To win the Kentucky Derby at least once is part of every jockey's dream, but to win it two, three, four, and even five times really puts a jockey's name in high regard. Featured here are the 10 jockeys with the most Kentucky Derby wins in history, and some of them you can still see riding today.
Bill Hartack (5): Hartack ties the record for
the most Kentucky Derby wins. He won with Iron Liege (1957), Venetian Way
(1960), Decidedly (1962), Northern Dancer (1964), and Majestic Prince (1969).
Decidedly ran the fifth fastest Kentucky Derby and Northern Dancer ran the
Eddie Arcaro (5): Arcaro ties with Hartack for
winning five times, but two of Arcaro’s mounts were Triple Crown winners, those
two horses being Whirlaway (1941) and Citation (1948). Arcaro also won the
Kentucky Derby with Lawrin (1938), Hoop Jr. (1945), and Hill Gail (1952).
Whirlaway, Citation, and Hill Gail were all owned by Calumet Farm.
Bill Shoemaker (4): Shoemaker’s Kentucky Derby
wins came with Swaps (1955), Tommy Lee (1959), Lucky Debonair (1965), and
Ferdinand (1986). In 1957, Shoemaker was second with Gallant Man after
misjudging the finish line and standing up in his stirrups too soon. He lost to
Bill Hartack on Iron Liege that year.
Victor Espinoza (3): Espinoza finally got his
Triple Crown victory in 2015 with American Pharoah. He won both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness
with War Emblem (2002) and California
Chrome (2014), but did not capture the Belmont with them.
Calvin Borel (3): Borel had a lot of success on
the Churchill Downs track,
including three Kentucky Derby wins with Street Sense (2007), Mine That Bird
(2009), and Super Saver (2010). He was the leading jockey at Churchill Downs
for four meets.
Kent Desormeaux (3): Desormeaux holds an
impressive three-win record for the Kentucky Derby. His first victory came
aboard Real Quiet (1998), then Fusaichi Pegasus (2000) and Big Brown
(2008). Real Quiet lost the Triple Crown by a nose in a photo finish.
Gary Stevens (3): One of Steven’s best
known mounts was Winning Colors, the last filly to win the Kentucky Derby in
1988. Stevens won the 1995 Kentucky Derby and Belmont with Thunder Gulch, and
missed the 1997 Triple Crown by 1 3/4 lengths with Silver Charm.
Angel Cordero, Jr. (3): Cordero, Jr. was the jockey
of Kentucky Derby winners Cannonade (1974), Bold Forbes (1976), and Spend a
Buck (1985). He was born into Thoroughbred racing through his family and stuck
with it. Cordero, Jr. now works as a jockey agent.
Earl Sande (3): Sande only had three Kentucky
Derby wins, but one of those was Gallant Fox, the 1930 Triple Crown winner. His
other winning mounts were Zev (1923) and Flying Ebony (1925). He became a
trainer after retiring as a jockey.
Isaac Murphy (3): Murphy is the oldest jockey
on this list. He won the Kentucky Derby with Buchanan (1884), Riley (1890), and
Kingman (1891). The National Turf Writers Association established the Isaac
Murphy Award in 1995 and it is given to the jockey with the highest winning
percentage for the year in North America. The winning jockey must ride at least
500 times in that same year.
By Christine Oser