Willie Simms

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Willie Simms
Willie Simms (c.1898)
BornJanuary 16, 1870
Augusta, Georgia, United States
DiedFebruary 26, 1927
Career wins1,125
Major racing wins
Spinaway Stakes (1891)
Champion Stakes (1892)
First Special Stakes
(1892, 1894, 1897)
Second Special Stakes
(1892, 1894, 1895, 1897)
Flatbush Stakes (1892)
Tidal Stakes (1892, 1894, 1897)
Lawrence Realization Stakes (1893, 1894)
Zephyr Stakes (1893)
Mermaid Stakes (1894)
Reapers Stakes (1894)
Jerome Handicap (1895)
Brighton Handicap (1897, 1898)
Omnium Handicap (1895, 1897)
Tremont Stakes (1897)
Toboggan Handicap (1898)
Annual Champion Stakes (1901)

American Classic Race wins:
Kentucky Derby (1896, 1898)
Preakness Stakes (1898)
Belmont Stakes (1893, 1894)

Racing awards
United States Champion Jockey by wins (1893, 1894)
United States Racing Hall of Fame (1977)
Significant horses
Ben Brush, Clifford, Sly Fox, Lady Violet, Henry of Navarre, Commanche, Plaudit, Lamplighter
Willie Sims, circa 1900.

Willie Simms (January 16, 1870, near Augusta, Georgia, United States – February 26, 1927 in Asbury Park, New Jersey) was an American Hall of Fame thoroughbred horse racing jockey.

Simms began racing in 1887 and was one of the most successful jockeys using the short-stirrup style (which gave the rider a crouching posture). En route to winning the United States riding title in 1893 and 1894, Simms won back-to-back Belmont Stakes. In 1895, the Boston Post reported Willie Simms was among the elite jockeys and was earning more than $10,500 a year. (US$315,548 in 2018)[1] [2] That year he raced in England, where he became the first American jockey to win with an American horse in that country.

Back in the United States, Simms won the 1896 Kentucky Derby in its first running at 1¼ miles on Ben Brush. He repeated as the Derby winner in 1898, aboard Plaudit. Before the advent of the term "Triple Crown" and the importance of the U.S. Triple Crown series, Simms went on to take the Preakness Stakes a few weeks later on a different horse, Sly Fox. He is the only African American jockey to win all three Triple Crown races.[3]

During his 14-year career, Willie Simms rode some of the great Thoroughbred racehorses of the day such as two-time U.S. Horse of the Year, Henry of Navarre.

Willie Simms finished his riding career with 1,125 wins and in 1977 was elected to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.[4]


  1. ^ "Corbett Most". Boston Post. 1895-02-18. Retrieved 2018-11-10.
  2. ^ "CPI Inflation Calculator". Alioth LLC. 2018-11-10. Retrieved 2018-11-10.
  3. ^ Transatlantica American Studies Journal Section #22, The American Jockey, 1865-1910 by Steven A. Riess
  4. ^ Willie Simms at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame Retrieved 2011-08-26.