Year Inducted: 2010
Remember the 1960s? How about the ‘70s, the ‘80s and the 90s? Recall the arrival of the new millennium and then the 2010s? What do they all have in common? Roy Brooks was a jockey through them all. An outstanding jockey with the work-ethic of a 20-year-old, Roy Brooks rode and won races, big races, until he was 70.
Brooks had plenty of success in a career that started more as a hobby than as a full-time occupation. Graduating from Blanchard (Okla.) High School in 1959, Brooks originally went to work for the electric company. He began riding races on weekends, picking up his first winner aboard Star Lady Bruce in 1967 at Greer Downs in Mangum, Okla.
Brooks rode around the Oklahoma ‘bush tracks’ for years until leaving the state to ride at La Mesa Park in Raton, N.M., taking a leave of absence from his main job. After a couple of failed attempts to make riding a career, Brooks broke through by winning the Oklahoma Derby in 1971. At that point, he left the electric company behind.
Yet another Quarter Horse racing star from Blanchard, Roy’s riding career was always a family affair. His wife Connie served as his jockey agent for years and when she was not available, his grandson Cameron would take the role. Roy’s son Jimmy is also a well-known Quarter Horse jockey. The family also operates a ranch near Blanchard. An outstanding horseman and tireless worker, Brooks was particularly adept at handling young horses, who seemed to benefit from his years of experience.
Much of Brooks’ early Remington Park success came from the barn of the late Lewis Wartchow, well-known for his talented Paint & Appaloosa runners. When the trainer passed away in 2003, Brooks thought about calling it a career but other talented stables sought the veteran’s services, keeping the wins rolling in as the pages of the calendar continued to turn.
Among the top Remington Park and national wins for Roy Brooks: scores with Pretty Moon Man in the 1985 Fall Oklahoma Futurity at La Mesa Park in New Mexico, Painted First in the 2006 Oklahoma Futurity in its first year at Remington Park, Angel Easter Flash in the 2006 American Paint Classic, Duck Mea Running in the 2008 Bob Moore Memorial and a number of stakes scores aboard the great Paint, Texas Hero in the early 1990s.
Brooks put some finishing touches on his stellar career by winning two consecutive Heritage Place Derbies at Remington Park, aboard Capo De Capi in 2011 and then in 2012 with Priceless Feature, which was his final career mount at Remington Park.
Brooks would annually finish near the top of the Remington Park standings and also at Fair Meadows in Tulsa, where he won multiple riding championships. He concluded a career that spanned six decades in 2012, with the bulk of his success aboard Quarter Horses, winning 1,579 races and accumulating $15,999,750 in earnings. Brooks also posted 257 Paint wins, 194 Appaloosa wins and even had seven Thoroughbred victories. Considering his racing for all breeds, Brooks won 2,037 races with total earnings of $19,433,340.