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Thomas J. Healey

Thomas J. Healey
Induction Year: 
July 16, 1866, New York City
Oct. 7, 1944, Holmdel, N.J.
Career Years: 

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The son of a dairy farmer, Thomas Jefferson Healey was born just south of the old Jerome Park racetrack in New York City. At the age of 15, Healey took his first job in racing in the stable of E. A. Clabaugh. He worked in various barns throughout the next few years before becoming a head trainer.


Healey saddled his first winner, Pocatello, May 28, 1888, at Gravesend. He quickly developed one of the largest and most successful stables in the country, training for some of the top owners in the sport, including August Belmont II, Richard T. Wilson, Andrew Miller, and Walter J. Salmon. Healey trained exclusively for Wilson, the president of the Saratoga Association from about the turn of the century until 1921, when, late in the year, he also took over the conditioning Salmon’s horses.


Healey saddled the Wilson-owned The Parader to victory in the 1901 Preakness Stakes. He also won the Preakness for Wilson in 1922 with Pillory and for Salmon in 1923 (Vigil), 1926 (Display), and 1929 (Dr. Freeland). Healey also added the 1922 Belmont with Pillory.


In 1929, Harry Payne Whitney engaged Healey to train for him after Whitney’s longtime trainer, James Rowe, Sr., died. Whitney died the following year, but Healey continued to train for the family, overseeing the conditioning of C. V. Whitney’s horses.


For C. V. Whitney, Healey developed the great filly Top Flight and assumed the training of the mighty Equipoise, who was a 5-year-old at time. Top Flight was the best in her division at ages 2 and 3, winning races such as the Saratoga Special, Spinaway, Matron, Belmont Futurity, Pimlico Futurity, Acorn, Coaching Club American Oaks, Arlington Oaks, and Alabama.


For Healey, Equipoise won seven races as a 5-year-old in 1933, including the Metropolitan, Arlington, and Suburban handicaps, as well as the Hawthorne Gold Cup and Saratoga Cup. He gave 26 pounds to the runner-up in the Metropolitan and four days later carried 132 pounds in his Suburban victory.


Following his retirement as a trainer in 1941, Healey served as a racing official in Maryland, New Jersey, and Louisiana.