all in Legends

Give famous jockeys enough time to ride enough horses, and they’ll inevitably become linked with one particularly memorable champion. Ron Turcotte had Secretariat. Eddie Arcaro had Citation. Earl Sande had Gallant Fox, and more recently, Calvin Borel had Rachel Alexandra.

Barry Irwin, now the head of Team Valor International, was entering his teenage years in Southern California when Swaps burst onto the scene in 1955.

“He just really excited me and caught my imagination,” Irwin recalled.

Irwin was hardly alone. Swaps’ popularity became so enormous that Union 76 gas stations began distributing posters of him. “I kept pushing my father to get gas there so I could get more pictures,” Irwin said.

Best Pal never stormed home to win a Triple Crown race or the Breeders’ Cup Classic, yet the hard-knocking bay gelding won the hearts of thousands of racing fans nationwide, and particularly in his native Southern California.

He was a throwback. The classy California-bred started 47 times, won 17 graded stakes on both dirt and turf, and earned in excess of $5.6 million from age 2 to 7.

Flint S. “Scotty” Schulhofer spent almost all of his 80 years on this earth around horses and racetracks, but in a sense he was much like a fine wine.

Born as the son of a horse owner/riding academy operator, he went to work at the racetrack as a 17-year-old youth. Yet when he approached his 60s – at a time when most men would look to slow down and eye retirement – he enjoyed his greatest run of sustained success and assembled a stable that rivaled any in the sport.

Known for his charisma and colorful quotes, Lazaro Sosa Barrera was considered the Casey Stengel of the racetracks, with a treasure trove of stories and a backstretch philosophy. He recounted them all with his incomparable Spanish accent.

"A lot of people don't understand my English," the Cuban-born trainer once remarked. "If they don't understand me, it doesn't bother me because my horse understands my English very well."

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