Jews In Sports: Exhibit Page @ Virtual Museum


Harold U. Ribalow and Meir Z. Ribalow
Page 372 of 457

Jews In American Sports

Upon his induction, reporters talked with him about his career, in which he brought home some nineteen hundred winners. He reflected that, "I don't know why there have been so few Jewish jockeys. In recent years I guess Walter Blum and I were the only successful ones." Blum won the George Woolf Award in 1964, an honor given to the rider who has reflected credit on the profession. Harmatz won the same award a few years earlier and had the exciting experience of riding the Preakness winner - Royal Orbit - in 1959. Other Jewish jockeys included Sammy and Joie Renick, Charley Rosengarten and Eddy Litzenberger.

The best Jewish jockey of them all was Walter Miller, a member of Jockey's Hall of Fame and considered one of the best riders of all time. While Miller is now more or less forgotten, he has entered the record books of racing as a remarkable jockey. During one four-year period, he mounted more than a thousand winners, while most jockeys did not get half as many rides in that same four-year stretch. He worked the tracks in the early years of this century and in 1906 became the first jockey to ride more than three hundred winners in a given year. He hit a smashing mark of three hundred and eighty-eight winners. The next year he almost repeated that astonishing record with three hundred and thirty-four winners. A Jockey Hall of Fame official is quoted in the Encyclopedia of Jews in Sports as saying, "The incredible thing about Miller's records is that they were accomplished in the days of six and seven race cards and abbreviated racing seasons."

Of course there have been many Jewish race horse owners but as they were themselves far from athletes, no space need be given to them, except to mention that the name of August Belmont is a major name in racing annals.