Visit

Grand Falls

Living in

Grand Falls

Municipal

Services

Municipal

Council

Ron Turcotte

CANADA'S GREATEST JOCKEY

Canada has produced some of the most talented jockeys in the history of thoroughbred racing in North America, but none stands taller than Ron Turcotte.  It is fair to say he is the greatest of them all.

Ron Turcotte was born July 22nd, 1941 in Drummond near Grand Falls, New Brunswick, Canada.  Ronnie was the third of 12 children born to Alfred and Rose Turcotte. 

In 1955, he left school at the age of 14 to go work with his father as a lumberjack.  It was while working with his father that he acquired a good work ethic and human values that would serve him for the rest of his life.  Ron Turcotte had no idea that his work with the horses would take him to the highest peaks of the horse racing world.

At the age of 18, he headed to Toronto in search of construction work.  Ron was a natural horseman and fate played a role when in 1960, he began his new career as a walker for Winfields Farm, the most successful stable in Canada.  Turcotte was soon wearing the Windfields silks and winning races. As an apprentice jockey, he rode the great Northern Dancer to his first victory. 

 

Ron guided the legendary Canadian racehorse Northern Dancer to a Crushing Victory on August 2, 1963.

11a_ronturcotte2.jpg

Another one of his most important Canadian wins was in 1962 when Ron Turcotte rode Crafty Lace, the Canadian horse of the year, to victory in the Breeders Stakes. 

Eventually, Turcotte was encouraged to move to the United States, so he journeyed to the Maryland racing circuit where his numerous accomplishments eventually caught the attention of American trainers.

Turcotte gained distinction with his first major victory in the United States aboard Tom Rolfe in the 1965 Preakness Stakes. Soon after, he started working with Lucien Laurin, another French Canadian who was successful in thoroughbred horse racing.  In 1972, Turcotte rode Riva Ridge to victory in the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes winning two of the Triple Crown events.

Turcotte was North America’s leading stakes-winning jockey in 1972 and 1973. 

He also became the first jockey to win the Kentucky Derby back-to-back since Jimmy Winkfield had achieved this in 1902. 

Ron Turcotte is also the only jockey to ever have won five consecutive Triple Crown races.

0ca5096dc9e8245fb2326513eb928568.jpg

 Ron Turcotte became internationally famous in 1973 when a big red colt, named Secretariat, became the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years. 

This photo, taken June 9, 1973, and seen by millions of fans, became famous. This photograph remains one of the most iconic photos as Secretariat gallops toward history with Ron Turcotte aboard. In the closing seconds of the Belmont Stakes, it captures the great Secretariat approaching the finish line while Turcotte looks over his shoulder, as if he is admiring the growing distance between him and the next rider.  

Their record-breaking triumph in the Belmont Stakes, which they won by 31 lengths, is widely regarded as one of the greatest races in history. As of today, (09.02.21), their final time of 2:24 remains a world record.  Big Red and Turcotte were simply magical together.

After their spectacular victories in the  Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes (above), Ron Turcotte and Secretariat won the coveted American Triple Crown in 1973. In one of the finest performances in racing history on horses, Ron Turcotte and Secretariat, won the 1.5 mile race in 2 minutes and 24 seconds, a world track record for this distance.

Turcotte and Secretariat, the fastest horse to ever live, were an unmatched team. To this day the mere mention of their names stirs memories in racing fans young and old. The pair are forever immortalized in print and film.

The movie Secretariat was released in 2010 by Walt Disney Pictures. The film chronicles the life of the thoroughbred racehorse Secretariat, winner of the Triple Crown in 1973 with the legendary Ron Turcotte. 

 

The daughter of Secretariat’s owner, Penny Chenery, takes over the Meadow Stables in Virginia from her ailing father despite her lack of horse-racing knowledge.

 

  With the help of Lucien Laurin, the veteran trainer, Penney Chenery navigates the male-dominated business, ultimately fostering the first Triple Crown win in 25 years and one of the greatest horse races of all times.

fcb87c4a-fd89-4bee-9477-59a8e635c299.jpg
ron_turcotte_jockey_legendaire.jpg

  In 2012, the National Film Board of Canada released a documentary directed by filmmaker Phil Comeau, marking the 40th anniversary of this memorable adventure.

 

This film is entitled, Ron Turcotte, legendary jockey and takes us from the New Brunswick countryside to the biggest racetracks in the United States.  The feature-length documentary offers a retrospective on the life and career of Ron Turcotte who became a legend beyond the borders of his country and, along with renowned Secretariat, won the prestigious American Triple Crown. 

 

Very few Canadian jockeys have accomplished this great honor.

Tragically, at the start of the race at Belmont Park on July 13th, 1978, Ron Turcotte’s riding career came to a horrific end following a tumble from his horse.  This unfortunate incident left him a paraplegic.  He was only 36 years old at the time. 

Here are some prestigious awards awarded to Ron Turcotte
  • In 1962 and 1963, Ron Turcotte was awarded the Leading Jockey of all Canadian racetracks.

  • In 1974, the legendary jockey received the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame.  This annual Canadian award inducts athletes that are from the province of New Brunswick.

  • In 1974, Ron Turcotte was the first person from thoroughbred racing ever to be appointed a member of the Order of Canada.  The Order of Canada is a Canadian national order and the second highest distinction after the Order of Merit.

  • In 1976, in Turcotte’s hometown of Grand Falls, New Brunswick, a large concrete bridge was built over the famous gorge and was named the Ron Turcotte Bridge in honor of their legendary jockey.

  • In 1978, Ron Turcotte received the Man-of-the-Year Award given annually by the Jockey Club of Canada to the outstanding horses and people in Canadian thoroughbred racing.

