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Darrel McHargue Rode At Keeneland During Hall of Fame Career

May 22, 2020

Blue Grass

Darrel McHargue, a West Coast-based jockey who won six Keeneland stakes, including the 1975 Blue Grass (G1) on eventual Preakness (G1) winner Master Derby, has been chosen for induction this year into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame via the Historic Review Committee.

Anative of Oklahoma City, McHargue won 2,553 races and rode the earners of $39.6 million from 1972-1988. In 1974, he won a career-best 405 races and began a six-year stretch of ranking among the top 10 North American jockeys in earnings. 

He won the 1978 Eclipse Award as North America’s outstanding jockey for a season in which he set a North American record with $6,188,353 in purse earnings, led all riders with 37 stakes wins and finished second nationally with 375 wins. 

McHargue, whose first Keeneland win came during the 1972 Fall Meet, won a total of 23 races at the track. Ten of those wins came during the 1976 Spring Meet.

He scored his first Keeneland stakes victory during the 1975 Spring Meet when he rode Golden Chance Farm’s Master Derby to win the Blue Grass (now the $1 million Toyota Blue Grass-G2). 

Master Derby next won the Preakness and next was third in the Belmont (G1).

Later that same year, McHargue won Keeneland’s Alcibiades (G3) (now the $400,000 Darley Alcibiades-G1) aboard Optimistic Gal.

McHargue twice won the Breeders’ Futurity (G2) (now the $500,000 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity-G1) on Run Dusty Run in 1976 and D’Accord in 1981. His other Keeneland stakes wins were the 1976 Ben Ali (G3) on My Friend Gus and the 1982 Thoroughbred Club of America (now a Grade 2 race) on Excitable Lady.

McHargue, whose successful mounts included Hall of Famer John Henry, has been a steward in California since 1990 and was named the state’s chief steward in 2015.