Louisville, Kentucky, United States
|Died||June 10, 1933|
|Career wins||Not found|
|Major racing wins|
|New Orleans Handicap (1931)
Mardi Gras Handicap (1931)
Kentucky Oaks (1931)
Kentucky Derby (1932)
Preakness Stakes (1932)
Matron Stakes (1932)
|Cousin Jo, Burgoo King|
Born in Louisville, Kentucky, James was a very promising young jockey who began racing in 1930 at age seventeen. According to TIME magazine, he "made a sensation" in his first season of racing. Although he didn't start until June, his 138 wins that year ranked him fourth among all North American jockeys. Among his first major wins, he guided the filly Cousin Jo to victory in the 1931 Kentucky Oaks.
In 1932, Eugene James was the jockey for Burgoo King, a colt owned by the prominent horseman Col. Edward R. Bradley of Idle Hour Stock Farm. James rode Burgoo King to victory in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. The horse was not entered in the Belmont Stakes.
Unfortunately, Eugene James had problems maintaining his weight and suffered from bulimia that became so severe he had to stop riding. Though he was not racing, he was in Chicago, Illinois in June 1933 when the season at Arlington Park and Hawthorne Race Course was in full swing. During the evening of June 10, the twenty-year-old James and two friends went to Chicago's popular Oak Street Beach on Lake Michigan where he went swimming, and drowned.
Eugene James is buried in the Resthaven Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky.
- June 19, 1933 TIME magazine article on the death of Eugene James
- May 14, 2005 Thoroughbred Times comprehensive story on Eugene James
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