Ronald Joseph Morel Turcotte, CM (born July 22, 1941 in Drummond, New Brunswick, Canada) is a Hall of Fame thoroughbred race horse jockey best known as the rider of Secretariat, winner of the U.S. Triple Crown in 1973.
Turcotte began his career in Toronto as a hot walker for E. P. Taylor's Windfields Farm in 1959, but he was soon wearing the silks and winning races. As an apprentice jockey he rode Windfields' Northern Dancer to his first victory. He gained prominence with his victory aboard Tom Rolfe in the 1965 Preakness Stakes. Turcotte soon found himself working with Canadian trainer Lucien Laurin at the racetrack in Laurel, Maryland. In 1972 he rode Riva Ridge to victory in the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes.
Turcotte became internationally famous in 1973 when he rode Secretariat to win the first Triple Crown in 25 years. He was North America's leading stakes-winning jockey in 1972 and 1973. He became the first jockey to win back-to-back Kentucky Derbys since Jimmy Winkfield in 1902 and is the only jockey to ever have won five of the six consecutive Triple Crown races.
He was voted the prestigious George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award that honors a rider whose career and personal conduct exemplifies the very best example of participants in the sport of thoroughbred racing. He is the first person from Thoroughbred racing ever to be appointed a member of the Order of Canada.
Turcotte's career ended in 1978 following a tumble from his horse, Flag of Leyte Gulf, at the start of a race at Belmont Park that left him a paraplegic. He was inducted in the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1979. He was voted into the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame and in 1980 was inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame. In 1984 he became the first ever recipient of the Avelino Gomez Memorial Award given annually to the jockey who is Canadian-born, Canadian-raised, or a regular in the country, who has made significant contributions to the sport.
Turcotte lives in his home town of Grand Falls, New Brunswick, Canada, with his wife Gaëtane and their four daughters. He is an advocate for the disabled and helps to raise funds for disability programs. He is involved with the Permanently Disabled Jockey Fund (PDJF). A well-known survivor of an on-track accident, Turcotte makes appearances at racetracks to raise funds and awareness of the assistance the PDJF provides to fellow injured riders.
Directed by Phil Comeau, a National Film Board of Canada documentary feature film on Ron Turcotte's life and career, Secretariat's Jockey, Ron Turcotte, had its world premiere in Louisville, Kentucky in May 2013.
- Ocala Star-Banner article on Ron Turcotte – June 23, 1972
- L’Heureux, Juliana, "French-Canadian Jockey a Horse Racing Legend"
- "Stories: Ron Turcotte" - Permanently Disabled Jockey Fund website
- "Hollywood Unnecessarily Embellishes the Real Tale of Secretariat". AOL.Original. Retrieved 2012-05-24.
- Wolski, Tom (20 June 2013). "Finally, a movie about Secretariat’s jockey". Vancouver Province. Retrieved 21 June 2013.
- Heller, Bill. The Will to Win: Ron Turcotte's Ride to Glory (1992) Fifth House Publishers ISBN 978-1-895618-08-2
- Ron Turcotte profile at Penny Chenery's Secretariat.com
- Ron Turcotte at the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame
- Ron Turcotte at the United States ' National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame
- Ron Turcotte at the Internet Movie Database
- Secretariat's Jockey - Ron Turcotte at the National Film Board of Canada