Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Profile: Sandy Hawley
2015 marks the Year of Sport and the 60th anniversary of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. In recognition of these important milestones, OLM will be featuring Honoured Members of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in a weekly Profile piece.
Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame aims to share the stories and achievements of its Honoured Members to inspire Canadians in all aspects of life.
Sandy Hawley is one of the greatest race-riders Canada has ever produced. Throughout his career he won more than 6,000 races and was awarded horse racing’s highest honours in both Canada and the United States. The athlete is an ambassador for the sport and an inspiration to upcoming jockeys.
Desmond Sanford “Sandy” Hawley, was born in 1949 and raised in Oshawa, Ontario. He was first drawn to the racetrack in 1966, where he worked hot walking horses after they had raced. Wanting to be closer to the horses, Hawley became a regular rider at Toronto’s Woodbine Racetrack within two years.
The athlete won his first race in 1968 and went on to win three more in his first year. In 1969, he was named North America’s top apprentice jockey, achieving the victory again in 1970, 1972, 1973 and 1976. In 1970, Hawley was the continent’s leading race-winning jockey with 452 wins and in the 1973 season, he became the first rider to ever win 500 races in one year.
Hawley then went on to race in California for a decade where he won various prestigious awards including the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in 1976. It honours riders who demonstrate high standards of personal and professional conduct both on and off the track. The same year he also won the National Thoroughbred Racing Association’s Eclipse Award as North America’s most outstanding jockey.
In his retirement, Hawley has taken on a Public Relations role with Woodbine to continue sharing his passion for horse racing. He hopes his career will help today’s young jockeys understand that although opportunities are always available you cannot fully benefit from them without hard work.
Hawley received the Lou Marsh Trophy in 1973 and 1976 as Canada’s top athlete and was decorated with the Order of Canada. He was inducted into the Canadian Racing Hall of Fame in 1986, the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1992 and Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1998.
To learn more about Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, visit sportshall.ca.