38 Years Ago, Sandy Hawley Reached 500-Win Plateau

Nothing in this world is a sure thing, but during the 1973 horse-racing season Canadian jockey Sandy Hawley came about as close as you can get. On Dec. 15, 1973, Hawley became the first jockey to win 500 races in one year. For those keeping score, that’s roughly 1.37 wins a day, every day, from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31.

In 1972, Hawley came respectably close to tying Bill Shoemaker’s record of 485 wins in a year with a mark of 452 wins. It was aboard Charley Jr., though, one year later, that Hawley reached the 500-win plateau. He went on to win a total of 515 races in total that year and his career wins total remains within the top 10 among jockeys all-time.

A former two-time winner of the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s top athlete and a member of the Canadian Horse Racing, Canadian Sports and the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame, Hawley certainly carved a place for himself among Canada’s all-time most celebrated athletes. Not bad for a guy who originally eyed a career as a plumber.

-Mike Crisolago