2010 Hall of Fame Inductee
Robert Strauss, born April 23, 1933, in Church Point, Louisiana, is of African and French Jewish descent. He is a fourth generation horseman whose horse racing family roots date back to the early 1860's near Lafayette Parish, Louisiana. He is the tenth child of eleven children born from the union of Gabriel and Julia Mouton Strauss (seven boys and four girls). All the boys rode or trained horses to race. As a child growing up in the rural countryside living on a farm around Rayne Louisiana, Robert was always surrounded by animals as a means of survival.
Robert’s professional jockey career actually began by mistake in 1941 at the tender age of eight. Local horseman, owner/trainer Eli House Fox from nearby Duson, Louisiana, had come looking for Robert's brother Richard to ride in a match race, but Richard was in another town riding for another horseman. Robert broke his leg at the age of eight riding a horse named Sonny Jim in 1941. This was the first of many injuries in a long professional jockey career. After riding many match races between 1941 and 1945, Robert became a licensed professional jockey in 1945 at the age of twelve having lied about his age, (claiming to be sixteen years old). During his early professional career he would catch a train to Richmond, Texas, on Saturday to ride in match races on Sunday evenings and then catch the train back to Rayne, Louisiana, to go to school on Monday.
The lives of Robert Strauss and Go Man Go, the horse, began to intertwine in 1955. That is the year that Robert and his brother Elridge began breaking in the horse that already had a mean reputation. Robert Strauss, recalled later that Go Man Go "was ornery from the day I met him, but he was the greatest horse I ever rode". Go Man Go appeared to take naturally to racing; during his training he ran off with his rider, his eventual jockey, Robert Strauss before he was supposed to run. As Strauss said, "When we were breaking him, he ran off with me before we ever wanted him to run. I mean, just flat ran off with me." Once the respect and confidence was gained by rider and horse, Robert went on to ride Go Man Go twenty-three of forty-seven times before the horse went to stud. Robert Strauss rode Go Man Go, seven times to the winning circle, the most of any rider. Robert was the jockey up on Go Man Go for the world quarter horse championship 1955-1957. The Go Man Go Bronze; a limited edition bronze statue sculpted by Dr. S. T. Coleman became the trophy awarded to the winner of the annual Los Alamitos Race Course "Go Man Go Futurity". Strauss rode World Champion Racing American Quarter Horses: Johnny Dial (1952); Diamond Mae (1954); Go Man Go (1955-1957).
Robert Strauss was married to Rozera Adams Strauss who passed away December 1, 2012. Robert now resides in Omaha, Nebraska. Everyone who is knowledgeable about quarter horse racing history knows of Go Man Go the horse, but few know of the jockey, Robert Strauss, who without the courage, strength and understanding of this horse could ride him into quarter horse racing history. A true legend, Robert Strauss, jockey up!
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