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J. Elliott Burch

J. Elliott Burch
Induction Year: 
March 3, 1924
Jan. 30, 2011, Newport, R.I.
Career Years: 
Number of Starters: 
Number of Winners: 
Winning Percentage: 

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A third-generation horseman who followed both his father and grandfather into the Hall of Fame, Elliott Burch trained six champions and four members of the Hall of Fame, including Horse of the Year winners Sword Dancer, Arts and Letters and Fort Marcy.


Educated at Yale University and later the University of Kentucky, Burch served in the Army Signal Corps in Europe during World War II and after the war. He later worked as a racing writer and an assistant trainer. When his father, Preston Burch, retired in 1957, Elliott took over his dad’s role as head trainer for Isabel Dodge Sloane’s Brookmeade Stable.


Burch trained Sword Dancer and champion Bowl of Flowers for Brookmeade. Sword Dancer was the first of Burch’s three Belmont Stakes winners, winning the classic in 1959. For owner Paul Mellon, Burch saddled Belmont winners Quadrangle in 1964 and Arts and Letters in 1969. Quadrangle’s score ended Northern Dancer’s Triple Crown threat, while Arts and Letters’ triumph did the same to Majestic Prince’s.


For Mellon, Burch also trained Fort Marcy, who shared Horse of the Year honors with Personality in 1970, as well as champions Key to the Mint and Run the Gantlet. Sword Dancer, Bowl of Flowers, Arts and Letters and Fort Marcy were all elected to the Hall of Fame.


Burch sent out four winners each of the Suburban Handicap, Travers Stakes, Woodward Stakes and Whitney Handicap.


Elliott Burch died Jan. 30, 2011 at the age of 86.