William Lee "Bill" Shoemaker (August 19, 1931 – October 12, 2003) was an American jockey. For 29 years he held the world record for total 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.
When Shoemaker earned his 6,033rd victory in September 1970, he broke jockey Johnny Longden's record. In 1999, Shoemaker's own record of 8,833 career victories was broken by Panamanian-born Laffit Pincay Jr.; the record is currently held by Russell Baze...
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