In this short newsreel segment, witness legendary horserace jockey Willie Shoemaker win his first of 8,833 victories.
It was 1951 at Golden Gate Fields in Albany, California, just north of Oakland, that the teenage Shoemaker embarked on a career in which he would dominate the field for 29 years.
Born in Fabens, Texas in 1931, so small he was not expected to live, after his family relocated to California, Bill Shoemaker would drop out of El Monte High School in California to become a professional thoroughbred horse jockey.
Shoemaker’s wager paid off.
After his big win in San Francisco’s East Bay, Willie Shoemaker was awarded the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award.
At the age of 19, Shoemaker was earning $2,500 a week, the equivalent of about $25,000 a week by today’s standards.
Willie Shoemaker’s potential lived up to the hype as he won an incredible eleven Triple Crown races, though the Crown itself forever eluded him.
Forty-five years after his first major win in California, Wille Shoemaker made history again at the Kentucky Derby in 1986 where he would become the oldest jockey to win the race at 54.