Frank Hayes must have been excited as he climbed into the saddle on 04 June 1923. While the 35-year-old horse trainer and stableman had plenty of experience riding horses, this was only Frank’s second race as a jockey. He had worked hard to drop 12 pounds in just a few days to race Sweet Kiss, a bay mare owned by Miss A. M. Frayling, in a steeplechase at Belmont Park. The two-mile race was a nail-biter. Sweet Kiss and the odds-on favorite, Gimme, stayed within two horse lengths of each other for the entire course. At one point, Sweet Kiss swerved and nearly collided with Gimme, but she quickly recovered and crossed the finish line a length and a half ahead, Frank leaning closely over her neck.
Frank had won his very first race, and Miss Frayling rushed from the stands to congratulate him. But as she approached, Frank, who at first seemed to be reaching down to adjust his stirrup, toppled off the back of the horse and landed in a crumpled heap. The track’s official physician, Dr. Vorhees, quickly examined the man and pronounced him dead. It was later determined that Frank had probably died during the race, of a massive heart attack. His body had slumped over the horse’s neck and somehow stayed in the saddle. Sweet Kiss never raced again, but the Jockey Club decided that since Frank had finished the race on her back, he was the official winner of the steeplechase, making him the only jockey to ever win a race after death.