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Ismael Valenzuela

Ismael Valenzuela
Induction Year: 
Dec. 24, 1934
Career Years: 
Number of Mounts: 
Number of Winners: 
Winning Percentage: 

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    Ismael “Milo” Valenzuela was born in McNary, Texas, on Dec. 24, 1934, the third of 22 children. He was competing in match races before his 10th birthday and won his first official race on April 8, 1951 at Rillito Park in Arizona.


    Valenzuela became recognized nationally when he piloted Hall of Famer Tim Tam to victory in the 1958 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. Ten years later, Valenzuela rode Forward Pass to victories in both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness.

    For more than three years, Valenzuela was the regular rider for Hall of Famer Kelso. Valenzuela won 22 of the 35 races in which he rode Kelso. They partnered to win 19 stakes, including three editions of the Jockey Club Gold Cup, and Kelso was named Horse of the Year during year he was piloted primarily by Valenzuela.

    Along with his four victories in Triple Crown races and three wins in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, Valenzuela won the Woodward Stakes three times, Whitney Handicap (2), San Gabriel Handicap (2), Coaching Club American Oaks, San Antonio Handicap, Brooklyn Handicap, Toboggan Handicap, Canadian International Stakes, Blue Grass Stakes, and Santa Anita Derby.

    Valenzuela won 2,545 races in his career and had purse earnings totaling $20,122,760. He won the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in 1963.

    Ismael “Milo” Valenzuela was inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in 2008.