Harmatz, William

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HARMATZ, WILLIAM ("Willie ," "Bill "; 1931– ), U.S. jockey, winner of the 1959 Preakness Stakes. Born in Wilkes Barre, Pa., the youngest of nine children and the son of a cattle buyer, Harmatz grew up in California, where he excelled as a gymnast and was a member of the Los Angeles All-City team. After graduating from high school, Harmatz started working at a racetrack, and a career was born. He won 1,770 races between 1953 and 1971, including 12 $100,000 events, and won six consecutive races on April 23, 1954. In 1959 Harmatz won the Preakness aboard Royal Orbit, after finishing fourth at the Kentucky Derby and before finishing third at the Belmont Stakes. He received the Jockey's Guild Meritorious Award in 1957 and the George Woolf Sportsmanship Award in 1960. Harmatz co-founded the Jockey's Association in 1968 and was its executive director from 1972 to 1978.

[Elli Wohlgelernter (2nd ed.)]