George Edward Arcaro, America's Cyrano on horseback, has ridden horses which have won more than $21 million. Born in Cincinnati on February 19, 1916, he was transplanted 11 years after birth, together with his two sisters, to Southgate, Kentucky. Leaving high school after one year, Arcaro exercised horses for $15 a week at nearby Latonia Racetrack. He got his first winner (Eagle Bird at Caliente), after losing on over 100 mounts, when he was a 15-year-old apprentice in 1932. He later rode for Clarence Davison. The next year he was the leading rider at New Orleans with 43 winners, but he fell from Gun Fire at Washington Park and injured two ribs. During the 1934 season he was repeatedly suspended for rough riding by the Ohio Racing Commission. At the end of the year his contract was bought by Calumet Farm for $6,000, and Arcaro's salary increased from $50 to $350 a month. With Calumet he got his first consistent stakes winner, Nellie Flag, and he rode her to a fourth-place finish in the 1935 Kentucky Derby, his first of 18 Derby rides. The New York Turf Writers named him Jockey of the Year in 1937. In 1941 he rode his first of two Triple Crown winners, Whirlaway. The next year Arcaro had his choice of riding Devil Diver or Shut Out for Green-tree Stable and picked the Diver, only to see Shut Out and Jockey Wayne Wright win. On September 28, 1942 his jockey's license was revoked for trying to pitch opposing Jockey Vincent Nordase into the Aqueduct infield during the running of the Cowdin Stakes. This kept Arcaro on the ground until September 19, 1943. In 1948 he won his second Triple Crown with Citation and gave half his own earnings to the widow of Jockey Albert Snider, Citation's regular rider, who was drowned on a fishing trip. Arcaro won his fifth Derby in 1952 with Calumet's Hill Gail, and the following winter won four $100,000 races at Santa Anita in five weeks. Today he lives in his tastefully furnished nine-room home in Rockville Centre, on New York's Long Island, together with his wife (the former Ruth Mishkell) and their two children, Carolyn, 15, and Bobby, 13 (see picture above). He plays golf and the bongo drums, has considerable oil holdings, is a hungry reader and says, "I'll continue riding as long as I can keep winning."
Table of Contents
June 17, 1957
DECISION IN DETROIT, THE HIGH-OCTANE ATHLETE, A ZESTFUL JUNE FOR PHILADELPHIA, WHERE THERE'S WILLIE THERE'S A WAY, WANTED: FOOTBALL, COXSWAIN WITH CURLS