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Jerry Fishback

Jerry Fishback
Induction Year: 
Career Years: 
1964-1979 and 1984-1987
Number of Mounts: 
Number of Winners: 
Winning Percentage: 

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     Jerry Fishback was born on April 9, 1947 in Warrenton, Va. He rode his first race in 1964 and registered his first winner on April 3, 1965 with Right Tag at the Deep Run Hunt Meet in Richmond, Va.

     Fishback quickly became one of the elite steeplechase riders in the country. He was the champion steeplechase rider in 1971, 1973, 1974, 1975, and 1977. After the 1973 season, Fishback was retained as the first-call rider for Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard.

    During a career that spanned more than 20 years, Fishback won 301 races, tying him for third all time with fellow Hall of Famer Frank “Dooley” Adams. The two riders ahead of Fishback in career victories – Joe Aitcheson, Jr. (440 wins), and A.P. “Paddy” Smithwick (398) – are also members of the Hall of Fame. 

   Fishback’s best season was 1977, when he won 33 races, which was 16 percent of all jump races contested that year.

    Among the stakes winners Fishback rode include Hall of Famers Café Prince and Flatterer, as well as Shadow Brook, Athenian Idol, and Soothsayer.

    Fishback won the Colonial Cup three consecutive years (1984-1986) with Flatterer, and also with Café Prince (1977). He also won the Temple Gwathmey six times with six different horses. The Gwathmey was his first major victory in New York when he won the 1968 edition with China Run. He also won it with Shadow Brook, Athenian Idol, Arctic Joe, Flatterer, and Gateshead. 

    Fishback won Delaware Park’s Tom Roby Steeplechase six times and he enjoyed considerable success at Saratoga, where he won many races, including the New York Turf Writers Cup.

    In 1979, Fishback unexpectedly retired after winning the Lovely Night Steeplechase at Saratoga aboard Café Prince, but he returned to riding in 1984 with a victory aboard Flatterer in the Atlanta Cup. Fishback was atop the purse earnings list for steeplechase riders in 1985 and retired for good in 1987.

    Jerry Fishback was inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in 1992.