By Mint Julep


Johnny Longden Trainer: Two Kentucky Derby Winners

kentucky derby winner count fleet 1943

In this exciting journey, we delve into the remarkable career of Johnny Longden as a trainer. Witness his mastery in guiding not one but two Kentucky Derby winners to victory. Discover how he skillfully prepared Majestic Prince for success at the 1969 Kentucky Derby, showcasing Longden’s lasting impact as both a jockey and trainer in horse racing history.

Early Life and Family Background

John Eric, also known as Johnny Longden, was born on February 14, 1907 in Wakefield, Yorkshire, England. His childhood played a crucial role in shaping his future. When he was just two years old, his family moved to Taber, Alberta after his father’s journey to Canada. By a stroke of luck or fate, they narrowly missed boarding the Titanic due to a delayed train.

This turn of events led young Longden towards his true passion – horses and racing. Growing up around horses sparked something special within him that would later lead to an incredible career as both jockey and trainer. The sights and sounds of racecourses became familiar early on for John Eric.

His experiences with horses during childhood set the stage for remarkable achievements on tracks all over the world later in life. Starting from humble beginnings emerged a legendary jockey who conquered Triple Crown races and major stakes events with unmatched finesse and determination during his time.

Today’s readers can find inspiration in Longden’s story not only if you aspire to be a rider but also if you’re someone striving to overcome setbacks and seize opportunities while galloping towards success.

Introduction to Racing

In 1927, Johnny Longden, a jockey who stood at just 4’11” tall, burst onto the horse racing scene in California. Starting his career at Santa Anita Park, he quickly gained fame for his exceptional riding skills and determination. Fans were captivated by how he skillfully guided horses to victory on the track.

During his time as a jockey, Johnny Longden achieved an extraordinary feat that many only dream of – winning all three legs of the prestigious Triple Crown series. His brilliant performances with Count Fleet in 1943 led to triumphs at the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes. This established him as one of the top riders in thoroughbred racing.

Not content with dominating American racetracks alone, Johnny Longden also excelled internationally with significant wins across various countries such as Canada and Mexico. He even conquered England’s Epsom Derby, showcasing his versatility and excellence beyond borders. His success overseas not only highlighted his skills but also turned him into a global icon within the equestrian world.

As time passed and age caught up with him like an unrelenting pursuer down the homestretch of life’s racecourse, Johnny Longden gracefully transitioned from being a shining star in horse racing to sharing his wealth of knowledge as a respected trainer after retiring from competition. With insights gained through years spent navigating tracks worldwide, he passed on wisdom to future generations while leaving an enduring impact on every aspect of this beloved sport we cherish so deeply!

The Pros & Cons of Racing Legends


  1. Inspires young jockeys and fans of horse racing for the future.
  2. Creates a strong legacy within the exciting world of horse racing.
  3. Shows outstanding skill, talent, and commitment to mastering their craft.
  4. Reaches important goals and wins that fans all around the globe cheer for.


  1. Being in a high-pressure environment can cause stress and burnout.
  2. Competitive horse racing involves physical risks that need to be considered.
  3. Intense competition might take precedence over personal life and relationships.
  4. Racing legends face public scrutiny and criticism while being in the spotlight.

Triple Crown Triumphs

Johnny Longden was an exceptional jockey who made history by winning the Triple Crown races in horse racing. His victory with Count Fleet in 1943 is legendary, as he triumphed in all three major races – the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes – in a single season. This remarkable accomplishment cemented Longden’s reputation as one of the greatest jockeys of his time, showcasing his talent for riding different tracks and distances with skill.

Not only was Johnny Longden successful as a jockey, but he also made his mark as a trainer when he led Majestic Prince to  Triple Crown wins in 1969. His expertise extended beyond just riding; he had a knack for developing young talents into champions on the track. With careful attention to detail and smart training techniques, Longden guided Majestic Prince to success, demonstrating his versatility and deep understanding of horses’ behavior. The fact that he achieved Triple Crown victories both as a rider and trainer highlights Longden’s extraordinary talent that goes beyond normal limits within the sport.

