Ten Things You Should Know: Shoemaker Mile
By Kevin Martin, Hello Race Fans Contributing Editor
Originally published on June 28, 2012
1) The Shoemaker Mile is a race for 3-year-olds and up run at one mile over the turf course at Santa Anita Park.
2) Run for the first time in 1938, its original name, the Premier Handicap, was an homage to the Hollywood film industry. The name of the race was changed in 1991 to honor Hall of Fame Jockey Willie Shoemaker who won the Premier six times over five decades. The race was run at Hollywood Park until 2013 when the track closed.
3) Up until 1984, the race was run over the dirt and, for most of its history, it was a sprint race at 6-furlongs. It has been a one-mile turf race since 1988.
4) The Shoemaker was a graded stakes in 1973 and 1974 but was not graded from 1975 to 1986. It has been run under a graded condition since 1987 and has been a Grade 1 since 2007. This year’s edition is part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series, the winner will qualify for the Breeders’ Cup Mile in November.
5) Silic is the only winner of the Shoemaker Mile to win the Breeders’ Cup Mile. He won both in 1999. Silic also won his second Shoemaker the following year. Singletary (2004) and Steinlen (1989) finished second in the Shoemaker in the same year they won the BC Mile. In 2016 Obviously (2013, 2014) became the first winner to win the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.
6) Kissin’ George won the 1968 edition of the race, when it was 6-furlong dirt race. He was considered one of the top sprinters in the country and is listed as one of the top horses trained by Hall of Famer “Buster” Millerick.
7) The fast son of Nasrullah aptly named Fleet Nasrullah won back-to-back editions of the race in 1959 and 1960. He went on to sire 147 stakes winners while standing at stud in California and Kentucky.
8) The race holds the rare distinction of having three official winners in the same year. A large number of entries in 1985 split the race into two races or divisions. On opening day of the Hollywood spring meet in 1985, Native Charmer won one division of the Shoemaker and two horses, Retsina Run and Capture Him, ended in a dead-heat in the other.
9) The 1985 edition that had three official winners also had the 1982 Kentucky Derby winner, Gato Del Sol, finish second. He finished a length behind Native Charmer.
10) The Tin Man, son of Triple Crown winner Affirmed, won the 2007 edition of the Shoemaker Mile. The win made him the first 9-year-old to win a Grade 1 race since 2000. It was the last win of the popular gelding’s long career.