Legendary horse racing cartoonist Pierre “Peb” Bellocq has been honored with The Jockey Club Medal for exceptional contributions to the Thoroughbred breeding and racing industry.
Bellocq, an 89-year-old resident of Princeton, New Jersey, has chronicled horse racing through sketches, caricatures, and cartoons for more than half a century in the United States and his native France.
He was presented with the medal by Jockey Club chairman Stuart S. Janney III in Saratoga Springs, New York, at the weekend, a dinner hosted by The Jockey Club.
“Peb’s artwork has been revered in the horse racing industry for more than 50 years,” Janney said. “He has brought color and humor to our sport through his ingenious cartoons, and we are pleased to honor him for his dedication.”
In addition to his sketches in the Daily Racing Form, and more recently in Thoroughbred Daily News, Bellocq has painted murals at several racetracks. He received an Eclipse Award for Outstanding Contributions to Racing in 1980.
By 1954, Bellocq’s work had achieved international recognition and he was contracted by Laurel Park owner John D. Schapiro to do drawings for the inaugural running of the Washington, D.C. International Stakes. He settled in the United States and in early 1955 accepted an offer to work as the staff cartoonist for the Morning Telegraph newspaper and its sister paper, the Daily Racing Form, a job he held until December 2008.
Pierre Bellocq has produced several books; his first consisted of 150 cartoons and was titled Peb’s Equine Comedy. It was published by Random House in 1957 and is still in print. As well, he did the illustrations for the 1969 Joe Hirsch book A Treasury of Questions and Answers from the Morning Telegraph and Daily Racing Form. In 2004, he created drawings for author Ed Hotaling’s book on jockey Jimmy Winkfield whom Bellocq had known personally when the African-American rider was living and racing in his hometown of Maisons-Laffitte, France.
He received the National Cartoonists Society 1991 Sports Cartoon Award and their 1999 Newspaper Illustration Award. In 1998, the Daniel Wildenstein Art Gallery in New York held an exhibition of Bellocq’s work titled “The Racing World in Sketch and Caricature.” From July 24, 2004 until December 31, 2005, the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame put on a special exhibition of his works titled “Peb: The Art of Humor” that celebrated his 50th anniversary of horse racing artwork in the United States.
In 2001, when Churchill Downs began its major renovations, one of the additions to the clubhouse was a 36-foot mural by Bellocq depicting all 96 jockeys who had won the Kentucky Derby from 1875 to 2004. Another Bellocq mural, in the clubhouse of Belmont Park in Elmont, New York, depicts the dominant jockeys, trainers and racing personalities of the track’s century-long history.
Previous recipients of The Jockey Club Medal are Daniel G. Van Clief Jr. (1984), Jean Romanet (1985), Richard L. Duchossois (1986), Jack Van Berg (1987), Dennis Swanson (1988), Joe Hirsch (1989), Dr. Charles Randall (1990), Dr. Manuel A. Gilman (1991), R. Richards Rolapp (1992), Kenneth Noe Jr. (1993), Dr. Larry Bramlage (1994), Alan Marzelli (1998), Nick Nicholson (1998), Hans J. Stahl (2003), Louis Romanet (2007), Tom Durkin (2014), and Ogden Mills Phipps (2015).