Even after retiring from competitive racing, Johnny Longden continued to influence horse racing through various business endeavors that showcased his lasting passion for these magnificent animals. As a respected figure within the community, he shared valuable insights gained over decades spent at racetracks around the world. Whether offering advice to aspiring riders or getting involved in breeding programs aimed at producing future champions, Longden remained committed to raising standards across the industry while preserving its rich traditions for generations ahead.

Major Stakes Wins

Johnny Longden had an incredible career filled with wins in top races like the Hollywood Gold Cup, Hollywood Derby, Canadian Derby, and many other important events. His talent as both a jockey and trainer stood out each time he won a major race.

It’s amazing to see how Longden’s name became connected with success on the racetrack. With every win in famous races such as the Santa Anita Handicap and Kentucky Derby – where he rode Count Fleet to Triple Crown victory – his reputation only grew stronger.

Longden was able to earn respect from horses and competitors alike, which was truly impressive. From his historic victories at the Preakness Stakes to his international triumphs at places like Ascot Racecourse in England, Longden consistently showed that he was one of horse racing’s greatest figures.

Even after retiring, Johnny Longden continued to make an impact on horse racing. His move into training brought more recognition through significant wins in stakes races, proving that he wasn’t just a successful jockey but also a respected figure within the racing community.

Legendary Jockey-Trainer: Johnny Longden’s Achievements

Attribute Information
Name Johnny Longden
Occupation Jockey / Trainer
Born February 14, 1907
Wakefield, Yorkshire, England
Died February 14, 2003 (aged 96)
Banning, California, U.S.
Career wins 6,032
Major racing wins – American Classics wins: United States Triple Crown (1943), Kentucky Derby (1943), Preakness Stakes (1943), Belmont Stakes (1943)
– As a trainer: Kentucky Derby (1969), Preakness Stakes (1969)
– Other notable wins: Hollywood Gold Cup (1950, 1953, 1954, 1961), Hollywood Derby (1945, 1948, 1949, 1961, 1964), Canadian Derby (1932), Matron Stakes (1937), Wood Memorial Stakes (1937, 1943, 1944), Brooklyn Handicap (1938), Adirondack Stakes (1938, 1941, 1942), Walden Stakes (1938, 1942), Hopeful Stakes (1940), Breeders’ Futurity (1940), Saratoga Special Stakes (1940), Champagne Stakes (1939, 1942), Lawrence Realization Stakes (1943), Remsen Stakes (1943), Withers Stakes (1943, 1944), Gazelle Handicap (1944), Bing Crosby Handicap (1964), Del Mar Oaks (1964), Del Mar Handicap (1952, 1955, 1956), Palomar Breeders’ Cup Handicap (1955, 1956, 1964), Del Mar Derby (1963), Del Mar Futurity (1950), Santa Anita Handicap (1945, 1950, 1951, 1956), Jamaica Handicap (1947), Kentucky Oaks (1947), Santa Anita Derby (1947, 1948, 1950, 1955, 1961, 1969), San Felipe Stakes (1945, 1947, 1950, 1953, 1961), San Juan Capistrano Handicap (1950, 1951, 1955, 1965, 1966), Hawthorne Gold Cup Handicap (1961), Washington, D.C. International (1961), Canadian International Stakes (1965)
Racing awards – United States Champion Jockey by earnings (1943, 1945)
– United States Champion Jockey by wins (1938, 1947, 1948)
– George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award (1952)
– Avelino Gomez Memorial Award (1985)
– Eclipse Special Award (1994)
Honours – United States’ Racing Hall of Fame (1958)
– Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame (1958)
– Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame (1976)
– Fair Grounds Racing Hall of Fame (1995)
– Lifesize bust at Santa Anita Park
– Longden Turf Course at Bay Meadows Racetrack
– Longden Avenue, Arcadia, California
Significant horses Count Fleet, Busher, Jet Pilot, Your Host, Whirlaway, Noor, Rushaway, Swaps, T.V. Lark, Four-and-Twenty, George Royal, Majestic Prince

