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Herbert J. Thompson

Herbert J. Thompson
Induction Year: 
Career Years: 

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  Born in Detroit on Sept. 21, 1881, Herbert J. Thompson started out his career working with harness horses before switching to Thoroughbreds in 1902 when he began an association with E.J. Baldwin. Seven years later, Thompson became employed by Col. E.R. Bradley, for whom he went on to saddle four Kentucky Derby winners. 

  Thompson served as an assistant trainer Cliff Hammond with Bradley’s string before taking over as the stable’s head trainer upon Hammond’s death in 1918.

  Thompson’s first Derby winner was Behave Yourself in 1921. He also won the Run for the Roses with Bubbling Over (1926), 

  Burgoo King (1932) and Brokers Tip (1933). Through his association with Bradley and Idle Hour Farm and his success in the Kentucky Derby, Thompson became known as “Derby Dick.” Brokers Tip remains one of only two maidens to win the 
Kentucky Derby (Hall of Famer and 1919 Triple Crown winner Sir Barton is the other), while Burgoo King went on to win the Preakness and was named co-3-Year-Old Champion.

  Thompson always considered Hall of Famer Blue Larkspur his best horse. The 1929 Horse of the Year and 1930 Champion Older Male won 10 of 16 starts for Thompson, including the Belmont Stakes, Saratoga Special, Withers Stakes, and Arlington Classic.

  Based on available records of his career (no records are available for 1927), Thompson won 373 races and had purse earnings of $1,296,761. He died in 1937.

  Herbert Thompson was inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in 1969.