Legend – Jockey
He was known as the “King of the Half-Milers” when he dominated racing at Dufferin Park in the 1920s and ’30s. Dude Foden, who was born in Toronto’s east-end in 1889, was one of the top jockeys at any track, but especially those with the sharp, right turns. Fans loved to wager on him at Dufferin and Long Branch. During a career, which began in 1907 and ended in 1944, Foden rode more than 1,000 winners in Canada, the U.S., and Mexico. He won with his first ever mount.
His most momentous win, in many respects, came at Woodbine in 1930 in the Coronation Futurity when he scored with Rare Jewel, a filly that had never won a race. She paid $214.40 and enabled her owner, Conn Smythe, to acquire a player from the Ottawa Senators for his Toronto Maple Leaf hockey team – King Clancy. Smythe bet heavily at the track and with the bookies after Foden tipped him off that the Rare Jewel was training well. It was Smythe’s first win as an owner.
Throughout his career Foden won numerous stakes, including the Autumn and Grey. the race that eluded him was the King’s Plate. Twice he was third in 11 tries between 1911 and 1940. Shortly before retiring at age 55, The Globe and Mail reported, “The Mighty Midget, Norman Foden, whose four victories at Dufferin Park last Saturday combined with 50 winning efforts this season, serves as notice that, on the half-milers or mile ovals, he still can do plenty of plain and fancy riding in a winning way.”