Hall of Fame jockey Don Brumfield has been named as a steward for the upcoming Gulfstream Park meet, the track announced Oct. 21.
Brumfield, whose 36-year riding career included victories on Kaui King in the 1966 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness (gr. I), will join Bernie Hettel as an association steward, with Kevin Scheen expected to return as the state steward.
“The presence of a Hall of Fame jockey with the standing that Don Brumfield enjoys in the industry furthers Gulfstream Park’s reputation for integrity,” Gulfstream Park president and general manager Bill Murphy said in a track news release.
The 2009 meeting gets underway Jan. 3, 70 years after the original Gulfstream Park’s opening.
Brumfield became a steward shortly after his retirement, taking his first job as a judge at Hialeah in 1989. He subsequently served in the stands at River Downs, Sam Houston and the Fair Grounds.
A native of Nicholasville, Ky., Brumfield primarily rode the Kentucky circuit although his first victory came Aug. 2, 1954 – as a 16-year-old – at New Jersey’s Monmouth Park. The horse, named Profizano, was trained by his father, Edgar. Brumfield rode in 33,222 races, winning 4,572, also winning the 1966 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) aboard Native Street, and the 1968 Florida Derby aboard Forward Pass.
His Oaks-Derby same-year double, a feat accomplished only six times over the 134-year history of the two races, gave birth to one of racing’s most memorable lines. Shortly after dismounting from Kauai King, the self-effacing rider proclaimed: “I’m the happiest hillbilly hardboot in the world.”
Brumfield’s other top mounts were Alysheba, Our Mims, Gold Beauty, Old Hat, Annihilate ‘Em, Bring Out the Band, Northernette and Just a Game. As a 50-year-old, he took the Shadwell Turf Mile aboard Niccolo Polo in 1988. His mounts had earned $43.55 million when he retired the next year.
He won 16 riding titles at Churchill Downs and 12 at Keeneland. At the time of his retirement he had won a then-record 925 races at Churchill Downs.
In addition to his 1996 induction into racing’s Hall of Fame, Mr. Brumfield was inducted into the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame in 1997 and was honored for his ability and character in 1988 when he was named recipient of the George Woolf Memorial Award.