"Gentleman John" & The Triple Crown

Warrensburg - As mild mannered as his horse he is nicknamed "Gentleman John".

John Rotz is retired and living on a Warrensburg farm not far from Decatur.  What people don't realize is John is a Hall of Fame jockey.  He won 2,907 races in a career that spanned 1953 to 1983.  And, he won two legs of the Triple Crown.

"Won the Preakness in 1962 and the Belmont in 1970," Rotz told WAND News.  "And I rode the Kentucky Derby six times and never won it."

Winning the '62 Preakness is one of John's favorites in his Hall of Fame career.  "The Preakness was my first classic.  It was a great race.  It's often talked about as one of the best finishes in any Triple Crown race ever," he stated.

Rotz was among the best.  During his career he won more stakes races than any other jockey in American horse racing.  And he rubbed shoulders with the best in the business.

"Willie Shoemaker, and Eddie Acaro.  There's another one in there that was pretty good too, called Bill Hartack.  So, I got to ride with those guys and knew them well and it was a lot of fun," he said.

John Rotz retired in 1983 and is 79 years old.  (Pictured: John Rotz (right) battles it out to the finish line in the 1962 Preakness.)

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