ESPN reports the passing of a legand:

Known as “The Shoe” throughout his Hall of Fame career, the 4-foot-11 jockey was the perfect fit for great horses. His fame reached every corner of the racing world and beyond, making him one of the greatest athletes of the 20th century.

Shoemaker died in his sleep Sunday at his suburban home near Santa Anita racetrack, according to longtime friend and trainer Paddy Gallagher. He was 72.

Gallagher, an assistant during Shoemaker’s training career that ended in 1997, said doctors told him Shoemaker died of natural causes. Shoemaker, who won the Kentucky Derby four times, had been a quadriplegic since 1991.

FILED UNDER: Obituaries, Sports, ,
James Joyner
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James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Rachel Edith says:

    One morning in 1965, my dad told me that I wasn’t going to school that day and he wasn’t going to work. Instead we went to Santa Anita. Why? My dad wanted to be sure that I would see, up close and in person, the best jockey alive. That was a special day.