Sandy Hawley

Tags: Last Updated: April 19, 2023
Jockey Sandy Hawley

Sandy Hawley CM (born April 16, 1949, in Oshawa, Ontario) is a Canadian Hall of Fame jockey.

Desmond Sandford “Sandy” Hawley decided to be a jockey when he was a 17-year-old boy, hot walking, grooming, and exercising horses at a Woodbine racetrack in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Two years later, when he was 19 years old, he rode his first race at Woodbine race track as a Jockey. Then he became a regular rider at racetracks in Ontario and then rode at racetracks on the East Coast of the United States.

Hawley became the first Jockey to ever lead the Canadian standings in an entire season as an apprentice.

In 1969, when no Sovereign or Eclipse Awards for jockeys existed, Hawley rode 230 winners, the most that year of any apprentice jockey in North America.

He went on to race in the United States, where he led all jockeys in victories in 1970, 1972, 1973, and 1976.

In 1973, he became the first Jockey to win 500 races in one year, breaking Bill Shoemaker’s record. Sandy Hawley has career earnings of over $88.6 million and was one of the most successful jockeys of his generation.

Racing in California, Hawley was named the winner of Santa Anita Park’s prestigious George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award. Given to a North American rider who demonstrates the highest of standards of personal and professional conduct both on and off the racetrack, Hawley has had the lifelong reputation of being a gentleman and a man of honor.

In 1976 he won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey in the United States after he broke thoroughbred racing’s all-time money-winning record for a single year.

As a boy growing up in Canada, Hawley developed a love for ice hockey. While riding in California, he got an ice-level job as a penalty timekeeper for the home games of the Los Angeles Kings hockey team, giving himself a great view of his favorite game.

As Canada’s top athlete, he won the Lou Marsh Trophy in 1973 and 1976. He was named a Member of the Order of Canada, his country’s highest individual civilian honor for outstanding accomplishments by a citizen.

In addition to winning many major Stakes races in the United States, he won Canada’s most prestigious thoroughbred horse race four times, the Queen’s Plate. Twice, Hawley won seven races in a single day at Toronto’s Woodbine Racetrack and at Santa Anita Park had six wins in a single day on two occasions. Hawley and Avelino Gomez each won the Coronation Futurity Stakes a record five times. Gomez won the race four years running between 1964 and 1967. Hawley won the race five out of six years between 1971 and 1976, his streak broken by Gomez’s fifth win in 1972.

Hawley’s best result in the Kentucky Derby was two third-place finishes, one of which was with Golden Act in 1979, aboard whom he finished second in both the Preakness and Belmont Stakes.

Overall, Sandy Hawley’s career as a jockey spanned 31 years, from 1968 to his retirement on July 1, 1998. He had 31,455 mounts, garnering 6,449 wins, and won 18 riding titles at Woodbine Racetrack.


He was diagnosed with skin cancer in 1987, and doctors only gave him a few months to live. Still, he fought to overcome the disease with experimental drugs, a careful high-fiber diet, and sheer determination.

Sandy Hawley was voted for the 1986 Avelino Gomez Memorial Award and, that same year, was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the United States National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1992 and Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1998. He was inducted into the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 1999.[1]

The Sandy Hawley Award is presented annually by the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame to an individual who exemplifies a dedication to the community.

He currently is a Public Relations Ambassador for Woodbine Entertainment Group and resides in Toronto, Ontario, with his wife, Kaoru. He has worked as an analyst for The Score and CKXT-TV’s horse racing coverage.

Living Legends Race

On October 18, 2008, at Santa Anita Park, Sandy Hawley and seven other U.S. Racing Hall of Fame jockeys came out of retirement for the Living Legends Race that officially counted in their career totals and was specially approved for legalized parimutuel wagering. Hawley earned his 6,450th official career victory with a win aboard Tribal Chief, a horse owned by musician/record producer Herb Alpert and his brother David Alpert.

By: Wikipedia

Career and Stats

Stats compliments of

Career Overview: 31 years (1968-1998)
Mounts: 31,454
Wins: 6,450
Seconds: 4,825
Thirds: 4,158

Top Woodbine Stakes Wins

Canadian Oaks (8)

  • 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1979, 1988, 1990

Queen’s Plate (4)

  • 1970, 1971, 1975, 1978

Prince of Wales Stakes (4)

  • 1970, 1973, 1975, 1988

Breeders’ Stakes (4)

  • 1972, 1976, 1979, 1988

Canadian International (2)

  • 1976, 1979

Top American Stakes Win


  • 1970 Secretariat


  • 1977 Man o’ War

Del Mar

  • 1976 Ramona

Hollywood Park

  • 1976 Californian
  • 1977 Vanity
  • 1979 Hollywood Oaks
  • 1979 Hollywood Turf Handicap
  • 1981 Californian
  • 1981 Hollywood Gold Cup
  • 1983 Hollywood Futurity
  • 1985 Matriarch


  • 1986 Spinster
  • 1987 Ashland Laurel
  • 1975 Budweiser International

Santa Anita Park

  • 1975 Santa Ana
  • 1976 San Juan Capistrano
  • 1977 Strub
  • 1983 Norfolk
  • 1983 Santa Margarita
  • 1992 San Marino


  • 1971 Alabama
  • 1975 Whitney
National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame

National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame

Sandy Hawley took an unusual path to the racetrack, spending time as a plumber before he became a jockey. But once Hawley found his calling, he rapidly ascended to the elite among his profession, eventually earning induction into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1986 and the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1992.

Career: 1968 – 1998

Wins: 6,450

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