A Jockey Unlike Any Other
This ain't your classic county fair pony ride.
Hi! I’m Joey, the founder of Fun Fact Friyay. This newsletter is all about satisfying your curiosity with a cool fact and then getting you on with your day. Let’s jump in!
Today’s fact: A jockey once won a horse race despite dying midway through it.
Halloween is behind us, but we’re still keeping up with the morbidity (it’s just too early for “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” okay?).
We’re hopping back 100 years for this fact. Frank Hayes, 22, was an Irish horse trainer and stableman. He had never won a race before, but on June 4, 1923, he found himself at Belmont Park atop a horse named Sweet Kiss, a 20-to-1 longshot to win.
When Hayes and Sweet Kiss crossed the finish line after the two-mile race, they had claimed victory by a head. There was only one problem: Hayes was no longer alive.
He had, however, remained in the saddle throughout the race. That caused some confusion when, during the post-race festivities, race handlers discovered Hayes didn’t have a pulse.
You do have a pulse, which means you can subscribe to Fun Fact Friyay. It’s free and way easier than riding a horse for two hours.
The Auburn Citizen and The New York Times said Hayes died from heart failure, likely a combination of excitement and an absurd training regimen that saw him drop from 142 to 130 pounds in a matter of days.
Sweet Kiss never participated in another race and gained the moniker “Sweet Kiss of Death” for the rest of her life, which seems unfair.
Meanwhile, Hayes remains the only person to win a sporting competition despite the noticeable disadvantage of being dead.
Never let anything get in the way of your dreams.
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