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Lloyd Hughes

Lloyd Hughes
Lloyd Hughes
Induction Year: 

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By the time he was 25 years old, Lloyd Hughes had registered a series of coveted accomplishments that placed him in the company of the greatest jockeys in America. He faded from the scene soon afterward, but what he achieved in a relatively short period of time cemented his status as one of the greatest riders of the 19th century.


Born in Wales, United Kingdom, in 1857, Hughes made his debut in the United States on July 2, 1872 at Monmouth Park. Throughout the next decade, Hughes won the Preakness Stakes three times, the Belmont and Travers twice each and the Dixie Handicap four times among numerous other significant victories.


“His success in the great stake races has been enormous,” esteemed turf writer Walter Vosburgh said of Hughes.


Vosburgh added that Hughes was “ … the most expert rider of two-year-olds in America. Hughes has justly earned a reputation as a rider of two-year-olds second to no jockey in America. He is by long odds the quickest to get away with the flag and has not been inaptly termed ‘the lightning starter.’ But Hughes is almost as good a finisher as he is a starter; he is cool, shrewd, cunning and deliberate, and has excellent hands.”


Early in his career, Hughes rode primarily for owners J. F. Chamberlain and Milton H. Sanford. Hughes rode the Chamberlain-owned Survivor to victory in the 1874 Fordham Handicap at Jerome Park and a year later won his first Preakness for Chamberlain aboard the outstanding colt Tom Ochiltree.


In 1877, Hughes won the Fordham Handicap for the third time in four years. Later in the year, he secured the mount on George L. Lorillard’s mighty Duke of Magenta, a future Hall of Fame member. In 1878, Hughes won the Belmont, Travers, Withers, Sequel, Kenner, Harding, Jerome and Dixie with Duke of Magenta.   


During the next few years, Hughes thrived in the blue and orange colors of Lorillard’s mighty stable. Along with Duke of Magenta, Hughes enjoyed tremendous success with the undefeated Sensation, Crickmore, Danger, Harold, Monitor, Grenada, Spinaway, Panique, Oriole, Blazes, Idler, Rosalie, Balance All, Tuscaloosa and Ferida.


In 1879 and 1880, Hughes won the Preakness with Harold and Grenada, respectively, becoming the first jockey to win the race three times. In 1881, Hughes began riding for prominent owners Leonard Jerome and Maryland Gov. Oden Bowie. That year, he won the Withers for the second time and the Dixie for the fourth consecutive year. He also pulled off the year’s most sensational upset when he won the September Stakes on Crickmore, defeating one of the greatest horses of the 19th century, future Hall of Fame member Hindoo.


In 1882, Hughes rode for J. E. Kelly, while also serving in a training capacity. In 1883, he rode Panique to victory in the Saratoga Stakes — his third score in that event — before his career abruptly ended. Contemporary reports vaguely suggest legal squabbles with prominent owner Elias J. “Lucky” Baldwin led to Hughes being blackballed from the sport.


Along with becoming the first rider to win the Preakness Stakes three times (only Hall of Famers Eddie Arcaro and Pat Day have won the Preakness more times), Hughes became the first jockey to win the Dixie Handicap four times (and the only one to win it four consecutive years) and the first to win the Jerome Handicap three consecutive years (Hall of Famers Angel Cordero, Jr. and Jerry Bailey have since accomplished the feat).


Other major victories for Hughes include the Alabama, Manhattan Handicap, Monmouth Oaks, Flash, Long Island Derby, Juvenile, Falls City Handicap and Hunter Handicap. Hughes died in New York City in 1925.