Inducted November 2, 1979
“Nick” Wall who was regarded as the top lightweight International jockey of his time was born in Lower Gully, Kelligrews, Conception Bay, December 18, 1906. Nick, along with his father, a widower, and his brothers and sisters emigrated to Cape Breton when Nick was nine. Wall spent a few years at Glace Bay then with his family moved on to Montreal. There, in order to help out the family he got a job driving a butcher’s wagon. His dexterity in handling a horse came to the attention of Ollie Tugwell who raced thoroughbreds on the Mount Royal track. Young Nick Wall became an apprentice jockey. His racing career began with his doing the most menial tasks around the stable. Ultimately he became a practice boy and still later a full-fledged jockey. He learned his craft well and in time became one of the finest riders on Canadian and American tracks. Throughout his riding career which was to span the thirty years between 1926 and 1957 Wall rode 11,164 mounts of which 1,419 were first place victories, 1305 seconds and 1352 thirds. In 1938 he was the leading jockey in the United States with purse winnings in excess of three and one half millions of dollars, an extraordinary monetary realization for that time. Nick Wall rode in all the major American track classics, the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes. His most outstanding accomplishment, as a jockey, came in 1938 when in the Santa Anita Handicap run that year, and with Stagehand as his mount he defeated the famous Seabiscuit in a photo-finish. Three years later aboard Bay View, and splashing through a sea of mud, he conquered Mouland to emerge a two-time winner of the world’s richest racing stakes. Nick Wall, a modest and unassuming little fellow, was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in a special ceremony held at Toronto in August of this year. He thus automatically becomes a member of Newfoundland’s Sports Hall of Fame.