Turcotte began his career in Toronto as a hot walker for E. P. Taylor's Windfields Farm in 1959, but he was soon wearing the silks and winning races. As an apprentice jockey he rode Windfields' great Northern Dancer to his first victory. He gained prominence with his victory aboard Tom Rolfe in the 1965 Preakness Stakes. Turcotte soon found himself working with Canadian trainer Lucien Laurin at the racetrack in Laurel, Maryland. In 1972 he rode Riva Ridge to victory in the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes.
Ron Turcotte became internationally famous in 1973 when he rode Secretariat to the first Triple Crown in 25 years. He was North America's leading stakes-winning jockey in 1972 and 1973. He became the first jockey to win back-to-back Kentucky Derbys since Jimmy Winkfield in 1902 and is the only jockey to ever have won five of the six consecutive Triple Crown races.
He was voted the prestigious George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award that honors a rider whose career and personal conduct exemplifies the very best example of participants in the sport of thoroughbred racing. He is the first person from Thoroughbred racing ever to be appointed a member of the Order of Canada.
Turcotte's career ended in 1978 following a tumble from his horse (named Flag of Leyte Gulf) during a race at Belmont Park that left him a paraplegic. He was immediately inducted in the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1979. He was voted into the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame and in 1980 was inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame.
Ron Turcotte's Riding Career from 1961-78:
Media Advisory: Triple Crown Winning Jockey, Owner to Present Mda's Touch of Class Award during 40th Anniversary Celebration of Secretariat's Triple Crown
May 09, 2013; ANNAPOLIS, MD -- The following information was released by the Maryland Department of Agriculture: Secretariat's Triple Crown...