Hart on the track; Heart on the tack
He sustained his successful racing record in Hongkong.
Bill Hartack was acclaimed as an intelligent, knowledgeable rider.
He got a strong will to win, and a deft skill at transmitting desire to his mounts.
Hartack grew up on his widowed father’s farm in the Blacklick Township area of Cambria County.
Small in stature, at age 17 he stood 5 ft. 4 in. (1.63 m); weighed 111 lb (50 kg).
The build and size enabled him to pursue a career as a jockey.
But he never saw a horse race until he was 18.
At the suggestion of a family friend, Hartack took a bus to Charles Town, West Virginia for a job.
1952-10-14 Hartack inaugural win NIKLEBY Waterford Park, at his third ride.
1955-11-08 Willie Hartack received congratulations from Willie Shoemaker, his nearest competitor.
He went on to win that honor on four occasions (1955, 1956, 1957, 1960).
But he rode TIM TAM to victory in the Florida Derby, two weeks later.
1959, at the early age of 27, Hartack was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.
1967, Hartack authored (with Whitney Tower) a three-part series in Sports Illustrated titled “A Hard Ride All The Way.”
Published in the 1967-03-27, 1967-04-03 & 1967-04-10 issues, the series chronicled Hartack‘s life.
During his riding career between 1953 and 1974 in the United States, Hartack rode 4,272 winners in 21,535 mounts.
Hartack made the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine in 1956 and again in 1964, plus the cover of Time in 1958.
Hartack led the nation in races won four times, and was the first rider to have purse earnings of $3 million in a season.
As well, Hartack won the Preakness Stakes three times and the Belmont Stakes once.
Winners ridden in Triple Crown Classic races:
1957-05-04 IRON LIEGE
1960-05-07 VENETIAN WAY
1964-05-02 NORTHERN DANCER
1969-05-03 MAJESTIC PRINCE
1964-05-16 NORTHERN DANCER
1969-05-17 MAJESTIC PRINCE
1960-06-11 CELTIC ASH
Season: wins / rides
1974 – 1975: 20/152
1975 – 1976: 14/146
1976 – 1977: 8/111
1977 – 1978: 12/92
1978 – 1979: 13/134
1979 – 1980: 5/49
Total Wins: 72
1975-03-22_4 Lusitano Cup – OUR BOY
1975-03-29_5 Wayfoong Centenary Bow – CERTAIN RISE
1978-12-02_3 American Club Cup – SUMMER STORY
1980-01-26_5 KCC Cup – EL CID
He worked off-and-on for the rest of his life as a steward for many racetracks.
2007-07-19, the Bill Hartack Charitable Foundation was established to honor a racing legend and icon yearly .
He went each winter to hunt and lived there.
He died from natural causes due to heart disease.
The foundation continue in his name contributions to the industry he dearly loved – Thoroughbred Racing
TIM TAM is a brand of chocolate biscuit made by Arnott’s and available in several countries.
Hartack and Shoemaker were both referred to by the media as both “Bill” and “Willie”.
Acknowledgment to HKJC Racing Registry for offering relevant records.