By Mint Julep

Eric Guerin Jockey: One Kentucky Derby Win

1947 kentucky derby winner jet pilot

Join the thrilling journey through jockey Eric Guerin’s remarkable career. From his humble beginnings as a young Cajun blacksmith’s son to becoming a legendary figure in horse racing, witness his incredible partnership with Sagamore Stable and the unforgettable undefeated season with Native Dancer. See how he conquered the Triple Crown victories that secured his place in racing history. Feel the excitement of Guerin’s Kentucky Derby win aboard Jet Pilot and discover his lasting legacy as an esteemed member of the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame.

Early Life and Family Background

Eric Guerin, who was born Oliver Eric Guerin on October 23, 1924, in Maringouin, Louisiana, grew up as the son of a poor Cajun blacksmith. When he was just fourteen years old and had completed his sophomore year in high school, he started working for his cousin at Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans. It was there that he learned to ride horses by exercising them.

Guerin’s early introduction to the world of horse racing laid a strong foundation for his future achievements. His beginnings as a stable hand influenced his work ethic and strengthened his connection with horses.

Despite facing financial struggles while growing up in rural Louisiana, Guerin found comfort and purpose within the stables at Fair Grounds Race Course. The dusty tracks served as his training grounds for what would later become an illustrious career in horse racing.

The combination of challenges and passion shaped Eric Guerin into more than just a talented jockey; he became a symbol of resilience and determination in the competitive world of thoroughbred racing.

Introduction to Racing

When Eric Guerin burst onto the scene of thoroughbred horse racing, it was a truly remarkable sight. Just at the age of sixteen, he began his career at Narragansett Park near Pawtucket, Rhode Island in 1941. With a calm demeanor and skilled hands, Guerin quickly became known as an up-and-coming jockey to keep an eye on in races along the East Coast. His impressive start hinted at the incredible success that would later define his legacy within this competitive sport.

Guerin’s journey took an exciting turn when he secured victory in a rare triple dead heat for first place during the prestigious Carter Handicap of 1944. This thrilling win solidified his reputation as one of the brightest talents among jockeys, captivating audiences with his expertise and finesse on the racetrack. It was just one moment along Guerin’s extraordinary path towards becoming a legendary figure in horse racing history.

As Eric Guerin raced through each course with unparalleled grace and determination, spectators were captivated by this young prodigy riding atop magnificent steeds. From those early days at Narragansett Park to future triumphs yet to unfold, Guerin’s name soon became synonymous with excellence throughout horseracing circles across America—a clear indication of even greater victories waiting just over the horizon.

The Pros & Cons of Jockeying for Victory


  1. Eric Guerin is an amazing jockey with lots of skills and experience.

  2. He has won many races at the Kentucky Derby, which is super impressive!

  3. Eric can make strong connections with horses, helping them win races.

  4. He's really good at coming up with smart race strategies and making quick decisions during races.

  5. People know him for staying calm under pressure in important races.


  1. You might get hurt because horse racing is tough on the body.

  2. Skilled jockeys will give you a run for your money in races.

  3. You'll feel the heat to perform well every time you race.

  4. The weather and track conditions can play a big role in how well you do.

  5. It's tricky to connect with different horses and adjust to their way of racing.

Kentucky Derby Victory

In 1947, Eric Guerin demonstrated his exceptional talent by winning the prestigious race at Churchill Downs with Jet Pilot. Partnering with trainer Tom Smith and Elizabeth Arden’s Maine Chance Farm stable was a brilliant move that led to an unforgettable victory in the Run for the Roses. The Kentucky Derby wasn’t just a race but served as a showcase for Guerin’s skills as he expertly guided Jet Pilot through the field, leaving spectators amazed.

Guerin formed a special bond with Sagamore Stable during his successful racing career. Teaming up with Native Dancer, they had an undefeated season that captured attention worldwide. Their coordination was impeccable; it appeared as if horse and jockey were one entity, outpacing their rivals effortlessly.

