Hartack, Bill 1932-12-09 — 2007-11-26

Hart on the track; Heart on the tack





William John (Bill) Hartack Jr was a Hall of Fame jockey in USA.

He sustained his successful racing record in Hongkong.

He landed many victories and trophy races for famous horses such as CORVETTE and SILVER LINING.





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.


1932-12-09, William John Hartack Jr. was born in Ebensburg, Pennsylvania.

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.

Then he began working for racehorse trainer “Junie” Corbin as a stable hand.

Before long Hartack began excising horses in the mornings.

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.

The photo was taken inside the jockey room at Laurel, Maryland, after Hartack rode four winners in the first six race.

By his third season of racing, Hartack was the United States Champion Jockey by wins

He went on to win that honor on four occasions (1955, 1956, 1957, 1960).


1956 and 1957, Hartack was the United States Champion Jockey by earnings.


1958 Kentucky Derby, Hartack broke a leg and had to give up his ride on TIM TAM, who won the race by Ismael Valenzuela.

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.

The content included his often run-ins and disputes with owners, trainers, racing officials and members of the press.


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.

He and Eddie Arcaro are the only two jockeys to ever win the Kentucky Derby five times.

As well, Hartack won the Preakness Stakes three times and the Belmont Stakes once.


Winners ridden in Triple Crown Classic races:


Kentucky Derby:

1957-05-04 IRON LIEGE

1960-05-07 VENETIAN WAY

1962-05-05 DECIDEDLY




Preakness Stakes:

1956-05-19 FABIUS




Belmont Stakes:

1960-06-11 CELTIC ASH



1974 – 1980 Hartack, due to his weight, raced in Hong Kong


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


1976-03-06_5 Governor‘s Cup – CORVETTE


1977-05-14_3 Flyaway CupCORVETTE


1978-05-13_8 HK Champions Chater CupSILVER LINING

1978-10-07_3 Sha Tin TrophySILVER LINING


1979-01-01_4 Chinese Club Cup – SILVER LINING

1978-12-02_3 American Club Cup – SUMMER STORY


1980-01-26_5 KCC Cup – EL CID





Hartack was regarded an out-spoken stickler for accuracy and precision.
1981, Hartack retired as a jockey which was not the end of his racing career.

He worked off-and-on for the rest of his life as a steward for many racetracks.

When not with horses, Hartack was an avid hunter and fisherman.


2007-07-19, the Bill Hartack Charitable Foundation was established to honor a racing legend and icon yearly .


2007-11-26, Hartack was found dead in a cabin at a camp near the town of Freer, Texas.

He went each winter to hunt and lived there.

He died from natural causes due to heart disease.

As the inscription on his tomb stone, Hartack is, “one of the world’s greatest jockeys dedicated to honesty and integrity in racing.”


The foundation continue in his name contributions to the industry he dearly loved – Thoroughbred Racing

It annually recognizes the jockey who rides the Kentucky Derby winner with The Hartack Memorial Award.





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”.

Hartack detested being called “Willie” because of his dislike for fellow jockey Willie Shoemaker during his racing career.





Burnett, Bill – 《RacingMemories.HK》



Acknowledgment to HKJC Racing Registry for offering relevant records.





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