The Lou Marsh Legacy - Honouring Canada's Top Athletes

Sandy Hawley

Harness Racing

1973


Photo of Sandy Hawley riding Almoner at the 1970 Queen’s Plate

Photo of Sandy Hawley riding Almoner at the 1970 Queen’s Plate

Date
1970
Collection
Canada's Sports Hall of Fame

Happy New Year!

Even Charlie Jr. bared his teeth and cracked a big smile as though he knew he had been part of making history. Charlie Jr. was the seven year old black gelding that jockey Sandy Hawley raced to an unprecedented 500 wins in 1973. Sandy has an uncanny way with horses. It’s no wonder, given the great respect he shows to his fine hoofed friends.

A fierce competitor, Sandy Hawley is an indisputable champion in a high-stakes fast-paced racing environment – but always a gentleman first. He is that rare individual that can seamlessly be both.

December 31, 1972, is one evening Sandy Hawley will never forget. A stellar 1972 season that produced 367 wins in 1,381 mounts and a remarkable 26.6 win percentage was definite cause for a New Years celebration. However, Sandy’s trusted agent, Colin Wick, had something else on his mind, and that evening he persuaded Sandy to not only go after Bill Shoemaker’s world record 485 wins, but to hit the 500 mark. Sandy agreed. A few hours later on that 1973 New Year’s Day he raced at the Laurel race track in Maryland, U.S., and won two. Colin said, “Terrific Sandy, only 498 to go!” That’s when the reality of this audacious goal sank in.

The run rate through the first part of the year was right on target. Then, at the end of the summer it was in jeopardy. Wick, the ever zealous agent decided to charter an aircraft so that his tireless rider could fly down to Laurel every Sunday night to race on Monday and Tuesday - Woodbine’s two days off. For two months until the end of the Woodbine season on December 1, Sandy Hawley was racing seven days a week. Then, it was full-time at Laurel Park.

The rigours of a gruelling schedule paid off. On December 6, 1973, Hawley surpassed Shoemaker’s 1953 mark with his 486th win aboard a Canadian owned and trained horse called Night Train Lane. He boarded Charlie Jr. for a five-length victory over seven furlongs for that magical win number 500 on December 15. It ranks as the biggest thrill in his career. Sandy Hawley closed the year with 515 wins.

Hawley wins Marsh Trophy Adobe PDF Transcript


Highlights

1973
Lou Marsh Memorial Award
1976
George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award
1976
Eclipse Award - North America’s top jockey
1976
Lou Marsh Memorial Award
1976
Named to the Order of Canada
1978
Sovereign Award - Canada’s top jockey
1986
Avelino Gomez Memorial Award
1988
Sovereign Award - Canada’s top jockey