Eric Guerin continued to make history alongside legendary horses like Native Dancer. Their victories in the Triple Crown races were more than just wins – they were displays of speed and skill orchestrated by a master holding onto those coveted reins tightly. Fans admired how Guerin brought out every bit of potential from his equine partners, turning races into thrilling performances set against thunderous hooves.

The legacy Eric Guerin left behind is not only about victories and accolades but also about the bond between man and beast. His deep understanding of horses went beyond sport; it bordered on artistry where trust flowed freely between rider and mount like water over smoothed stones worn down by time itself. In each hoofbeat resonates the story of a jockey who danced alongside champions under sunny skies or amidst pouring rain – always seeking that perfect harmony that would lead them triumphantly across finish lines far beyond what anyone could imagine possible.

Partnership with Sagamore Stable

Eric Guerin had an incredible journey with Alfred G. Vanderbilt II at Sagamore Stable, like a perfectly synchronized performance where each victory brought sweet success. With trainer Bill Winfrey’s guidance, they achieved remarkable wins that left a mark in horse racing history. From the impressive fillies such as Bed o’Roses to the determined Next Move, their teamwork represented excellence in action.

Guerin and Sagamore Stable didn’t just focus on winning races; it was about blending artistry and athleticism on racecourses across the country. The connection between man and horse went beyond competition, forming a seamless dance of trust and skill. Every stride towards triumph showcased Guerin’s expertise as a jockey while respecting Sagamore’s prestigious heritage.

Guiding horses bred by Sagamore Stable to victory allowed Guerin to showcase brilliance on various racetracks. Their combined efforts spoke volumes about dedication and precision in an environment where split seconds could decide success or failure. Together, they wrote stories filled with bravery, passion, and steadfast commitment—a timeless narrative cherished by fans who appreciate greatness not only in victories but also in resilient spirits working together for a shared purpose.

Legendary Jockey Eric Guerin: A Racing Icon

Attribute Information
Name Eric Guerin
Occupation Jockey
Born October 23, 1924
Place of Birth Maringouin, Louisiana, U.S.
Died March 21, 1993 (aged 68)
Career Wins 2,712
Major Racing Wins Astoria Stakes (1944, 1952, 1957), Bay Shore Handicap (1944, 1949, 1952), Carter Handicap (1944, 1951), Wilson Stakes (1945), Alabama Stakes (1946, 1947, 1956), Great American Stakes (1946), National Stallion Stakes (1946), Fleetwing Handicap (1947), Tremont Stakes (1946, 1949, 1952), Youthful Stakes (1947, 1952, 1954, 1958), and more
American Classics Wins Kentucky Derby (1947), Preakness Stakes (1953), Belmont Stakes (1953, 1954)
Racing Awards United States’ leading apprentice jockey (1942)
Honours United States Racing Hall of Fame (1972), Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame (1984), Fair Grounds Racing Hall of Fame (1991)
Significant Horses Jet Pilot, Berlo, Bed o’Roses, Native Dancer, Idun, Blue Peter, One Count, Battlefield, Your Host, Grecian Queen

Undefeated Season with Native Dancer

In 1952, Guerin and Native Dancer dominated the horse racing scene with a flawless season. This incredible accomplishment cemented their place in history as legends of the sport. Their outstanding performance led to them receiving prestigious honors such as the Eclipse Award for Champion 2-year-old and Horse of the Year.

The partnership between Eric Guerin and Native Dancer was like a dream team on the racetrack. Their seamless coordination wowed fans and left competitors amazed. Every race they ran seemed to break boundaries and defy expectations. It wasn’t just about winning; it was a mesmerizing blend of grace and power that captivated all who watched.

Guerin’s unwavering commitment to excellence matched perfectly with Native Dancer’s exceptional talent and spirit. Together, they glided across tracks like poetry in motion, leaving behind a trail of victories that etched their names into horse racing lore forevermore. Their undefeated season stands as an inspiration for young jockeys aiming for greatness, showcasing what can be achieved through determination on the turf.

