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Biography

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Overview (5)

Born in Fabens, Texas, USA
Died in San Marino, California, USA  (natural causes)
Birth NameWilliam Lee Shoemaker
Nickname The Shoe
Height 4' 11" (1.5 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Texas-born Willie Shoemaker is recognized as the most successful jockey in racing history. Winning his first race in 1949 at age 18, by the time of his retirement in 1990 he had racked up 8,833 victories - among them four Kentucky Derbies, five Belmont Stakes and three Preakness Stakes, with his winnings totaling well over $123 million. One of his greatest victories was at the 1986 Kentucky Derby when, at age 54, he rode a 17-1 shot named Ferdinand to victory. Just about the only goal he didn't accomplish was to sweep racing's Triple Crown - the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont stakes - as did his friend and rival, jockey Eddie Arcaro.

Shoemaker's life and career wasn't all roses, however. His most famous mishap occurred during the 1957 Kentucky Derby, when as he raced to what seemed to be certain victory, he mistook the 16th pole for the finish line and stood up in the stirrups, resulting in his mount slowing down and a horse named Iron Liege charging ahead to win the race by a nose. He was also badly injured twice during the late 1960s. His most serious injury, however, occurred in 1991 when he was involved in an automobile accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down. Unable to race, he spent the next several years as a trainer, finally retiring from the sport altogether in 1997.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: frankfob2@yahoo.com

Spouse (3)

Cindy Barnes (7 March 1978 - 1994) (divorced) (1 child)
Babs Bayer (29 November 1961 - 6 March 1978) (divorced) (1 child)
Virginia McLaughlin (1950 - 1960) (divorced) (2 children)

Trivia (3)

The first jockey to win over $100 million.
Inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in 1958.
Inducted into the Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1999 (inaugural class).

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