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Willie Shoemaker

Where Is He Now?

Shoemaker hopes that researchers will discover a way to regenerate damaged spinal chords and is concentrating on being physically prepared for new treatments. He plans to start using a voice-activated computer, which he sees as new way of keeping active and informed. He has also published several novels since his accident, including Dark Horse: A Coley Killebrew Novel, which appeared in 1996.

After spending five and half months in the hospital, Shoemaker returned to training horses while using a wheelchair controlled by a sip-and-puff mechanism. Shoemaker's marriage to Cindy ended three years after the accident and he retired in 1997, having decided that the work took too much time away from his physical therapy. He also serves as director of The Shoemaker Foundation, an organization that was founded to help fund his own medical expenses and which now provides financial assistance to others from the racing industry who are paralyzed. As the honorary chair of the Paralysis Project, Shoemaker uses his legendary status as a jockey to advance spinal chord research. During more than forty years in the saddle, he dazzled his fellow riders, journalists, and sports fans. While his records have been surpassed in part, his importance to thoroughbred racing is still heralded. His exceptional understanding of horses, rare modesty, and mental stamina will be far more difficult to match.

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Famous Sports StarsHorse RacingWillie Shoemaker - Early Challenges, Exceptional Talents, Chronology, Related Biography: Jockey Eddie Arcaro, Setting Records - CONTACT INFORMATION