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John Reiff

John Reiff
Induction Year: 
Jan. 29, 1885, Americus, Mo.
Feb. 4, 1974
Career Years: 
Number of Winners: 

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John Reiff rode his first winner at Chicago’s Washington Park at the age of 13 in 1898 before going on to become one of the top riders in England and France. Small even for a jockey, Reiff stood less than five feet tall and reportedly weighed only 65 pounds.


In 1899, Reiff accompanied his brother, Lester, also a jockey, to England. He rode 27 winners his first year in England and was third in the British jockey standings in 1900 with 124 winners. Reiff’s early victories in England included the 1900 Coronation Cup aboard Clarehaven and the 1901 Great Metropolitan Stakes with Evasit.


Reiff’s most significant victories in England were the 1907 and 1912 editions of the Epsom Derby with Orby and Tagalie, respectively. Also successful in France — Reiff topped the French standing in 1902 — he won the French Derby (Prix du Jockey Club) in 1902 with Retz and the French Oaks (Prix de Diane) in 1913 with Moia. Also in 1913, Reiff added another English Classic, winning the Two Thousand Guineas with Louvois.


Although most of his success took place in England and France, Reiff notably won the 1903 Kentucky Oaks aboard Lemico in one of his few American engagements. Reiff retired in 1914 with a verified 1,016 wins.