One of the world's most successful jockeys, Sandy Hawley became the first rider to win over 500 races in a single year.
Canadian-born Sandy Hawley, unparalleled as the greatest jockey this country has ever produced, also distinguished himself in the sport of horseracing as the ultimate gentleman. At 24, he was the first jockey to ride over 500 winners in a single season breaking Bill Shoemaker’s 20-year record of 485. By the end of his career, which would span thirty years between 1968 and 1998, he recorded 6,449 wins.
In the early 1960s the famed Windfields Farm of Oshawa, Ontario, bred a horse called Northern Dancer. As a colt, he was small and stocky in stature, and ornery and mischievous by disposition. But, against all odds, the Dancer became the first Canadian-bred horse to win the Kentucky Derby. Unwanted for $25,000 as a yearling in 1962, champion of the most sought-after crown in thoroughbred racing in 1964, Northern Dancer became the greatest stud horse in history, worth over $40 million by 1981. Today, it is estimated that his bloodlines extend to 50 to 70 per cent of all thoroughbred horses. Northern Dancer earned his place in Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, one of only three non-human entries.
Show jumping relies on but one horse and one rider to produce a champion. And the great Canadian pairing of Big Ben and his rider, Ian Millar, certainly became magnificent champions over their career. In 1988, they won the most coveted indoor title, the World Cup, in Gothenburg, Sweden. The following year in Tampa, Florida, Millar and Big Ben made history by becoming the first horse-rider combination to win back-to-back World Cup Finals.
They are Footprints on the track of Canadian sport.