George Woolf

George Woolf

Horseracing Personality
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George Woolf

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George Monroe Woolf (May 31, 1910 – January 4, 1946), nicknamed "The Ice Man", was a Canadian-born thoroughbred race horse jockey and the namesake of the annual jockey's award given by the United States Jockeys' Guild.

Born on a ranch in Cardston, Alberta, his mother had been a trick rider in a circus and his father rode in rodeos. As such, Woolf was taught to ride horses as a child and as a teenager he rode in horse races and competed in rodeo events in Alberta and Montana. He began racing thoroughbreds professionally in 1928 in Vancouver, British Columbia before going to Tijuana, Mexico and then to Arcadia, California where he would make his permanent home.

Using Santa Anita Park as his home base, George Woolf became one of the premier jockeys of his era known by fellow jockeys and fans as "The Iceman." This nickname was earned by virtue of his renowned patience in waiting for the right time to have his horse make a move in addition to his totally calm attitude even before major races when he would often take a nap while other jockeys nervously paced about.

While he was establishing himself as one of America's leading jockeys, he was diagnosed with what is now known as type 1 diabetes. Only a few years earlier, before the discovery of insulin, such a diagnosis would have been a death sentence. Because of his condition, and the nature of diabetes management in the 1930s and 1940s, Woolf had to regulate his weight so as never to be in a position where he...
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