Sandy was born in Oshawa and received secondary school education at Anderson Collegiate while residing in Whitby.
In 1966 he started working at a racetrack and he subsequently began his riding career in 1968, winning four of his 38 starts. His knowledge of riding resulted from the tutelage of Duke Campbell whom Sandy credits today as one of his greatest sporting influences.
The following are some of Sandy's greatest achievements in thoroughbred horse racing:
- Was North America's Top Apprentice in 1969 and led all North American jockeys in victories for the years 1970, 1972, 1973, and 1976
- Became the first rider to ever win 500 races in one year in 1973, closing with 515 - also earned the Lou Marsh Award as Canada's outstanding athlete in 1973
- Left Woodbine to try the Southern California circuit in the winter months of 1972-73. Thrived in California, winning thousands of races as well as the prestigious George Woolf Award, an Eclipse Award as North America's top jockey, and a second Lou Marsh Award.
- Received an honour which transcends sports by receiving the Order of Canada in 1976 for outstanding accomplishments by a Canadian citizen.
- Captured the first Sovereign Award as Canada's most outstanding jockey and then made the permanent move to California in the fall of 1978. Scored 5000th win of career aboard Mighty Massa on June 27th, 1986 at Canterbury Downs.
- Inducted in Canada's Horse Racing Hall of Fame and awarded Woodbine's Avelino Gomez Award in 1986.
- Returned to Woodbine in 1988 and picked up where he left off, earning his second Sovereign Award as Canada’s outstanding jockey.
- Earned induction into the National Museum of Thoroughbred Racing's Hall of Fame in 1992.
- Won 6000th race aboard Summer Commander on November 26th, 1992 at Greenwood.
- Tied for most wins among jockeys in the Queens Plate with four.
- Holds the mark for most wins among jockeys in the Canadian Oaks with eight.
- Captured 18 Woodbine riding titles, 13 Fort Erie Meets, nine Greenwood Championships, nine Ontario titles and eight Canadian Honours.
- Has four North American titles (1970, 1972, 1973 and 1976).
His final ride was on Terremoto, in the Grade III Dominion Day Stakes at Woodbine on July 1st, 1998 where he finished third.
His lifetime records are: Years of Racing: 31 (1968-98); Mounts: 31,455; Wins: 6,449; Seconds: 4,825; Thirds: 4,159; Earnings: $88,681,292 (Purse Winnings)
Sandy was also an off-ice official in the penalty box at Los Angeles Kings games for several years.