The Iceman
Jockey George Woolf

 

 

Click here to see George - his new wife and his Kangaroo Leather Saddle

My thanks to the Ontario Jockey Club
for permission to excerpt their article that we too may relive the moment. 

    George rode Gallant Sir to victory in the Aqua Caliente Handicap. History has it he married Genevieve in 1931.

 

They called him the 'Iceman'
because of his bluesteel nerves and flawless sense of timing.
Some say he was the greatest , money rider of them all. Born on a ranch in Cardston, Alberta, Canada Woolf began competing in races 
at near by bush tracks
and at the Montana fairs while in his early teens.
 By early 1946, when he was killed in a race at Santa Anita,
 he had become the most sought-after stakes rider  in the world. He demanded - and got - $1,000 in advance plus ten per cent of the purse to ride in stakes races during the depression years.
(The mandatory jockey's stakes (10% winning fees) 
didn't become official until 1970.)

In 1942,
Woolf was the leading money-winning jockey in North America
although he rode only 263 races. 
His mounts included such immortals as Whirlaway,
Alsab, Kayak 2nd,  and his favorite mount of all, Seabiscuit.
Woolf's tragic death  occurred during the running of the fourth race at 
Santa Anita
on January 3, 1946. He fell off W. W. Taylor's Please Me rounding the clubhouse turn, struck the ground head first and did not regain consciousness  before he died the next morning
of a brain concussion.
(This too was well before the introduction of the Caliente Safety Helmet 
that is now
 mandatory riding equipment.)

 

 

 

George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award.
Photo courtesy the Jockey News

The Award recognizes thoroughbred jockeys whose careers have 
reflected credit
 on themselves and the sport.

The full sized statue has a place of honor in the paddock gardens 
of Santa Anita.
The award trophy is an exact duplicate.

Jockey George Woolf  . . .
was admitted into the Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame in 1955 and the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1976