J. Dallett "Dolly" Byers

J. Dallett “Dolly” Byers was born in Sugartown, Pennsylvania, in 1898 and rode in his first steeplechase race in 1916 on a jumper owned by Joseph E. Widener. Even though he fell and did not finish the contest, Byers went on to become one of the best in his profession, topping all steeplechase jockeys in wins in 1918, 1921, and 1928.

J. Dallet Byers on Fairmount (Keeneland Library Cook Collection/Museum Collection)
Inducted

1967

Born

1898, Sugartown, Pennsylvania

Died

1966, Augusta, Georgia

Career

1916-1931

Wins

149

Racing Record

32.6

Win %

Biography

J. Dallett “Dolly” Byers was born in Sugartown, Pennsylvania, in 1898 and rode in his first steeplechase race in 1916 on a jumper owned by Joseph E. Widener. Even though he fell and did not finish the contest, Byers went on to become one of the best in his profession, topping all steeplechase jockeys in wins in 1918, 1921, and 1928.

Top mounts for Byers included Hall of Fame members Jolly Roger and Fairmount, as well as stakes winners Duettiste, Houdini, Barleycorn, Lorenzo, Lizard, Arc Light, and MacCarthy More.

Byers won the Temple Gwathemy five consecutive years (1925 through 1929), including back-to-back victories with Fairmount in 1927 and 1928. He also won five straight editions of the Manly Steeplechase Handicap (1925 through 1929). He previously won the Manly in 1919 and 1920, both years with Duettiste, to give him a total of seven wins in the event. Byers also won the Corinthian five times in (1920 through 1923 and 1925) and the Brook four times (1921, 1924, 1925, 1928).

Overall, Byers won on 149 of his 457 mounts (32.6%). He later became a successful trainer, sending out stakes winners on both the flat and over jumps, including champion sprinter Tea-Maker, plus standouts Lovely Night, Invader, Royal Archer, and Chesapeake.

Achievements

North America’s leading steeplechase rider in wins — 1918, 1921, 1928

Other Highlights

Won the Manly Steeplechase Handicap — 1919, 1920, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1929
Won the Corinthian Steeplechase Handicap — 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1925
Won the Temple Gwathmey — 1925, 1926, 192,7 1928, 1929
Won the Brook Steeplechase Handicap — 1921, 1924, 1925, 1928

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