Triple Crown Triumphs

Eric Guerin was an exceptional jockey who made history while riding for Sagamore Stable, notably with the powerful Native Dancer. Their incredible journey to Triple Crown victory kicked off with a thrilling win at the Preakness Stakes, followed by a strong performance at the Belmont Stakes in 1953. Despite facing challenges early on in the Kentucky Derby and coming second due to interference that disrupted their momentum, Guerin’s remarkable skill and determination led them to triumph in two out of three major races.

The connection between Eric Guerin and Native Dancer went beyond just rider-horse dynamics; it was a perfect mix of talent, trust, and sheer determination that drove them towards success. The intense energy they brought to each race left spectators amazed as they witnessed something truly special unfold before their eyes. With every step closer to victory, Guerin expertly guided Native Dancer with precision and finesse, demonstrating not only his mastery of horsemanship but also his deep understanding of his equine partner’s abilities.

In horse racing history books, Eric Guerin’s flawless performances aboard Native Dancer showcase their exceptional teamwork on track. From navigating tricky turns to unleashing bursts of speed down the homestretch, Guerin orchestrated each race like a skilled conductor leading an orchestra – smooth, captivating, and destined for glory. Winning both the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes amidst thunderous applause from fans witnessing greatness being achieved.

The legacy created by Eric Guerin alongside Native Dancer continues through time as an unforgettable mark within horse racing circles worldwide. Their triumphant season during that memorable Triple Crown campaign serves as inspiration for young jockeys dreaming of reaching great heights in this sport. Together they embodied perseverance – overcoming obstacles gracefully and charging towards excellence with unwavering spirit. In every hoofbeat resonates their shared pursuit of greatness inspiring generations long after their victories have become part of history yet remain vividly alive within our hearts today

Legendary Tales of Derby Triumphs

  1. Exciting Story of Eric Guerin's Victory in the Kentucky Derby: A Triumph to Remember

  2. In 1955, jockey Eric Guerin and his remarkable horse Swaps raced their way to a thrilling win at the Kentucky Derby. Swaps was well-known for his incredible speed and endurance, making him a tough competitor in this prestigious event.

  3. Despite fierce competition from other top jockeys and horses, Eric Guerin skillfully steered Swaps to a resounding victory that secured his spot in Derby history books.

  4. The triumph at the 1955 Kentucky Derby marked the only time Eric Guerin emerged victorious in this iconic race but left an indelible mark on his successful career as a jockey.

  5. During the Kentucky Derby, Eric Guerin's talent and dedication shone through as he expertly partnered with Swaps to showcase their winning performance on track.

  6. The dynamic duo of Eric Guerin's expertise as a jockey paired with Swaps' exceptional racing abilities created an unforgettable moment when they clinched victory at the 1955 Kentucky Derby – surely one for the ages!

Hall of Fame Induction

In 1972, Eric Guerin was elected into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame after enjoying a successful career that spanned thirty-four years and produced an impressive 2,712 winners. For Guerin, stepping into racing’s most prestigious honor was the ultimate recognition of his unwavering commitment to the sport. His exceptional horsemanship skills and strategic brilliance on the track earned him accolades that solidified his place among legends.

Guerin’s induction marked a significant moment in acknowledging his extraordinary talent and contributions to horse racing history. Throughout his illustrious career that lasted decades, he left a lasting impact on the sport with every stride down the homestretch. Guiding champions like Native Dancer to victory with grace not only captured hearts but also sealed his legacy as one of racing’s finest jockeys.

Applause echoed through the Hall of Fame as Guerin rightfully took his place alongside giants whose feats had engraved unforgettable tales in turf lore. His partnership with Sagamore Stable resulted in triumphs that resonated across generations, immortalizing him in horse racing greatness. The enshrinement ceremony served as proof of Guerin’s skillful prowess and unyielding passion for every hoofbeat beneath him.

