Biography of Famous Horses and Jockeys: Equipoise and Ray Workman

About the famous award winning horse Equipoise and his jockey Ray Workman, history and biography.


Jockey--Ray Workman

Running during the Depression years, Equipoise never got the acknowledgement he deserved. Yet the "Chocolate Soldier" was one of the gamest of thoroughbreds.

"He couldn't bear the thought of another horse's passing him," said his owner, Sonny Whitney. "He was disqualified several times for biting the neck of a horse that tried."

Equipoise showed courage early. He stumbled at the start of the 1930 Pimlico Futurity, losing 20 lengths to the leaders. Yet he came back to defeat 2 fine horses, Mate and Twenty Grand. Equipoise went to the gate 51 times and came back a winner 29. He was leading sire of 1942, when his son Shut Out took the Derby and Belmont.

Ray "Sonny" Workman was one of the most efficient jockeys of his era. He had the best winning percentage in the country in 1930, 1933 and 1935. Between 1936 and 1940 he rode 1,152 winners in only 5,751 attempts. Workman won the 1928 Preakness on Victorian and the 1935 Hopeful Stakes on Red Rain. He was elected to the Jockey's Hall of Fame and the Racing Hall of Fame.

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