Twitter icon
Facebook icon

Thomas M. Walsh

Thomas M. Walsh
Induction Year: 
April 5, 1940
Career Years: 
Number of Mounts: 
Number of Winners: 
Winning Percentage: 

Tab Wrapper


    Thomas M. “Tommy” Walsh was born on April 5, 1940 in Great Neck, N.Y. He was only 15 when he began his riding career in 1956. Walsh learned the sport at his father’s riding academy and spent winter holidays at the training center of his uncle, future Hall of Fame trainer Michael G. “Mickey” Walsh.


    Tommy Walsh ranked second in the steeplechase division in wins in 1957 and 1958 and topped the ranks with 31 wins in 1960. He also led all steeplechase riders with 39 victories in 1966. Consistently at the top of his sport, Walsh was either first or second in the standings seven times during his 12-year career.

    Walsh partnered with three horses voted steeplechase champion: Bluff, Hall of Famer Bon Nouvel, and Mako. Walsh won the American Grand National five consecutive times and in six of seven years from 1959 through 1965, winning the race with Sun Dog (twice), Independence, Barnaby’s Bluff, Tuscarora, and Mako.

   When Walsh won the Temple Gwathmey in 1965 with Bon Nouvel, under 170 pounds, it was one of the rider’s three victories in the event, which then was the climax of the jumping season. Bon Nouvel romped by 30 lengths in setting a course record at Aqueduct.

    Walsh also won the Saratoga Steeplechase Handicap three times, the Harbor Hill Handicap three times, and the New York Turf Writers Cup twice. Other major wins came in the Lovely Night Handicap (2), Meadowbrook Handicap, Carolina Cup, and New Jersey Hunt Cup.

    Tommy Walsh was inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in 2005.