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Arcaro, Hartack Top Kentucky Derby Jockeys

Added on: March 25, 2013

The Kentucky Derby has been run continuously every year since 1875, and along the way, a lot of history has been made. Obviously many of the all-time greats, whether they are human or equine, have had their greatest moments at Churchill Downs while bringing home victory in the Run for the Roses.

Calvin Borel, a jockey who has had an outstanding record at Churchill Downs, recently winning three Derbies in a period of four years, is always considered to be a threat when he is atop a horse. But he has some riding to do before rubbing up against true Louisville royalty. Two jockeys share the record for most wins in the Kentucky Derby, and they are two of the most decorated riders ever to put on silks.

Eddie Arcaro first rode home to the winner's circle in 1938 aboard Lawrin, and then repeated that feat in 1941 with Whirlaway, who went on to capture the Triple Crown by winning the other two jewels, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. After another Kentucky Derby win with Hoop Jr. in 1945, Arcaro rode another horse, Citation, who eventually went on to win the Triple Crown. His final Derby winner was Hill Gail in 1952.

The man who took up where Arcaro left off was Bill Hartack, who won his first Kentucky Derby aboard Iron Liege in 1957, in a race Derby historians still talk about. Coming down the stretch, Hartack's horse was behind Gallant Man, who was ridden by Bill Shoemaker, but Shoemaker actually stood up in his irons too early because he misjudged where the finish line was. Hartack came back a few years later with Venetian Way, and then won again with Decidedly in 1962.

Hartack's finest hour at Churchill Downs was probably when he was aboard Northern Dancer, and again, it was at the expense of Shoemaker, who had ridden the colt to wins in the Florida Derby and Flamingo Stakes but chose another mount in the Run for the Roses. Hartack brought Northern Dancer home in two minutes flat, which was the all-time Kentucky Derby record until it was broken by Secretariat in 1973. Hartack's fifth and final Derby win came riding Majestic Prince in 1969.

With five Kentucky Derby wins apiece in the irons, Arcaro and Hartack have set the standard everyone else aims for.