Born in Frenchtown, New Jersey, he went by his middle name, Linus, but was nicknamed "Pony" by friends and would be called that by some in the press. While still an apprentice, he rode for Commander J. K. L. Ross in Canada then was aboard his colt Damrosch for the win in the 1916 Preakness Stakes.
Called one of the best riders of his era by the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, McAtee developed into a superior tactician who won two Kentucky Derbys and who was the United States Champion Jockey in money earned for 1928. After retiring from racing in 1932, a comeback attempt three years later ended after he suffered a serious foot injury. In 1956, he was inducted in the United States' Racing Hall of Fame. Atee died on November 15, 1963.
- Kentucky Derby charts for Linus McAtee
- J. Linus McAtee at the United States' National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame