Biography of Famous Horses and Jockeys: Kelso and Ismael Valenzuela

About the famous award winning horse Kelso and his jockey Ismael Valenzuela, history and biography.


Jockey--Ismael Valenzuela

The early 1960s belonged to Kelso. The big gelding, with 39 victories in 83 starts, was named Horse of the Year a record 5 times between 1960 and 1964. Kelso's racing earned him almost $2 million, another all-time record.

Kelso seemed to get better with age. He had placed 2nd 3 times in a row in the Washington, D.C., International before winning it in 1964, at 7 years old. In the final 5 months of his career he broke or tied 3 U.S. records; for a mile and an eighth on turf, 2 mi. on dirt, and a mile and a half on turf.

Ismael Valenzuela shared many of Kelso's triumphs. He was aboard for the 3 frustrating 2nds in the International, and had the satisfaction of riding the winner in 1964. One of the top riders of the 1960s, Valenzuela drew such mounts as Bold Ruler, whom he guided to a victory in the 1957 Preakness, and Tim Tam, winner of the 1958 Derby.

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