Willie Simms (c.1898)
January 16, 1870|
Augusta, Georgia, United States
|Died||February 26, 1927|
|Major racing wins|
American Classic Race wins:|
Kentucky Derby (1896, 1898)
Preakness Stakes (1898)
Belmont Stakes (1893, 1894)
|United States Champion Jockey by wins (1893, 1894)|
|United States Racing Hall of Fame (1977)|
Ben Brush, Sly Fox, Henry of Navarre,|
Commanche, Plaudit, Lamplighter
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. The following 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.