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Willie Shoemaker
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Athlete
    (August 19, 1931-October 12, 2003)
    Resided in California
    Died at 72
    4'11
    95 pounds
    Raced April 20, 1949-February 3, 1990
    Won 8,833 horse races
    Rode a record 40,350 races, finished in the money just under 50%
    Won the Kentucky Derby (1955, 59. 65, 86)
    Won the Preakness (1963, 67)
    Won the Belmont (1957, 59, 62, 67, 75)
    Elected to racing's Hall of Fame (1958)
    Rode Ferdinand, Sword Dancer, Damascus, Ack Ack, Forego, Spectacular Bid and John Henry
    He dropped out of high school.
    His nickname was 'The Shoe.'
    He was so obsessed with racing that he lived near Santa Ana race track.
    Despite crashing his Ford Bronco with his blood alcohol level twice the legal limit, he sued Ford. Rather than go to trial Ford gave him a multi-million dollar settlement.
    He broke his neck when his Ford Bronco crashed and left him a quadriplegic (1991).
    In 1957, he made one of the most costly mistakes in racing history. Aboard Gallant Man in the Kentucky Derby, he mistook the 16th pole marker as the finish line. As he stood up and thought he won, he was passed by Iron Liege, who won the race by a nose. He received a 15 day suspension.
    He remained the winningest jockey until 1999 when Laffit Pincay, Jr. won his 8,834th race.
    Although most people called him Willie, he did not like it and preferred to be called Bill, like his close friends did.
    His only child was born when he was 49.
    He survived despite weighing only 2 pounds at birth.
    He was expected to die his first day of life. To keep him warm, he was put in a shoe box in an oven.
    Despite his small size of 4'11 and 95 pounds, he controlled thousand pound racing horses.
    Ralph Lowe, owner of Gallant Man, did not blame him for losing the 1957 Kentucky Derby and as a show of faith, gave him a new car and $5,000. He also allowed him to race Gallant Man at the Belmont (which he won).
    In 1970, he became the winningest jockey of all time with his 6,032 victory.
    Although paralyzed and in a wheelchair, he continued to train horses.
    Despite his paralysis, he made his way to the track to watch and congratulate Pincay, when he broke his all-time wins record.
    His friend and fellow hall of fame jockey, Eddie Delahoussaye said: 'He was a quiet guy, he kept a lot of things to himself. He never complained.'
    His friend and fellow hall of fame jockey, Laffit Pincay, Jr., said: 'I told him how close they were to finding a cure (for paralysis) and he was very excited and sounded happy about it. I know he wasn't happy in that wheelchair, but he never complained.'
    He perfected a style that is still emulated by many jockeys of barely moving while driving the horse.
    After retiring from racing, he was asked if he would like to mount again, he said: 'No, I went 40 years, that's long enough. It's time to do something else.'
    For 2020, as of last week, Out of 5 Votes: 0% Annoying
    In 2018, Out of 16 Votes: 50.0% Annoying
    In 2018, Out of 1 Votes: 0% Annoying
    In 2017, Out of 7 Votes: 57.14% Annoying
    In 2016, Out of 9 Votes: 33.33% Annoying
    In 2015, Out of 16 Votes: 50.0% Annoying
    In 2014, Out of 16 Votes: 50.0% Annoying
    In 2013, Out of 9 Votes: 44.44% Annoying
    In 2012, Out of 21 Votes: 52.38% Annoying
    In 2011, Out of 17 Votes: 23.53% Annoying
    In 2010, Out of 32 Votes: 53.12% Annoying
    In 2009, Out of 83 Votes: 38.55% Annoying
    In 2008, Out of 20 Votes: 35.00% Annoying
    In 2007, Out of 88 Votes: 55.68% Annoying
    In 2006, Out of 134 Votes: 39.55% Annoying
    In 2005, Out of 236 Votes: 51.27% Annoying
    In 2004, Out of 304 Votes: 48.68% Annoying
    In 2003, Out of 84 Votes: 46.43% Annoying
 
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