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Fred Burlew

Fred Burlew
Induction Year: 
March 20, 1871, Cincinnati, Ohio
May 3, 1927, New York City
Career Years: 
Number of Winners: 

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Trainer of the legendary filly Beldame and Kentucky Derby winner Morvich, Fred Burlew began as a stable boy at the age of 11 in St. Louis, rode a few races, and at 18 was given Dan Hoenig’s stable of 50 horses to train. Burlew saddled his first stakes winner in 1894, winning the Tremont Stakes with the colt Gotham.


Training for Newton Bennington, Burlew received Beldame in the fall of her 2-year-old season in 1903. The following year, Beldame beat the best fillies in the Alabama, Gazelle, and Ladies’ Handicap, as well as the top colts and handicappers in the Saratoga Cup, Carter, and First and Second Specials. Her overall record as a 3-year-old was 12-1-1 from 14 starts, including six wins against males. As a 4-year-old in 1905, Beldame added a victory in the Suburban Handicap.


Other top horses trained by Burlew before he went to France in 1908 included Song and Wind, Tradition, Belmere, and Chapultepe. Successful training Clarence Mackay’s horses on the flat and over the jumps in France, Burlew returned to the United States in 1916, came up with the sensational 2-year-old Inchcape (which he sold for $115,000, a record for a 2-year-old at the time) in 1920, then bought Morvich.


For Burlew, Morvich was undefeated as a 2-year-old, winning the United States Hotel, Saratoga Special, Hopeful, Eastern Shore Handicap, and Pimlico Futurity, among others. Morvich remained undefeated through 12 starts when he won the 1922 Kentucky Derby.


When Burlew died in 1927 at age 56, turf writer John I. Daly wrote, “His passing is felt throughout the world. No finer sportsman, no better personality ever drew breath. He was honest and just, and took particular pains in his desire always to give the other fellow the breaks. He passed on to many young men on the turf not only his encouragement, faith and financial help, but his uncanny skill in taking the lame and sore horses and making them into winners through exasperating patience and nursing.”


For his career, Burlew saddled a verified 977 winners and won 124 stakes races. He trained 75 stakes-winning horses.