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Date:4/19/2014 9:10:57 AM
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FANCY'S PERCEPTIONS, Celebrate BlackHistory Month:
VOTED :^)
Willie Simms, born 1/16/1870, near Augusta, Georgia, U.S.—died 2/26/1927, Asbury, New Jersey), 1 of only 2 African American jockeys (the other is Isaac Burns Murphy) 2 have been elected 2 the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, New York.
Simms began racing in 1887 & became the most successful rider 2 adopt the short stirrup since the antebellum slave & rider Abe Hawkins. The short stirrup lifts the rider over the horse’s withers, allowing the animal better balance. In 1895 Simms became the 1st American jockey 2 win in England, where sportswriters referred 2 him as a “monkey on a stick.” The short stirrup earned more esteem after the white American jockey Tod Sloan used it 2 win English races in 1897, & it came to be known as the “American seat.”
Simms won the Belmont Stakes in 1893 & 1894, the Kentucky Derby in 1896 & 1898, & the Preakness Stakes in 1898; he is the only African American 2 have won all of the Triple Crown classics. Simms was the leading American jockey (on the basis of number of wins) in 1893 & 1894. He retired in 1901 with 1 of the best lifetime winning percentages in the sport, 24.8.
(info obtained from www.britanica.com)
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