Secretariat.com had the opportunity recently to chat with Ron Turcotte. Humble, soft spoken and quite gracious. While there are many excellent articles written about Mr. Turcotte, we wanted to present a simple, personal, pictorial view of this amazing, gifted and accomplished man.
Ron Turcotte: Born in Drummond, New Brunswick, Canada on July 22, 1941. One of twelve children, Turcotte was always known to be a strong jockey because of his early years as a lumberjack. In 1960 unemployment sent him to Toronto, there he obtained a job as a hot-walker at E. P. Taylor’s Windfield farm. He recorded his first win in 1962 and was Canada’s top jockey in 1962 and 1963, then went on to race in the US. His career ended tragically on July 13, 1978 when he became paralyzed from the waist down in a racing accident at Belmont Park.
Now confined to a wheelchair, he returned to New Brunswick to continue raising his four daughters and now lives a quiet life with his wife Gaetane.
In 1965 he won the Preakness aboard Tom Rolfe. In 1970, he was honored to meet her majesty, Queen Elizabeth II when she presented him with the winning trophy for the Manitoba Centennial Derby, a race he won with the Canadian filly Fanfreluche.
In 1970 he also became the only jockey to win the Hialeah Turf Series (the Palm Beach, Bougainvillea and Hialeah Turf Cup) aboard the grass horse Vent du Nord.
In 1972 he rode Riva Ridge to victories in the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes. By winning Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont stakes with Secretariat in 1973, he became the first jockey in 70 years to win back to back Kentucky Derbys and the only jockey to win five of six consecutive Triple Crown races.
In 1973, Ron won the most coveted prize in racing when, as the regular jockey for Secretariat, he became the first jockey in 25 years to win America’s Triple crown. To this day, Secretariat is still considered by many to be the greatest thoroughbred of all times.
In his short career he won over 3000 races and many major stakes, the most notables being:
2 Canadian Championships, – 2 Massachusetts Handicap – 2 Laurel Futurity Stakes – 2 Garden State Stakes -
2 Man O’ War Stakes – 2 Suburban Handicaps – 2 Alabama Stakes – He also won the Jockey Club Gold Cup – Marlboro Cup – Hawthorne Gold Cup – Black Eyed Susan – Kentucky Oaks – Monmouth Oaks – Coaching Club American Oaks – Blue Grass – Travers – Selima – Sorority – Alcibiades – Arlington Washington Lassie – Wood Memorial – Hopeful – 2 Champagne Stakes – Arlington Invitational – Spinaway – Matron – Brooklyn Handicap – Florida Derby – Hollywood Derby – Hawthorne Derby – Québec Derby – Manitoba Derby – American Derby & The Cornhusker.
Halls Of Fame Induction:
The National Museum Of Racing Hall Of Fame
The Canadian Racing Hall Of Fame
The Canadian All Sports Hall Of Fame
The New York Sports Hall Of Fame
The Long Island Sports Hall Of Fame
The Hawthorne Racing Hall of Fame
The New Brunswick sports hall of Fame.
He is a member of the Order of Canada
The Paul Harris Fellowship Award
The George Wolfe Memorial Award
The Avelino Gomez Memorial Award.
The Canadian Sovereign Award
The Big Sport of Turfdom Award