Jockey Willie Shoemaker was a Texan
Many Texans don't realize that Willie Shoemaker ---- perhaps the greatest jockey of all time, is also a Texan. Willie was born in Fabens, Texas—a border town near El Paso—August 19, 1931. Weighing one pound, sixteen ounces, he was not expected to live through the night. Maude Harris, Shoemaker’s grandmother, put him on a pillow in a shoebox and set it on the open door of an oven to keep him warm. Although he survived, Shoemaker was always small. He rode his first horse at seven and, after his parents divorced, moved to El Monte, California with his father. Shoemaker attended El Monte High School, where he boxed and was undefeated as an 80 pound wrestler before quitting school at 15 to work at a thoroughbred horse ranch. He mucked out stalls, working with yearlings, gained a great understanding of horses and the rest, as they say, is history. He ended up winning the Kentucky Derby four times, the Belmont Stakes five times, and the Preakness twice. His record of 8,833 career wins stood for 30 years. You know, now that I think about it, it sort of makes sense that a Texan would be such a great horseman, seein's how ubiquitous horses are hereabouts.
Beauty is only skin deep but Texas is to the bone.