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Home / Neighborhood / San Gabriel Valley / Arcadia Weekly / Hall of Fame Jockey Ismael “Milo” Valenzuela Dies at 74

Hall of Fame Jockey Ismael “Milo” Valenzuela Dies at 74

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Longtime Arcadia Resident was Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes Winner

Horse Racing legend Ismael Valenzuela, better known as Milo through his 30 year career as a jockey, passed away Sept, 2, 2009 from heart and kidney failure. Milo, who is a 2008 National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame inductee and a recipient of the George Woolf Memorial Award, was surrounded by friends and family in his last moments. Milo Valenzuela follows his wife Rosa Delia Valenzuela who died suddenly of kidney failure after taking the controversial drug Rezulin in 1999. Milo was a long time resident of Arcadia.
Milo was born on December 25, 1934 in McNary, Texas and was one of 22 children. He began his career running match races on quarter horses throughout the Southwest. Through his climb to stardom, Milo Valenzuela rode great horses such as Porterhouse, Mister Gus, Mira Femme, and Warfare. However, it was his victory at the Kentucky Derby in 1958 at the tender age of 24, when Milo as a substitute jockey rode Tim Tam to victory winning by half a length. That year he went on to fall just short of a triple crown with Tim Tam by taking 2nd place in the Belmont Stakes after a win at the Preakness Stakes that same year and fete that he would repeat ten years later.
Ismael Valenzuela has won 2,545 races over the course of his career. Milo’s legacy is intertwined with that of popular horse Kelso. Milo rode 5 times Horse of the Year winner, Kelso, for 3 years. Kelso won 38 of his 63 races, 35 of which Milo was in the saddle.
Milo was an active member of the community through his lifetime and worked with many causes such as St. Ritas, Holy Angles, Our Lady of Perpetual Health as well as sponsoring a local youth athletic club.
Career Highlights for the legendary Jockey include 21,203 Mounts of which 2,545 were Wins, 2,494 were Seconds and 2,346 were Third Place finishes. His lifetime winnings in those races were over $20 million.
In 1958, Valenzuela won the Kentucky Derby riding “Tim Tam”, and he also won Preakness Stakes and placed Second in Belmonte.
In 1963, Valenzuela was awarded the George Wolf Memorial Award lifetime achievement award, and in 2008, he was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame.

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