International Success

Johnny Longden was an incredibly talented jockey who achieved great success internationally. He traveled across oceans to compete against top-tier rivals in prestigious races such as the Washington D.C. International and Canadian International Stakes. When facing tough opponents from Europe, he demonstrated his skills and versatility on a global stage, earning admiration from racing fans all over the world.

Longden’s participation in international competitions not only showed his ability to adapt to different racing styles but also highlighted his deep understanding of horses’ abilities regardless of where they came from. His smart strategies and strong connection with horses allowed him to excel beyond American tracks, establishing himself as a respected jockey with exceptional knowledge of the sport.

By defeating formidable European competitors in events like the Washington D.C. International and Canadian International Stakes, Johnny Longden left behind a lasting legacy as one of horse racing’s most accomplished individuals. His victories overseas were more than just triumphs in foreign lands; they represented a perfect blend of horsemanship, determination, and passion that transcended borders.

Beyond simply winning awards abroad, Johnny Longden’s international triumphs served as inspiration for aspiring jockeys worldwide – encouraging them to set high goals, dream big dreams, and strive tirelessly for excellence every time they race. His journey around the world resonates with those who know that true greatness has no limits; it is timeless and boundless – moving forward boldly where courage meets skill under skies filled with ambition.

As we look back on Johnny Longden’s impressive career marked by victories both close to home turf and far away arenas alike – let us remember him not only as a legendary jockey who conquered Triple Crowns or major stakes but also as an ambassador for horse racing whose impact continues through generations of riders seeking glory even beyond familiar boundaries yet unexplored territories.

Hall of Fame Induction

Johnny Longden had an amazing career in horse racing that got him a spot in the United States’ Racing Hall of Fame back in 1958. This recognized his incredible skill and contributions to the sport. He also made it into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame that same year, showing how he was one of the best ever in horse racing history.

During his long career, Johnny Longden became famous for winning big races like the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes – known as the Triple Crown triumphs. His ability to lead horses to victory on these huge stages showed he was a jockey with unmatched talent and determination.

Not just known at home, Johnny Longden also gained fame internationally for his skills on the racetrack. Winning major races worldwide highlighted not only how versatile he was but also showcased his deep understanding of horses and what they can do. People associated Longden’s name with excellence both in North America and around the world.

Even after retiring from riding competitively, Johnny Longden stayed active in horse racing by training champions and helping young talent grow. His work after retiring showed not just a passion for this sport but also how much he wanted to share knowledge picked up over many years—a real sign of Longden’s lasting impact on horse racing across the globe.

Legendary Tales of Derby Glory

  1. Johnny Longden: From Jockey to Trainer – Conquering the Kentucky Derby
  2. Imagine this: Johnny Longden managed a remarkable feat by winning the Kentucky Derby as both a jockey and later as a trainer. In 1943, he steered Count Fleet to victory, then led Majestic Prince to triumph in 1969, securing his place among racing legends.
  3. Longden’s career as a jockey was nothing short of epic – with over 6,000 wins under his belt and numerous victories in prestigious races like the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. When he transitioned into training horses, it was clear that his deep knowledge of the sport set him apart.
  4. Known for his cool demeanor and sharp eye for talent, Longden earned respect from fellow professionals and adoration from fans alike. His ability to connect with horses on a personal level brought out their best qualities, making him one of the most sought-after trainers in horse racing.
  5. The tale of Johnny Longden’s double triumphs at the Kentucky Derby speaks volumes about his expertise, unwavering commitment, and love for horse racing. His legacy continues to motivate trainers young and old across generations while captivating racing enthusiasts worldwide.
  6. To win both as jockey and trainer at the Kentucky Derby is no small feat – yet Johnny Longden did just that! His name will forever be associated with Derby greatness; an emblem of persistence and excellence in horse racing history that resonates through time.”

