Basil James

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Basil James
Occupation Jockey
Born (1920-05-18)May 18, 1920
Loveland, Colorado
Died April 10, 1998(1998-04-10) (aged 77)
Career wins 1,527
Major racing wins
Arlington Handicap (1936)
San Pasqual Handicap (1937)
California Breeders' Champion Stakes (1939)
San Antonio Handicap (1939)
Brooklyn Handicap (1939)
Jockey Club Gold Cup (1939, 1941)
Blue Grass Stakes (1939)
Ladies Handicap (1939)
Gazelle Handicap (1939, 1940)
Saranac Handicap (1939, 1940)
Santa Maria Handicap (1939)
San Vicente Stakes (1940)
Youthful Stakes (1940, 1946, 1949)
San Felipe Stakes (1941)
Carter Handicap (1941)
Ashland Stakes (1941)
Preakness Stakes (1942)
Withers Stakes (1942)
Suburban Handicap (1942)
Hollywood Gold Cup (1946)
Jamaica Handicap (1946)
Manhattan Handicap (1946)
Discovery Handicap (1946)
New York Handicap (1946)
Whitney Stakes (1946)
Metropolitan Handicap (1947)
Toboggan Handicap (1947)
Lamplighter Handicap (1949)
Dixie Stakes (1955)
Racing awards
United States Champion Jockey by wins (1936)
United States Champion Jockey by earnings (1939)
Washington State Sports Hall of Fame (1967)
Washington Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame (2005)
Significant horses
Indian Broom, Cravat, Gallahadion, Fairy Chant
Parasang, Alsab, Market Wise, Stymie

Basil B. James (May 18, 1920 – April 10, 1998) was an American jockey.


Born in Loveland, Colorado, Basil James became a jockey in California while in his teens and in 1936 at age sixteen he led all U.S. jockeys with 245 wins. After a successful 1937, in January 1938 he was suspended for ninety days after "grabbing Herb Litzenberger during the running of the seventh race" at Santa Anita Park. Once he served his suspension, James continued winning and in 1939 was the United States Champion Jockey by earnings.

Basil James' most famous horse was the Hall of Fame colt Alsab who was voted U. S. 2-Year-Old and 3-Year Old Champion male horse. Aboard Alsab he won the 1942 Preakness Stakes but his career was interrupted later that year as a result of his World War II service with the United States Army. When he returned to racing in 1946, Basil James continued to win major stakes races on the New York State circuit. He retired from riding in 1956 but came back again in 1959 then in 1963 joined the staff at Longacres Racetrack near Seattle, Washington where he worked for the next thirty years.

Suffering from Alzheimer's disease, Basil James was living in a nursing home in Des Moines, Washington when he died in 1998.