The best way to highlight the names that were engraved in the history of Jockeys in the year 1950’s is by mentioning the leaders of the year before. In 1940s the top riders were Adams, Arcaro, Atkinson, Meade and Longden. As they continued to reign over the early 1950’s they were joined by a name that would create havoc in the racing history – Shoemaker. Soon after completing his sophomore years with 388 victories, he was at tie with the leading jockeys’ standings. He was the only one to win over I million USD in the early 1950s.
William Boland was among the top names of the year, making his mark as an apprentice jockey he had left every one aghast with his performance with Hill Prince when he had won by 1 ½ lengths over jockey Arcaro. Major concerns for apprentice jockeys during this time were the varying rules regarding apprenticeship across the world; this led them to jump from one region to the other to retain their apprentice allowances. It was the Jockey’s Guild who brought in standardized rules that were applied all over the world.
The year 1951 was marked by the highest number of deaths among jockeys and that rose to 10 fatalities. The most remembered jockey of 1950s is LeRoy who died on January 12, 1956 after a tragic fall from his mount suffering brain injury. Following that tragic loss the world of horse racing faced another fatal death of John Alessio, the president of Caliente racetrack. After his death the use of a helmet for the jockeys to wear while riding was approved and mandatory; this gained publicity and acceptance as the “Caliente Safety Helmet”, this rule was applied to exercise boys, outriders, apprentices, pony boys and girls.
The talk of the time in the racing industry was whether John Longden would surpass Sir Gordon Richard’s history of having the maximum number of wins in the history of horse racing. Finally, it was John Longden after winning his 320th in one racing season.
The year 1957 saw the remarkable jockeying of Bill Shoemaker and Bill Hartack on Gallant Man and Iron Liege respectively at the Kentucky Derby. Both were along each other fighting through a tough run at Churchill Downs until Shoemaker misjudged the length and fell behind that gave Bill Hartack his first Derby win. Proving that the win was not by chance he went on to winning four of the following derbies, later he retired as the winningest Derby jockeys along with Arcaro.
The following year was marked by the surprising deaths of jockey Jackie Westrope and Joe Snyder after suffering injuries just a week apart.
In 1958 three Jockeys were voted into the Hall of Fame of the National Museum of Racing –
Eddie Arcaro – the only jockey to have won the Triple Crown twice.
Johnny Longden – won more than 5,000 races and was the reigning leader among jockeys for 3 years in a row.
Bill Shoemaker – created all time record of winning 485 races in the year 1953 and held 5 riding titles.
Still surviving through the highest number of fatalities in the year, the Jockeys’ Guild announced in 1958 an additional insurance plan for jockeys providing death benefits of 10,000USD for both active and retired jockeys.
The year ended by the survival of Eddie Arcaro after a sudden fall from his mount, Black Hills at the Belmont Stakes. He also marked the event by winning six races in the same. “The helmet saved me,” Arcaro said – Jockeysguild
In the real world history is created and repeated as we witness each passing year, this magnificent ‘sport of kings’ has evolved many folds. With the viral age settled in this sport is accessible from the comfort of your home in any form. Games, videos, telecasts and repeats can be viewed if you have missed a race or unable to visit the racing track on that given day. Horse Games are available online for you to simulate and bet on for entertainment. What’s more? You can actually know what a world class jockey goes through while steering the thousand pounds equine beast. Be a jockey to experience the heart pounding adrenaline rush while the crowd cheers you on to victory. Play against friends or with community of horse racing fans around the world.