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William J. "Buddy" Hirsch

William J. "Buddy" Hirsch
Induction Year: 
Jan. 11, 1909, San Francisco
Oct. 25, 1997, Bal Harbour, Fla.
Career Years: 

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After graduating from Georgetown University and spending 18 months working on Wall Street, Buddy Hirsch became a thoroughbred trainer, following in the footsteps of his father, Hall of Fame member Max Hirsch.


Hirsch earned his first official stakes victory with Gold Basis in the 1933 Latonia Derby. He had previously won the Arlington Classic and American Derby with Gusto, but those wins were officially credited to his father. Four years after winning the Latonia Derby, Hirsch won the Widener Handicap with the filly Columbiana, a horse he owned. Hirsch later sold Columbiana to Calumet Farm, where she turned out to be one of the farm’s foundational broodmares.


Hirsch served in the Army during World War II, earning a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart before resuming his training career.


For many years, Hirsch was associated with the powerful King Ranch Stable. His most famous King Ranch horse was Hall of Famer Gallant Bloom, a champion as both a juvenile and 3-year-old. Hirsch won a dozen stakes with Gallant Bloom, including the Matron, Gardenia, Matchmaker, Delaware Oaks, Gazelle, Spinster, Monmouth Oaks, Santa Margarita Invitational Handicap, and Santa Maria Handicap.


Along with King Ranch, Hirsch trained for Alfred Vanderbilt, Greentree Stable, Edward Lasker, and Jane Greer, among others. His stakes winners included To Market, Intent, Rejected, Golden Notes, Cyrano, Triple Bend, and O’Hara, among others. Rejected set a track record of 1:59⅗ for 1¼ miles in the 1955 Hollywood Gold Cup. Hirsch also brought back Canonero II from injury to set a track record in the 1972 Stymie Handicap at Belmont Park, defeating Riva Ridge.


In 1977, Hirsch began to turn over the King Ranch horses to his son, Bill. Although records for his career are incomplete, Hirsch was credited with having saddled 56 stakes winners.