It must have been shocking for people to go to congratulate the winning jockey and discover him dead. Frank Hayes, the jockey that day, wasn’t technically a trained jockey. Rather, he was a stable hand, certainly highly knowledgeable about horse and horse racing, but definitely not a professional.
Hayes convinced the owner to let him ride and compete with the horse, who was named Sweet Kiss. The pair, Hayes and Sweet Kiss, were given very low odds: 20-1. With odds like that, people would have thought it not only improbably, but perhaps even impossible that the two would win. The two were competing at Belmont Park in 1923, and certainly racing against fairly experienced jockeys.
They would have made history just winning. They became a shocking story when the man became the only jockey to win a race dead. Hayes had suffered a heart attack while racing, but he was so strapped in that he remained upright, and people didn’t realize that he was dead.
Sweet Kiss was never raced again because of superstition, and the horse got the nickname of Sweet Kiss of Death.