Willie Simms

The leading rider in North America in 1893 and 1894, Willie Simms won the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes twice each and the Preakness once.

Willie Simms (Audrey Menefee)
Inducted

1977

Born

Jan. 16, 1870, Augusta, Georgia

Died

Feb. 26, 1927, Asbury Park, New Jersey

Career

1887-1901

Wins

1,125

Racing Record

24.82

Win %

Biography

The leading rider in North America in 1893 and 1894, Willie Simms won the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes twice each and the Preakness once.

Born in Augusta, Georgia, in 1870, Simms began riding at East Coast tracks in 1887. He rode for many of the most prominent owners, including Hall of Fame members August Belmont I and James R. Keene, as well as Mike and Phil Dwyer, Richard Coker, and Pierre Lorillard.

Simms won 182 races in 1893 and 228 from 688 mounts (33.1 percent) in 1894. He won consecutive editions of the Belmont in those years with Comanche and Hall of Fame member Henry of Navarre, respectively. He won the Derby in 1896 on Hall of Famer Ben Brush and 1898 with Plaudit. In 1898, he also won the Preakness with Sly Fox.

Simms won many of the most prestigious races of his era, including the Suburban Handicap, Champagne Stakes, and Jerome Handicap. He won the Second Special four times; the Tidal Stakes and First Special three times each; and the Withers Stakes, Lawrence Realization, Brooklyn Derby, Spinaway Stakes, and Brighton Handicap twice each.

Based on available records, Simms won 1,173 races from 4,701 mounts (24.9 percent). He also rode briefly in England, where he is credited with introducing the American style of riding with short stirrups, later popularized by Hall of Famers Tod Sloan, Johnny Reiff, and Danny Maher.

Achievements

North America's leading rider in wins — 1893, 1894

Triple Crown Highlights

Won the 1896 Kentucky Derby — Ben Brush
Won the 1898 Kentucky Derby — Plaudit
Won the 1898 Preakness Stakes — Sly Fox
Won the 1893 Belmont Stakes — Comanche
Won the 1894 Belmont Stakes — Henry of Navarre

Media

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