Contributions Beyond Riding

Johnny Longden did more than just ride horses. He helped start the Jockeys’ Guild, a group that fights for jockeys’ rights in horse racing. His work made riding safer and improved conditions for riders all over North America.

After he stopped racing, Longden became a TV commentator. He shared his knowledge with viewers worldwide, making races more interesting and helping fans understand them better.

Longden didn’t only care about winning races himself; he wanted to help everyone involved in horse racing. He taught young jockeys and gave advice to people who wanted to be trainers, leaving a lasting impact on many in the sport.

Even after retiring from competing, Johnny Longden stayed active in horse racing. His love for the sport never faded as he took on leadership roles and mentored others, inspiring many along the way.

Through his continued involvement post-retirement – by supporting fellow riders or educating audiences as a commentator – Johnny Longden showed his dedication to improving and preserving horse racing’s legacy for years to come.

Endorsement Deals and Business Ventures

Johnny Longden effortlessly transitioned from being a jockey to becoming a trainer, showcasing his keen business sense in the process. Teaming up with Alberta Ranches Ltd., Longden made history by guiding Majestic Prince to a magnificent victory at the renowned Kentucky Derby in 1969. This win not only highlighted Longden’s skills as a trainer but also cemented his reputation as a savvy entrepreneur in the world of horse racing.

Even after retiring from competitive riding, Johnny Longden continued to make an impact on the industry through smart partnerships and strategic investments. His training career saw tremendous success with Majestic Prince, demonstrating his ability to nurture equine talent and showcase his deep understanding of the sport. With each step towards victory that Majestic Prince took under Longden’s guidance, it became clear that his ventures went beyond mere business deals – they were reflections of a lifetime dedicated to excellence in horse racing.

Reflecting on Johnny Longden’s post-retirement pursuits reveals that behind every successful racehorse was an exceptional individual steering its course. From thrilling wins at major races to lucrative collaborations like those with Alberta Ranches Ltd., Longden consistently showed that true greatness extends beyond racetracks and records – it lies in one’s skill at navigating both turf and transactions adeptly. By honoring Johnny Longden’s legacy, we celebrate not just an accomplished jockey or respected trainer but an icon whose influence continues resonating throughout the realms of horse racing today.


1. How many Kentucky Derby victories did Johnny Longden achieve as a jockey?

Johnny Longden won the Kentucky Derby as a jockey when he rode Count Fleet to victory in 1943.

2. Can you name some of the major stakes races that Johnny Longden won during his career?

Johnny Longden triumphed in major races like the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes, Santa Anita Handicap, Hollywood Gold Cup, and the Santa Anita Derby as a skilled jockey and trainer during his successful career.

3. What was unique about Johnny Longden’s Triple Crown triumphs as both a jockey and trainer?

Johnny Longden stands out for being the only person to win Triple Crown titles as both a jockey and trainer, demonstrating his exceptional talent and knowledge in the horse racing industry.

4. How did Johnny Longden’s international success impact his reputation in the world of horse racing?

Johnny Longden became a celebrated legend in horse racing worldwide, proving his remarkable talent and adaptability on the global stage.

5. What are some of the key contributions that Johnny Longden made to the racing community post-retirement?

After retiring, Johnny Longden continued to make significant impacts on the racing community by excelling in training horses, guiding aspiring jockeys and trainers, and participating in different business opportunities within the industry.

6. Could you share insights into Johnny Longden’s business ventures after his retirement from riding and training horses?

Johnny Longden transitioned from his successful career as a jockey and trainer to the business side of horse racing after retiring. He became a highly respected steward and racing official at different tracks, continuing to make a lasting impact on the sport.