Oct 28, 2016

What's in a Name, Frank Hayes

Frank Hayes was a horse trainer and jockey during the early 1900s. In 1923, at the age of 35, Hayes had an opportunity to compete in a steeplechase in Belmont Park, New York. He had never won a race before that. The horse that he was going to race was named Sweet Kiss, a 20-1 underdog.

In spite of the long odds of winning, and despite the fact that Hayes had little experience as a jockey since he was a horse trainer by profession, Hayes and Sweet Kiss ended up victorious.


The owner of the horse, elated with the win, approached Hayes afterward only to find out that Hayes was dead. It appeared at some point during the middle of the race, Hayes suffered a heart attack and died. Sweet Kiss somehow managed to hop the final fence and cross the finish line ahead of everyone while carrying literal dead weight.

The track physician speculated that his death may have been caused by a pre-existing heart disease. Hayes is in the Guinness Book of Records as the first, and so far the only, deceased jockey to win a race.