John "Johnny" Sellers

John Johnny Sellers

Riding Career:
1953 - 1977
Birth Date:
Death Date:
Hall of Fame:
Career Mounts:
Career Wins:
2,797 (15.0%)

Significant Mounts
Carry Back, Cool Reception, Hail To All, T. V. Lark

Major Race Wins
Washington Park Handicap (1958, 1960)
Canadian International Stakes (1958)
American Derby (1960)
United Nations Handicap (1960)
Arlington Classic (1960)
Remsen Stakes (1960)
Florida Derby (1961)
Kentucky Derby (1961)
Preakness Stakes (1961)
Stars and Stripes Handicap (1961)
Jerome Handicap (1961)
Whitney Handicap (1962)
Saratoga Special Stakes (1962)
Carter Handicap (1962)
Alabama Stakes (1962)
Test Stakes (1962)
Monmouth Oaks (1962)
Diana Handicap (1963)
Adirondack Stakes (1963)
Excelsior Breeders’ Cup Handicap (1964)
Travers Stakes (1965)
Belmont Stakes (1965)
Suburban Handicap (1965)
Brooklyn Handicap (1965)
Ladies Handicap (1965)
Hollywood Derby (1967)
Blue Grass Stakes (1967)
Kentucky Oaks (1967)
San Pasqual Handicap (1968)
San Luis Obispo Handicap (1968, 1971)
San Gorgonio Handicap (1968)
Frank E. Kilroe Mile (1968, 1971)
San Juan Capistrano Handicap (1969)
Highlander Handicap (1969)
Woodbine Oaks Stakes (1969)
Del Mar Handicap (1970)
Strub Stakes (1971, 1973)
San Felipe Stakes (1972)
Del Mar Oaks (1972)
El Encino Stakes (1972)

Awards / Honors
United States Champion Jockey by Wins (1961)
George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award (1969)
United States' Racing Hall of Fame (2007)

Johnny Sellers was an American Thoroughbred jockey. Born in Los Angeles, but raised in Oklahoma, he began his professional career in 1955 and between 1959 and 1968 rode in six Kentucky Derbys. He won the prestigious race aboard Carry Back in 1961 then riding the colt to victory in the Preakness Stakes. That same year, he won eight straight races, equaling an American record set in 1951, and ended the year as the United States Champion Jockey by wins. He made the August 28, 1961 cover of Sports Illustrated magazine.

In 1958, Sellers rode Jack Ketch to victory in the Canadian International Stakes and in 1965 he won the Belmont Stakes aboard Hail To All. In 1969 he was voted the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award.

Retired in 1997, Sellers lives in Hallandale, Florida, two blocks from Gulfstream Park racetrack. He remained involved in the racing industry as a bloodstock agent. In 1999, he was in the news after recovering his Kentucky Derby trophy. Stolen from his Monrovia, California home in 1978, twenty-one years later a friend notified him that the engraved sterling silver trophy was being offered for sale on eBay.

In 2007, Johnny Sellers was elected to the United States' Racing Hall of Fame.

Sellers had two sons, Mark Sellers and John Michael Sellers, both of whom had careers as jockeys.

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