LEGEND OF JOHNNY LONGDON w/BONUS FOOTAGE
March 12, 1966, one of the most memorable days in the annals of horse racing; more than 60,000 fans have come to Santa Anita on a blustery afternoon to bid farewell to JOHNNY LONGDEN - the first winningest jockey in history; LONGDEN approaches the gate aboard GEORGE ROYAL after 40 years in the saddle. Win or lose, the fabled career of JOHNNY LONGDEN will no doubt close this day at Santa Anita.
But it all started back in 1931 when the young LONGDEN booted home his first winner kick starting his fledgling riding career on a horse he owned and won 1700 when he bet his last $75 on him at Tanforan. It wasn't until 1937 that his career really took off when he was noticed by the famed trainer, "SUNNY" JIM FITZSIMMONS and signed a three-year contract to ride for him in the "Big Apple" - the most prestigious of all horse racing circuits. LONGDEN blossomed under the FITZSIMMONS tutelage and chaulks up a record 22 stakes wins in 1938 becoming the nation's #1 rider.
In 1942 LONGDEN takes the reigns on a temperamental but gifted colt named COUNT FLEET riding for the John D. Hertz Stable; COUNT FLEET and LONGDEN embark on one of the most successful associations in horse racing history. Watch their brilliant ride in the 1943 Derby, his rocking chair victory in the Preakness and his flying 25-length record finish in the Belmont becoming racing's sixth-only Triple Crown winner without ever being touched by LONGDEN'S whip! Unfortunately COUNT FLEET would never race again as he fractured his sesamoids during the running of the Belmont; an outstanding display of heart going on to win by such a large margin even after sustaining this injury during the race.
In the heyday of his career, LONGDEN would move his tack back to California and landed the mount on the long-striding Irish horse, NOOR, in 1950 and would go head-to-head with CITATION, beating him five times; see their Golden Gate Handicap race.
As the years rolled on, LONGDEN would be inducted into racing's Hall of Fame and receives the distinguished GEORGE WOOLF award as he finishes his best season in 1956. Even with a slew of injuries suffered in several serious spills, there seems to be no stopping the stout-hearted jockey. At age 50, ignoring his ailments and doctors' pleas to give up riding, LONGDEN's unswaying brilliance in the saddle and his tremendous love of horses keep him from retiring.
See his win aboard TV LARK over the legendary KELSO in the '61 Laurel International. Finally at age 59 in 1966, JOHNNY LONGDEN ends his career going out a winner in grand fashion in a race spiked with drama in the 1966 San Juan Capistrano aboard GEORGE ROYAL.
He would then go on to be a highly successful trainer - another milestone in his endless career; he made history as the first man to both ride and train Kentucky Derby winners when MAJESTIC PRINCE captured the roses in 1969 - a horse he trained.
It would be hard to imagine JOHNNY LONGDEN not being involved in racing - his unparalleled career continued after more than 50 years earning him the title, "The Man Who Defies Time", in the history of horse racing, no one has accomplished more than JOHNNY LONGDEN. This very rare 1978 production can be yours!
AS AN ADDED BONUS...two brief segments are shown after the main feature announcing the death of the beloved rider, JOHNNY LONGDEN, at age 96 (1907-2003) featuring a look back at his storied career.
|Format(s) Available:||DVD And VHS|
|Category:||U.S. & Canadian Flat Racing|