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Thread: Willie Shoemaker Dies

  1. #1

    Willie Shoemaker Dies

    Willie Shoemaker died Sunday

    He had his SCI in a car accident in 1991. I hope he is at peace.


  2. #2
    he is a real gentleman. I saw him speak at a Miami Project Sports Legend Dinner. Gracious, caring, and funny. Wise.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Max's Avatar
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    Jul 2001
    Montreal,Province of Quebec, CANADA
    Originally posted by Wise Young:

    he is a real gentleman. I saw him speak at a Miami Project Sports Legend Dinner. Gracious, caring, and funny. Wise.
    What a loss..

    Irony of his situation is that he was endangering his life & health all his career as jokey & then after retirement got paralysed in car acident.

    Strange fate , indeed

  4. #4
    Source: New York Newsday
    Hall of Fame Jockey Willie Shoemaker Dead at 72
    Famed sportsman rode for 41 years

    By Paul Moran
    Staff Writer

    October 12, 2003, 10:09 PM EDT

    San Marino, Calif. -- William Shoemaker, among the most well-known, successful and enduring of American jockeys, died in his sleep Sunday at his San Marino, Calif., home. He was 72.

    Paddy Gallagher, a friend and trainer who was an assistant to Shoemaker, said doctors told him the man known as Willie and "the Shoe" died of natural causes.

    "For a man his size, wearing a size 2 1/2 shoe, he was a giant," said retired Hall of Fame jockey Eddie Delahoussaye.

    "He was one of the greatest human beings I have ever had the pleasure of knowing in my life," said retired jockey Chris McCarron, now general manager of Santa Anita Park in suburban Los Angeles. "Forget about his ability to communicate with horses -- his compassion for people was second to none."

    Shoemaker was paralyzed in a 1991 automobile accident after which his blood-alcohol level was reported to be twice the legal limit. Using a mouth-controlled wheelchair, he continued to train horses for six years.

    "I knew the last couple of years he was having problems," said Delahoussaye, who last spoke with Shoemaker four days ago. "Shoe never let on. He was a quiet guy, he kept a lot of things to himself. He never complained."

    He rode thoroughbred horses with a composed and controlled style for 41 years in a record 40,350 races, and he remains the second-leading jockey in history with 8,833 winning mounts. He accumulated them during a career that began in 1949 when, at age 18, he rode his first winner at Golden Gate Fields near San Francisco and ended in early 1990 when 64,573 people gathered at Santa Anita to witness the last race of his career, a fourth-place finish.

    Born in Fabens, Texas, Shoemaker moved to Southern California as a teenager, after his parents divorced, and found work as a stable hand.

    Encouraged to pursue a riding career because of his slender, 4-foot-11 frame, Shoemaker rode his first professional race in March 1949 and became one of the nation's leading riders while still an apprentice. In 1958, he was inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame.

    Shoemaker rode four winners of the Kentucky Derby. In 1986, at age 54, he became the oldest jockey ever to win the Run for the Roses, with a ride aboard Ferdinand considered one of the greatest in the history of the sport. He also rode five Belmont Stakes winners and two winners of the Preakness. In 1987, again aboard Ferdinand, he scored his only win in a Breeders' Cup race, capturing the Classic.

    His Derby ride aboard Gallant Man in 1957 also was memorable -- for the way he lost. Dueling Iron Liege, ridden by Bill Hartack, Shoemaker mistook the 16th pole for the finish line and momentarily stood up in the irons. Gallant Man lost by a nose. He received a 15-day suspension from the stewards for the rule violation, but Gallant Man's owner, Ralph Lowe, gave Shoemaker $5,000 and a new car. Five weeks later, Shoemaker rode Gallant Man to an eight-length victory in the Belmont Stakes.

    He also rode 11 winners of the Santa Anita Handicap, eight Hollywood Gold Cup winners and four of the Jockey Club Gold Cup. His record for wins, set in 1970 when he passed Johnny Longden at 6,032, endured until 1999, when it was surpassed by Laffit Pincay Jr., who retired this year with 9,530 wins. Longden, who won the Triple Crown aboard Count Fleet in 1943 and was the only jockey to ride and train a Kentucky Derby winner, died in February at 96.

    After retiring from riding, Shoemaker began a second career as a trainer, which he continued after recovering from the one-car accident that left him a quadriplegic.

    He co-authored a 1988 autobiography with the late newspaper columnist Barney Nagler, "Shoemaker: America's Greatest Jockey," and another in 1997, the year he retired from training, titled: "Willie the Shoe." Although he abandoned his formal education at the outset of his riding career, Shoemaker also is credited with writing three mystery novels with racing themes published during the '90s.

    He is survived by an ex-wife, Cindy, and a daughter, Amanda, 23. Funeral details were incomplete.

    Copyright © 2003, Newsday, Inc.

  5. #5
    After my injury and before Willie Shoemaker was injured, my Dad saw him on a commercial flight and decided to talk with him. My Dad told Willie what had happened to me, and showed him several newspaper articles, and Willie Shoemaker responded by saying to my Dad, "If there is anything that I can do, please let me know." He also gave my Dad his home telephone number.


  6. #6
    Senior Member LauraD's Avatar
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    Jan 2002
    Southwest WI USA
    I used to love watching him race. He was a great horseman.

    It is wierd though how he survived many falls on a horse and never had a serious injury but became SCI from a Ford "Bronco".

  7. #7
    Junior Member rain's Avatar
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    Feb 2003
    In lieu of flowers, the Shoemaker family asked that donations be made to the Shoemaker Foundation, the Don MacBeth Memorial Jockey Fund, or the Paralysis Project.

    "The Shoemaker Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping those in the horse racing industry who have had a catastrophic accident or illness and need additional help once their insurance and workers compensation run out." Thoroughbred Times
    Many people working on the tracks (including jockeys) do not have any insurance coverage. Health and medical insurance is extremely expensive for self employed people and most people at the tracks are considered self employed. The Shoemaker Foundation has been a godsend for many of these people.

    The Don Macbeth fund is a fund that was set up to give finacial aid to jockeys that have suffered a catastrophic injury. This fund has helped numerous SCI jockeys with housing modifications, vans, equipment, medical bills, etc. .Don Macbeth Fund

    I met Mr. Shoemaker several times. He was a funny, caring and compassionate man. His horsemenship is legendary. You will be missed greatly Bill.

    Another well known jockey who is SCI is Ron Turcott, the man who rode Secretariat.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Sonora, CA, USA
    In this most belated response, I want to warn people not to drive Ford Bronco IIs, which are unstable and prone to rollovers. Shoemaker, a Wyoming friend, and I suffered catostrophic injuries in Bronco IIs, all of them 1-care accidents.

    Bill Shoemaker was a terrific man and the greatest jockey of all.

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