As spectators gazed upon Guerin’s plaque displayed on those revered walls, they couldn’t help but feel awe at his remarkable accomplishments – from undefeated seasons with iconic steeds to Triple Crown victories preserved for eternity. The Hall didn’t just recognize past glories; it also inspired future riders who aimed to emulate Guerin’s finesse on their quest for equine excellence.

Retirement and Later Career

After wrapping up his racing career in 1975 at the age of fifty-one, Guerin effortlessly transitioned to a new role within the horse racing community. He brought his vast experience and knowledge to Calder Race Course and Gulfstream Park, where he took on the role of a mutuels clerk. Even though he was no longer riding horses, Guerin found joy in staying close to the action, chatting with fellow fans, and sharing stories from his successful career.

Guerin’s presence at these racetracks added an extra layer of excitement to the atmosphere; fans would often gather around him eagerly listening to anecdotes about his time on the track. His love for horse racing remained strong as he embraced this behind-the-scenes position. The admiration he received went beyond just his wins – it stemmed from his commitment to the sport and willingness to pass on valuable insights to younger generations.

Working as a mutuels clerk allowed Guerin to stay connected with horse racing until his passing in 1993 due to heart complications. His death shocked many in the tight-knit community who had come not only appreciated him for skilled riding but also for humility and sportsmanship off-track.

Although Eric Guerin is no longer with us physically, his legacy continues undeterred by life’s uncertainties. His name stands tall among legends like Native Dancer—a reminder that greatness goes beyond moments on a racecourse or fleeting glories under sunny skies.

Lasting Legacy

Eric Guerin’s impact on horse racing is a shining example of his exceptional skill and unwavering commitment. His collaboration with Sagamore Stable, especially riding the famous Native Dancer, stands out in history as an undefeated season that captivated fans worldwide. Guerin’s expert handling of “The Grey Ghost” highlighted his ability to connect flawlessly with a spirited champion, leading them to victory after impressive victory.

In addition, Eric Guerin cemented his status among the elites by winning several Triple Crown races during his remarkable career. His strategic moves on the track were like a conductor directing a symphony – smooth, precise, and breathtaking. The Kentucky Derby held special significance for Guerin, where he consistently demonstrated unmatched finesse. Each race wasn’t just about speed but also about tactics and instinct – qualities that distinguished him from other jockeys of his time.

Today when people talk about legendary riders who made a lasting impact on horse racing history, Eric Guerin’s name is mentioned with respect and admiration. His legacy goes beyond mere numbers; it embodies true sportsmanship and an unwavering love for equine excellence. As Eddie Arcaro movingly put it, there was truly no one better than Eric – sentiment echoed by fans who witnessed firsthand the magic he brought to the racetrack.


1. How many times did Eric Guerin win the Kentucky Derby?

Eric Guerin, a talented jockey, triumphed in the Kentucky Derby two times during his impressive career, demonstrating his exceptional skills and abilities on the racetrack.

2. Which famous horse did Eric Guerin ride to victory in the Kentucky Derby?

Eric Guerin skillfully guided Native Dancer to win the Kentucky Derby, demonstrating his exceptional talent and strong bond with the famous horse.

3. What was the name of the stable that Eric Guerin had a successful partnership with during his career?

During his impressive horse racing career, Eric Guerin teamed up with Sagamore Stable and achieved great success together.

4. Can you name one of the Triple Crown races that Eric Guerin won with Native Dancer?

During their remarkable undefeated season, Native Dancer and Eric Guerin achieved victory in the Preakness Stakes.

5. How many victories did Eric Guerin and Native Dancer achieve during their undefeated season?

Eric Guerin and Native Dancer won nine races in a row during their unbeaten season, cementing their place as legends in the world of horse racing.

6. What is one enduring legacy that Eric Guerin left behind in the world of horse racing?

Eric Guerin left a lasting mark on horse racing through his remarkable teamwork with Sagamore Stable, his unbeaten season riding Native Dancer, and his victories in the Triple Crown races. These achievements firmly establish him as a legendary jockey in the history of the sport.