The Story of Frank Hayes, a Jockey Who Won The Game Despite Being Dead


This is one of the weird and amazing things about jockeying or horse racing is the story of a jockey named Frank Hayes. On June 04, 1923, at New York’s Belmont Park a young 22-year-old jockey (some reports suggest 35 years)

Won the only race of his career on the horse named Sweet Kiss.

And what’s the interesting yet sad thing about this race is that the jockey who rode Sweet Kiss was declared dead, yet he won the race.

Hayes, a stand-in jockey achieved the unthinkable when he rode 20-1 shot victorious ride over a fan favorite Gimme shocked the crowd but the event turned tragic which was even more shocking when Hayes crossed the finish line he tumbled from the saddle and when the track doctor John A. Voorhees rushed to examine Hayes, he was declared dead as he had suffered a mini-heart attack.

“The grim reaper paid a sensational visit to the Belmont Park track yesterday,” wrote the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, New York’s Daily News said, “The exertion and excitement proved too great.” And they also described that Hayes was well-liked in the stable and saddling room.

The horse, Sweet Kiss never raced again after the incident and according to the statistics, the horse had already won $1775 in earnings from previous races.

Years later until today, the exact cause of his death is still unknown when reports suggest that he had died before the horse crossed the finish line and some counteract this point. The Guinness World Record says that the jockey died before the race. “Despite his sudden death, Hayes somehow remained in the saddle long enough for the 20-1 long shot to jump the final fence and cross the finish line in the first place,” it says.

There are many conflicting reports surrounding his death which are still questions, however, Frank Hayes was buried in the same riding silks which is the only race that he has won and the last race of his life.

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