Ted Atkinson Exhibit at the Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame & Museum

Aiken, S.C. – An exhibit about Ted Atkinson, the only jockey to ever ride Hall of Fame and Aiken trained Tom Fool, is on display at the Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame & Museum May 18 – 30, 2021.

Atkinson, one of eight children, was born in 1916 in Toronto, Canada, and raised in New York City.

Atkinson won his first race at the age of 21 on May 18, 1938, at Beulah Park in Ohio. He won 3,795 races that included victories in the 1949 Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes with Capot. Atkinson’s first major victory took place in the 1941 Narragansett Special when he rode War Relic to an upset victory over Triple Crown winner Whirlaway.

When Ted Atkinson in 1944 became North America’s leading rider in both money earned and races won, he joined a small group of jockeys to have led in both categories during the 20th century. When he repeated the achievement in 1946, Atkinson also became the first rider in history whose mounts earned more than $1 million in a single year.

When Atkinson was elected to the National Racing Hall of Fame in 1957, he was the first active jockey to receive the honor. He retired in 1959 after a 22 year career. He later became a racing official and served as State Steward in Illinois from 1961 until 1976. He was also elected to the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2002.

For more than half his career, Atkinson was the main rider for Greentree and rode stars such as Hall of Famer Tom Fool and Horse of the Year Capot. Capot won the 1949 Preakness and Belmont Stakes. Tom Fool and Capot received their early training at the Aiken Training Track. He also rode other Aiken trained champions;
Devil Diver, Gallorette and Conniver. Atkinson rode in the Aiken Trials from 1949 – 1952.

Other standouts ridden by Atkinson included Coaltown, Nashua, Bold Ruler, Hill Gail, One Hitter, War Relic, Hall of Fame, By Jimminy, and Ace Admiral, among others.

The exhibit is located in the first floor Gallery during regular museum hours. Admission is free. Visitors are required to wear masks and practice social distancing.

The Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame and Museum is located in Hopelands Gardens at 135 Dupree Place (off Whiskey Road) and and celebrates Aiken‘s contributions to equestrian sports. The Racing Hall of Fame is open Tuesday–Friday from 2-5 pm, Saturday from 10 am – 5 pm and Sunday from 2 – 5 pm. For more information, call 803-642-7631, e-mail or visit the Hall of Fame website at

Media Contact:
City of Aiken Parks, Recreation and Tourism
P. O. Box 1177
Aiken, SC 29802
Phone: 803-643-2121