  • In 1978, Ron Turcotte was inducted in the Long Island Sports Hall of Fame.

  • In 1978, Turcotte received the prominent Canadian George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award.  This award honors a jockey in North America whose career and personal conduct exemplifies the very best of participants both on and off the racetrack.

  • In 1979, Ron Turcotte was granted The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame award. This award was founded to honor the achievements of American jockeys.  

  • In 1980, Turcotte was inducted into Canada’s All Sports Hall of Fame.  Located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame is an international award-winning museum with state-of-the-art technology which helps share the stories of Canada’s greatest sport heroes.

  • Again in 1980, at the Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Ontario, the legendary jockey was inducted in the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame to honor his significant contribution to the sport of thoroughbred horse racing.

  • In 1984, Ron Turcotte became the first ever recipient of the Avelino Gomez Memorial Award.  This award is a Canadian thoroughbred horse racing honor given annually to a jockey who is Canadian-born, Canadian-raised, and who has provided significant contributions to the sport. 

  • In 1986, Ron Turcotte was inducted into the Hawthorne Racing Hall of Fame.  Located in Chicago, Illinois, this award is given to outstanding thoroughbred horse racing jockeys.

  • In 1998, Ron Turcotte received the Paul Harris Fellowship Award. This award honors an individual who contributes to his community and meets the high professional and personal standards exemplified by Harris, founder of the Rotary International Club.

In 2015, a life-size statue of Secretariat and Ron Turcotte, crossing the finish line at the Belmont Stakes and winning the United States Triple Crown in 1973, was unveiled in Grand Falls, New Brunswick, Canada, Turcotte’s hometown.

 

The monument was created by Yves Theriault from Bertrand, New Brunswick, Canada.

136.JPG
Lexington kentucky statue.jpg

In 2019, a larger-than-life statue with Ron Turcotte aboard Secretariat, the fastest horse who ever lived, was unveiled in Lexington, Kentucky. The four-meter-high bronze statue depicts Ron Turcotte and thoroughbred Secretariat, racing into history, when they became winners of the prestigious American Triple Crown, in 1973. 

 

The 4,000-pound monument, which took almost a year and a half to accomplish, was created by American artist Jocelyn Russel.

Unfortunately, Ron Turcotte, the legendary jockey, was unable to be present at this symbolic ceremony, but his younger brother Gaetan proudly attended to stand for his hero.

 RON TURCOTTE’S MAJOR RACE WINS
  • Breeders' Stakes (1962)

  • Toronto Autumn Cup (1963)

  • Coronation Futurity Stakes (1963)

  • Canadian International Stakes (1964, 1971)

  • Preakness Stakes (1965, 1973)

  • Kentucky Oaks (1965)

  • Suburban Handicap (1966)

  • Sport Page Handicap (1966)

  • Tremont Stakes (1967)

  • Bernard Baruch Handicap (1967)

  • Jockey Club Gold Cup (1970)

  • Withers Stakes (1970)

  • Beldame Stakes (1970)

  • Hawthorne Gold Cup Handicap (1970, 1979)

  • Diana Handicap (1970, 1971, 1976)

  • Champagne Stakes (1971)

  • Laurel Futurity (1971, 1972)

  • Flash Stakes (1971)

  • Gotham Stakes (1971, 1973)

  • Alabama Stakes (1971)

  • Belmont Futurity Stakes (1971, 1972)

  • Florida Derby (1972)

  • Hopeful Stakes (1972)

  • Sanford Stakes (1972)

  • Belmont Stakes (1972, 1973)

  • Hollywood Derby (1972)

  • Kentucky Derby (1972, 1973)

  • Wood Memorial Stakes (1972)

  • Blue Grass Stakes (1972)

  • Coaching Club American Oaks (1972)

  • Monmouth Oaks (1972)

  • Manhattan Handicap (1972)

  • Travers Stakes (1973)

  • Matron Stakes (1973)

  • Brooklyn Handicap (1973)

  • Excelsior Breeders Cup Handicap (1973)

  • Man O' War Stakes (1973)

  • Santa Anita Handicap (1974)

  • Dwyer Stakes (1974)

  • Man O' War Stakes (1974)

  • Edgemere Handicap (1974, 1976)

  • Queens County Handicap (1975)

  • Cornhusker Handicap (1975)

  • American Derby (1976)

  • Aqueduct Handicap (1976)

  • Arlington-Washington Lassie Stakes (1977)

  • Schuylerville Stakes (1977)

  • Adirondack Stakes (1977)

  • Alcibiades Stakes (1977)

  • Cup and Saucer Stakes (1977)

  • Stars and Stripes Turf Handicap (1978)

Turcotte’s American Classic Races:

  • The Kentucky Derby | 1972, 1973

  • The Preakness Stakes | 1965, 1973

  • The Belmont Stakes | 1972, 1973

  • United States Triple Crown | 1973

Riding Career: 1961-1978

Number of wins: 3,033

A triumphant tale with a tragic twist, reveals he is not only the most distinguished jockey in Canadian history, but one of the most decorated athletes in Canada and one of the greatest jockeys of all time.

Ron Turcotte now lives on his ranch in Drummond near Grand Falls, New Brunswick, Canada, with his wife Gaetane. The Turcotte’s are the proud parents of four daughters and five grandchildren. 

Ron-Turcotte.jpg
Turcotte-2
Turcotte-2

press to zoom
Turcotte et Chenery
Turcotte et Chenery

press to zoom
116
116

press to zoom
Turcotte-2
Turcotte-2

press to zoom
1/18