William Lee Shoemaker
William Lee Shoemaker

William Lee Shoemaker

This is a photo of William Shoemaker in the 1970s. "William Lee "Bill" Shoemaker (August 19, 1931 – October 12, 2003) was an American jockey. For 29 years he held the world record of number of professional jockey victories. Referred to as "Bill", "Willie," and "The Shoe", William Lee Shoemaker was born in the town of Fabens, Texas. At 2.5 pounds (1.1 kg), Shoemaker was so small at birth that he was not expected to survive the night. Put in a shoebox in the oven to stay warm, he survived, but remained small, growing to 4 feet 11 inches (1.50 m) and weighing only 105 pounds (47.6 kg). His diminutive size proved an asset, as he went on to become a giant in thoroughbred horse racing despite being a high school dropout at El Monte High School. His career as a jockey began in his teenage years, with his first professional ride on March 19, 1949. The first of his eventual 8,833 career victories came a month later, on April 20, aboard a racer named Shafter V, at the Golden Gate Fields in Albany, California. In 1951, he won the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award. At the age of 19, he was making so much money (as much as $2,500 each week) that Los Angeles Superior Court appointed attorney Horace Hahn as his guardian, with the consent of his parents. Thirty years later, he won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey in the United States. Shoemaker won eleven Triple Crown races during his career, spanning four different decades, but the Crown itself eluded him." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Shoemaker

Area: Mission Valley / Fabens

Source: UTEP Special Collections

Uploaded by: El Paso Museum of History


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Was there ever a road named after William Shoemaker in Fabens?

Racing fans and the general public knew him best as Willie Shoemaker. Originally from Fabens, in the 50s & 60s, Willie was one of the top jockeys in the world.

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