TexasEscapes.comTexas Escapes Online Magazine: Travel and History
Columns: History, Humor, Topical and Opinion
Over 1400 Texas Towns & Ghost Towns
NEW : : TEXAS TOWNS : : GHOST TOWNS : : FEATURES : : COLUMNS : : ARCHITECTURE : : IMAGES : : SITE MAP
HOME
SEARCH SITE
ARCHIVES
FORUM
RESERVATIONS
Texas Hotels
Hotels
Cars
Air
Cruises
 
 Texas : Features :
Texas Salmagundi

Find Two Willies and a Max In Hall of Fame, At Tracks

by Bill Bradfield

Texas ranches and stables have been closely linked with the sport of horse racing for generations. Just consider the string of great racehorses developed by the King Ranch alone, including Bold Venture, Middleground and Assault.

For another kind of horseracing royalty, however, turn to two men nicknamed Willie, and another man better known as Max at the tracks.

Willie No. 1 is Bill Shoemaker, called America's greatest jockey, who was born at Fabens in El Paso County in 1931. By the time he retired from racing in 1990, he had won the Kentucky Derby four times among his 8,833 wins and more than $123 million in purses. Incredibly, he brought 50% of his 40,350 mounts home first, second or third.

As a professional jockey, Shoemaker rode his first race at Golden Gate Fields, a California track, on March 19, 1949. He came in fifth riding a four-year-old mare. The horse's name? Waxahachie.

Willie No. 2 is William Molter Jr. who outgrew his first occupation -- jockey -- and became one of the nation's greatest racehorse trainers. A native of Fredericksburg, he was born in 1910 and launched his training career in 1935. He trained Determine, the 1954 Kentucky Derby winner, and 1958's horse of the year, Round Table.

For four consecutive years, 1946 through 1949, he led America in the number of winners saddled. In his career, Molter saddled 2,160 winners collecting $11.9 million in purses.

Both Willies were elected to the National Horse Racing Hall of Fame, an honor Willie Molter shared with another great trainer born at Fredericksburg -- Maximilian J. Hirsch.

Max Hirsch, born in 1880, spent six decades of his life training race horses, living for many years in a cottage between horse barns at Belmont Park. He trained King Ranch's winner of the 1946 triple crown. Assault, and also Kentucky Derby winners Bold Venture and Middle-ground.

Hirsch began riding Texas-bred quarter horses at the age of ten, and, like Willie Molter, was a jockey before becoming a trainer. By the end of his career, he had trained the winners of 1,933 races with purses totaling $12.2 million.

September 2000
Published with permission of author

About the Author:
Bill Bradfield is the author of Muleshoe & More and a frequent contributor to Texas Highways.

 
TEXAS TOWN LIST | TEXAS GHOST TOWNS
Texas Hill Country | East Texas | Central Texas North | Central Texas South |
West Texas | Texas Panhandle | South Texas | Texas Gulf Coast
TRIPS | State Parks | Rivers | Lakes | Drives | Maps | LODGING

TEXAS FEATURES
Ghosts | People | Historic Trees | Cemeteries | Small Town Sagas | WWII |
History | Black History | Rooms with a Past | Music | Animals | Books | MEXICO
COLUMNS : History, Humor, Topical and Opinion

TEXAS ARCHITECTURE | IMAGES
Courthouses | Jails | Churches | Gas Stations | Schoolhouses | Bridges | Theaters | Monuments/Statues | Depots | Water Towers | Post Offices | Grain Elevators |
Lodges | Museums | Stores | Banks | Gargoyles | Corner Stones | Pitted Dates |
Drive-by Architecture | Old Neon | Murals | Signs | Ghost Signs

TRAVEL RESERVATIONS
TEXAS HOTELS | Hotels | Cars | Air | Cruises | USA


Privacy Statement | Disclaimer | Recommend Us | Links
Contributors | Staff | About Us | Contact TE |
TEXAS ESCAPES ONLINE MAGAZINE
HOME
Website Content Copyright 1998-2006. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. All Rights Reserved
This page last modified: February 10, 2006