Born in Red Deer, Alberta, Macbeth rode horses at Alberta racetracks before going to race in the United States. Among horses of note, he rode Deputy Minister, winner of the 1981 Sovereign and Eclipse awards for Outstanding Two-Year-Old Male Horse in Canada and the United States. In Japan, MacBeth rode Half Iced to victory in the 1982 Japan Cup and Chief's Crown to an impressive win in the 1984 Breeders' Cup Juvenile, the 1985 Blue Grass Stakes, and the 1985 Marlboro Cup. He also won the prestigious Washington, D.C. International in 1985 aboard Vanlandingham for trainer Shug McGaughey.
Don MacBeth was the leading jockey at Monmouth Park for three years running between 1978 and 1980. He won 2,764 races before cancer ended his racing career. For his significant contribution to the sport of horse racing, Don MacBeth received the Avelino Gomez Memorial Award and the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award.
A resident of Reddick, Florida at the time of his passing in 1987, the following year Don MacBeth was inducted posthumously into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.
MacBeth Memorial Jockey Fund
After doing a show at a racetrack near Minneapolis, Minnesota, devoted fan and sometime racehorse owner, comedic actor Tim Conway had wanted to donate his fee to help former jockeys experiencing hard times but learned that no such fund existed. In cooperation with Don MacBeth's widow, Conway became a Co-Founder, Vice President, and member of the Board of Directors of the Don MacBeth Memorial Jockey Fund to assist injured and disabled riders. As of March 2007, the Fund has assisted more than 1,800 riders.