Sandy Hawley, a native of Oshawa, Ontario, is one of the most recognized and admired jockeys of all time. He is one of the very few horse racing participants to have been awarded the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s top athlete, in 1973 and 1976, and was also presented with the prestigious Order of Canada.
Sandy started his career in his teens in Ontario under the guidance of trainer Duke Campbell and he became the first ever apprentice jockey to top the standings in the country. Once he was established as a top rider in Ontario, he moved stateside where he quickly became the leading jockey in terms of races won. He topped that category in four years during the 1970s including 1973 when he broke the legendary Bill Shoemaker’s record and became the first to ever record more than 500 wins in a single year with 515.
Three years later Hawley was took home the Eclipse Award as the top jockey in the US. That was the season he broke the record for money won by a jockey. The list of top stakes races won by Hawley is long and impressive with highlights including the Queen’s Plate at Woodbine on four different occasions, the Prince of Wales twice, the Breeders’ Stakes four times, the Canadian Oaks eight times, the Coronation Stakes five times, etc.
Hawley retired in 1998, after racing the last 10 years of his career in Canada, with 6,449 wins. He came out of retirement for one special event, a Living Legends Race in 2008, which he won at the age of 59 to give him 6,450 lifetime victories. He captured the Woodbine jockey title 18 times, Fort Erie Racetrack’s on 13 occasions and Greenwood’s title nine times.
Other trophies lining his mantle include the George Woolf Award in 1976, Avelino Gomez Memorial Award, which he received in 1986, the same year he was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. In 1992 he was awarded the same honour in the US and six years later entered Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. In 1999 the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame honoured him and he was enshrined in the Oshawa Sports Hall in 1988.
Since his final jump off the saddle, Hawley, known as Gentleman Sandy, has been a wonderful representative of the sport and serves as an ambassador and analyst for Woodbine Entertainment Group.
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