About Bill Hartack
Five-time Kentucky Derby winner and Hall of Fame jockey Bill Hartack passed away November 27th, 2007 aged 74. He died because of natural causes of heart disease during an excursion to hunt in Texas.
Hall of Fame jockey Bill Hartack had a net worth of $1 million dollars at the date of his death in 2007. He was known as “Bill” and “Willie” (Hartack disliked being known as “Willie”) during his racing career. Hartack was raised on a his farm located within his home in the Blacklick Township area of Cambria County, Pennsylvania.
Five Time Kentucky Derby Winning Jockey:
He is one of just two jockeys (the other being Eddie Arcaro) to have won the Kentucky Derby five times. He also was the winner of his share of the Preakness three times, as well as the Belmont once.
A pair of Derby victories are notable because of distinct reasons. He was on Northern Dancer, the Canadian-bred colt that would later be one of world’s top sires. However, he was also on the winning horse in 1957, Iron Liege Iron Liege, who probably wouldn’t have been able to win the race had Bill Shoemaker not misjudged he finish line and stood in the irons near the 1/16 pole of Gallant Man.
A Champion Rider:
Hartack’s North American racing career ran from 1953 until 1974, which saw him win 4272 races, with an 19.8 percent success rate. His first win came on the track at Waterford Park, West Virginia (now named Mountaineer Race Track) at the age of 19. He was the top earner in 1956, and he did it again in 1957, becoming the first horse to earn three million dollars in income. He ended his career at Hong Kong and when he stopped riding, he became the steward of Louisiana Downs. In 1959, when he was inducted into the racing Hall of Fame, he was only 26 years old. He was the youngest person to be elected.
Hartack’s most popular mounts include Northern Dancer, Kelso, Round Table, Tim Tam, Majestic Price, and Carry Back.
The horse’s Kentucky Derby wins came in 1957 with Iron Liege and 1960 by way of Venetian Way, 1962 with Determinedly 1964, with Northern Dancer and in 1969, with Majestic Prince.
Training Mike Stidham, whose father George was Hartack’s agent, and who ran the hunting camp which he used to visit each year stated, “He was my idol. I was there at the 1969 Derby in which he took home the Majestic Prince. He was an amazing person to have around him. He was a child in spirit.”
The trainer D. Wayne Lukas said, “He had a strong athletic spirit, a competitive streak and never took opponents for granted. I admire all of these athletes who have the ability to do the same thing as he did.”