August 25, 1979
Nick Wall of Kelligrews, Conception Bay, Newfoundland was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame at Toronto, 25 August 1979.
Born at Lower Gully, Kelligrews Conception Bay, Newfoundland18 December, 1906, Wall moved to Glace Bay, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, in 1913. While working in the mines, he learned to ride pit ponies and, during the frequent miners’ strikes, he raced with his fellow workers.
In his mid-twenties, Wall left Atlantic Canada to pursue racing professionally in the U.S.A. His petite, 100-lbs. frame made him a popular choice with trainers, and he was often given choice mounts. Over the course of his career, he rode in all the major American races, including the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes.
At the peak of his career in the late 1930s, Nick Wall was one of the best light-weight jockeys in North America. Between 1926 and 1957, he rode 11,164 mounts, with 1,419 first, 1,305 second, and 1,352 third-place finishes.
The highlight of his career came at the Santa Anita Handicap in 1938. Wall rode Stagehand to a thrilling photo-finish victory over the famed Seabiscuit. That same year, he was leading money-winning jockey in Unite States, earning $385,161.
In total, Wall finished in the money with over 4,000 horses and enjoyed a career purse of nearly $3.5 million. For his success, he was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame at Torontoon 25 August 1979 and into the Newfoundland Sports Hall of Fame, 19 October 1979.
Recommended Archival Collection: At the Rooms, Provincial Archives Division see the Stewart Alexander Davidson fonds. This fonds consists of audio cassette of interviews with members of the Newfoundland and Labrador Hall of Fame including Nicholas M. “Nick” Wall
Recommended Web Site: Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame: www.sportshall.ca/honoured-members/28038/nick-wall/
Recommended Movie: Seabiscuit (2003) Stars: Tobey Maguire, Jeff Bridges and Elizabeth Banks.