John L. Rotz

A class act both in and out of the saddle, Johnny Rotz was North America’s leading stakes-winning rider in 1969 and 1970, when he rode Hall of Famers Gallant Bloom and Ta Wee, as well as champion Silent Screen. In 1970, he won the Belmont Stakes on High Echelon.

John Rotz, July 1973 (Bill Mochon/Museum Collection)
Inducted

1983

Career

1953-1973

Wins

2,907

Racing Record

14.3

Win %

Biography

A class act both in and out of the saddle, Johnny Rotz was North America’s leading stakes-winning rider in 1969 and 1970, when he rode Hall of Famers Gallant Bloom and Ta Wee, as well as champion Silent Screen. In 1970, he won the Belmont Stakes on High Echelon.

A native of Warrensburg, Illinois, Rotz went to work at Fairmount Park following his graduation from high school in 1952. He started out as a groom, hot walker, and exercise rider before making his debut as a jockey in 1953.

Known as “Gentleman John,” Rotz began his career riding in fairs in the Midwest before becoming the leading rider in New York in 1961 and 1962. He won the Preakness Stakes by a nose aboard Greek Money in 1962.

Polite, articulate, dependable rather than flashy, his opinion was valued by trainers both before and after a race. Rotz had a gentle touch with temperamental horses and was known for his success with fillies. He won the Acorn and Mother Goose on Deceit and won notable races aboard top fillies such as What a Treat, Rose Bower, Obeah, Castle Forbes, Indian Maid, Rash Statement, and Chou Croute.

Rotz won the Metropolitan with both Hall of Famer Carry Back and In Reality, the Wood Memorial on Globemaster and No Robbery, and the Champagne on Roman Brother, Silent Screen, and Stop the Music. He also rode Hall of Famer Dr. Fager, as well as Verbatim, The Axe II, and Mongo.

Rotz retired at the age of 39 with 2,907 wins, which ranked 15th at the time. He later served as The Jockey Club steward in New York.

Achievements

Triple Crown Highlights

Won the 1962 Preakness Stakes — Greek Money
Won the 1970 Belmont Stakes — High Echelon

Other Highlights

Won the Champagne Stakes — 1963, 1969, 1972
Won the Futurity Stakes — 1966, 1969, 1970
Won the Metropolitan Handicap — 1962, 1968
Won the Alabama Stakes — 1965, 1968

Media

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