Otto Wonderly

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Otto Wonderly
Gold Heels and Otto Wonderly.jpg
Wonderly and Gold Heels at 1902 Suburban Handicap.
Bornc. 1878
Ontario, Canada
DiedApril 2, 1905
Memphis, Tennessee,
United States
Career winsnot found
Major racing wins
Belle Meade Stakes (1901)
Bronx Highweight Handicap (1901)
Manhattan Handicap (1901)
Municipal Handicap (1901)
Patchogue Stakes (1901)
Bay Ridge Handicap (1902)
Laureate Stakes (1902)
Queens County Handicap (1902)
Spindrift Stakes (1902)
Suburban Handicap (1902)
Coronation Futurity Stakes (1904)
Canadian Derby (1904)
Victoria Stakes (1904)
Significant horses
Flocarline, Fort Hunter, Gold Heels

Otto Wonderly (c.1878 - April 2, 1905) was a Canadian Thoroughbred horse racing jockey from Ontario who competed in his native Canada and in the United States where he died from a racetrack accident.

Before embarking on a riding career, Otto Wonderly worked as a newsboy for the Grand Trunk Railway. He was riding at a track in Windsor, Ontario when some prominent Canadian horsemen recognized his natural talent and arranged for him to go to the United States. There, he was placed under contract by James Ben Ali Haggin, one of America's preeminent horsemen and owner of the renowned Elmendorf Farm in Lexington, Kentucky. Haggin paid Wonderly $15,000 for second call on his services for eight months.[1] He would later ride for a Chicago based stable and as well would ride in the United States and Canada for leading Canadian owner, Joseph E. Seagram.[2]

Career highlights[edit]

On July 25, 1901, Otto Wonderly won four races in a row on a six-race card at Fort Erie Racetrack.[3] Another highlight of Wonderly's career came on June 14, 1902 at the Sheepshead Bay Race Track in Brooklyn, New York when he won the most prestigious race in the United States for horses of all ages. For owners Fred C. McLewee and Diamond Jim Brady, Wonderly captured the famous Suburban Handicap aboard Gold Heels in race record time on an off track in front of more than 50,000 spectators.[4]


Riding freelance in 1905, on April 1st Otto Wonderly was exercising a horse at Montgomery Park Race Track in Memphis, Tennessee when he was thrown to the ground that caused severe head injuries. He passed away the following day St. Joseph's Hospital.[5] His body was shipped to his family in London, Ontario for interment.[6]


  1. ^ Chicago Tribune - November 30, 1902
  2. ^ April 3, 1905 New York Times article on the career of Otto Wonderly
  3. ^ "Fort Erie Form Chart". Daily Racing Form at University of Kentucky Archives. 1901-07-26. Retrieved 2018-12-09.
  4. ^ New York Times report on the 1902 Suburban Handicap
  5. ^ April 3, 1905 New York Times article on the death of Otto Wonderly
  6. ^ "Jockey Wonderly Dead". Philadelphia Record. 1905-04-04. Retrieved 2018-09-22. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)