the country's leading jockey. He rode a number of Hall of Fame horses but identified his best mount as 1957 Florida Derby winner Gen. Duke. Ridan was his best 2-year-old mount.

   Among Hartack's victories were five Kentucky Derbys, two in record time, three Preakness wins, and one Belmont Stakes. He twice won two out of the three races comprising the Triple Crown: the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness with Northern Dancer and Majestic Prince.

Hartack prolonged his riding career by leaving the U.S. for Hong Kong where riders are competitive under higher weights. He later worked as a racing official.

Bill Hartack led all jockeys in races won for 4 seasons and was the first jockey to earn $3 million in a year, an earnings record that was not broken for ten years. He was inducted in the Hall of Fame in 1959.

 

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