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An American Jockey

An American Jockey
James Forman "Tod" Sloan
Godfrey Douglas Giles, 1857 - 1941
James Forman "Tod" Sloan, 10 Aug 1874 - 21 Dec 1933
Chromolithograph on paper
Image/Sheet: 25.9 × 38.4 cm (10 3/16 × 15 1/8")
Estimated B size mat, horizontal
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; funded in memory of Terry Fortune by his family
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Exhibition Label
Born Bunker Hill, Indiana
After escaping a childhood of desperate poverty, Tod Sloan went on to become America’s first international sports superstar. He spent his teenage years perfecting the trademark “monkey crouch” technique shown in this portrait, riding high up in the saddle near the horse’s neck. He appears to have won—literally—by a nose. Sloan capped a red-hot winning streak in the United States by sailing to England in 1897. There, he became the Prince of Wales’s principal rider.Resentment of Sloan’s brash “American” personality and flashy lifestyle grew along with his fame. In 1901, the British Jockey Club refused to grant him a license for unspecified “conduct prejudicial to the best interests of the sport.” Sloan’s story inspired George M. Cohan’s musical Little Johnny Jones (1904), featuring the patriotic songs “(I’m a) Yankee Doodle Dandy” and “Give My Regards to Broadway.” His name also inspired the British expression “on your tod,” meaning “on your own.”
Nacido en Bunker Hill, Indiana
Superando una infancia de extrema pobreza, Tod Sloan se convirtió en la primera superestrella estadounidense del deporte a nivel internacional. Durante su adolescencia perfeccionó su distintiva técnica ecuestre del monkey crouch mostrada en este retrato, donde monta con estribos cortos, inclinado sobre el cuello del caballo; parece haber ganado, literalmente, por una nariz. Sloan culminó una espectacular racha de triunfos en Estados Unidos trasladándose en 1897 a Inglaterra para ser jinete principal del príncipe de Gales. Junto con su fama creció el resentimiento de la gente por su brusquedad “americana” y su estilo de vida ostentoso. En 1901, el British Jockey Club se negó a renovarle su licencia, alegando, sin precisar, una “conducta perjudicial a los mejores intereses del deporte”. La historia de Sloan inspiró a George M. Cohan el musical Little Johnny Jones (1904), que contenía las canciones patrióticas “(I’m a) Yankee Doodle Dandy” y “Give My Regards to Broadway”.Su nombre también inspiró la expresión británica “on your tod”, en el sentido de “por tu cuenta, sin ayuda”.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
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National Portrait Gallery Collection
United Kingdom\England