The best way to highlight the names etched into Jockey history in the 1950s is by mentioning the leaders from the previous year. In the 1940s the top riders were Adams, Arcaro, Atkinson, Meade and Longden. As they continued to reign in the early 1950s, they were joined by a name that would wreak havoc in racing history – Shoemaker. Just after finishing his second year with 388 wins, he was tied with the leading jockeys. He was the only person to win over US$1 million in the early 1950s.

William Boland was among this year’s top names, and distinguished himself as a jockey apprentice. He had stunned everyone with his performance with Hill Prince when he won by 1½ lengths over jockey Arcaro. Major concerns for apprentice jockeys during this time were the varying rules for apprenticeships around the world; this led to them jumping from one region to another in order to keep their apprenticeship grants. It was the Jockey’s Guild that brought in standardized rules that were used worldwide.

The year 1951 was marked by the highest number of deaths among jockeys, and it rose to 10 fatalities. The most remembered jockey of the 1950s is LeRoy who died on January 12, 1956 after a tragic fall from his mount caused brain damage. After the tragic loss, the horse racing world was faced with another fatal death of John Alessio, the president of the 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 training boys, outriders, apprentices, pony boys and girls.

The talk of the racing industry at the time was whether John Longden would surpass Sir Gordon Richard’s record of having the maximum number of wins in horse racing history. In the end it was John Longden after winning his 320th in a racing season.

The year 1957 saw the remarkable jockeying of Bill Shoemaker and Bill Hartack on Gallant Man and Iron Liege respectively in the Kentucky Derby. Both were alongside each other and battled through a tough race at Churchill Downs until Shoemaker misjudged the length and fell behind giving Bill Hartack his first Derby win. Proving that victory was no fluke, he went on to win four of the following Derbys, later retiring as the winningest Derby jockeys along with Arcaro.

The following year was marked by the surprise deaths of jockey Jackie Westrope and Joe Snyder after sustaining 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 win the Triple Crown twice.

Johnny Longden – won more than 5000 races and was the reigning leader among jockeys for 3 consecutive years.

Bill Shoemaker – created the all-time record for winning 485 races in 1953 and had 5 riding titles.

Still surviving through the highest number of fatalities of the year, in 1958 the Jockeys’ Guild announced an additional insurance plan for jockeys providing death benefits of $10,000 for both active and retired jockeys.

The year ended with 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 runs in the same. “The helmet saved me,” said Arcaro – Jockeysguild

In the real world, history is made and repeated as we see with each passing year, this magnificent “sport of kings” has evolved many times over. With viral age settled in this sport is available from the comfort of your home in any form. Games, videos, telecasts and replays can be viewed if you have missed a race or are unable to visit the racetrack on the day in question. Horse games are available online for you to simulate and bet on for entertainment. What more? You can actually know what a world-class jockey goes through while controlling the thousand-pound beast of a horse. Be a jockey to experience the heart-pounding adrenaline rush as the crowd cheers you on to victory. Play against friends or with the community of horse racing fans around the world.

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