One of the most prolific jockey
s in horseracing
Shoemaker (DOB: 8/19/1931 in Fabens, Texas; also referred to as Bill Shoemaker) won 11 Triple Crown races in his career: 4 Kentucky Derbies, 2 Preaknesses, and 5 Belmont Stakes.
"Shoe" started racing in 1949, at the age of 17, and began racking up victories shortly thereafter. The wins wouldn't stop for more than 40 years.
In his career, which lasted until 1990, Shoemaker won 8833 races, a record which was broken by Laffit Pincay, Jr. in 1999.
Showing his lasting power, Shoemaker won the 1986 Kentucky Derby on the horse Ferdinand, at the age of 54...and 31 years after his first Kentucky Derby won, riding Swaps in 1955.
A blemish on Shoemaker's career was the 1957 Kentucky Derby, where he had a large lead aboard Gallant Man, but slowed up, misjudging another post for the finish line. Gallant Man lost at the end to Iron Liege.
A year after retiring as a jockey, in 1991, Shoemaker was paralyzed from the neck down in a car crash. He remained involved in horseracing as a trainer until 1997.
In 1999, ESPN's SportsCentury selected Shoemaker as #57 on its list of the 100 greatest North American athletes of the 20th century.