Veteran Jockeys Longden, Arcaro to Receive Special Eclipse Awards
Johnny Longden had been taking an afternoon nap in Banning on Monday when a reporter called to tell him that he and fellow jockey Eddie Arcaro would be receiving special Eclipse Awards. They combined for 10,811 riding victories, with Longden, at the 6,032 mark, retiring from the saddle in 1966, five years after Arcaro.
“That’s very nice,” Longden said of his award. “I’m sure Eddie’s happy too. He was a great rider, one of the best, and we’ve stayed good friends. We visited when he was at Del Mar a year or two ago. We never once had words when we rode. We were a lot alike. We both rode hard and we were out there to win.”
Longden, who will be 88 next month, won the Kentucky Derby and swept the Triple Crown with Count Fleet in 1943. Then in 1969, he saddled Majestic Prince at Churchill Downs, becoming the only horseman to both ride and train a Derby winner.
Arcaro, 79, was No. 1 in purses, with $30 million, when he retired. He is the only jockey to have won two Triple Crowns, with Whirlaway in 1941 and Citation in 1948.
Longden and Arcaro rode before the Eclipse Awards program started in 1971. The special Eclipse Awards have been given intermittently since then, with Bill Shoemaker, in 1976, the only other jockey to have received one.
It was also announced Monday that Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt had won the Eclipse Award of Merit for lifetime contributions to racing. Vanderbilt raced six champions, including three horses--Bed o’ Roses, Discovery and Native Dancer--that are in the Hall of Fame.