A neat bit o’ weird history…

You can beat a dead horse, but you can’t always beat a dead rider. Ever hear of Frank Hayes? No? Here’s the skinny:


On June 4, 1923, jockey Frank Hayes took off through the gates at Belmont Park on Long Island. He and his horse, Sweet Kiss (a 20-1 shot owned by Miss A.M. Frayling), made it to the finish line first. But when the horse crossed the finish line Frank Hayes was more than just “relaxed” – he was dead as a doornail. Hayes’ death was not discovered until Miss Frayling and race officials came to congratulate him shortly after the race and his lifeless body slid out of the saddle.

It was later determined that Hayes had died of heart failure shortly after Sweet Kiss took the lead, and the New York Times speculated that the jockey’s heart had given out as a result of severe training in order to make weight (he quickly went from 142lbs to 130lbs), coupled with the excitement of winning his first race.  Hayes, dressed in his colorful racing silks, was buried three days later.  In light of the incident, Belmont’s Jockey Club waived all of the rules and thus made Hayes’ win official.  This ruling makes Frank Hayes the only jockey to win a race while deceased.  In fact, it is the only time in sports history when a competition was won by a dead man (unless you count a few stupid boxers that crossed the Mob and didn’t throw a fight when they were supposed to.).

This *might* be the origin of the phrase “I’ll win if it kills me!”, but I gotta do some more checking on that….


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