Carl Nafzger

Carl A. Nafzger (born August 29, 1941 in Plainview, Texas) is an American Hall of Fame horse trainer. Before he was involved in horseracing he was a championship rodeo bull rider.

Carl Nafzger
OccupationHorse trainer
Born (1941-08-29) August 29, 1941 (age 79)
Plainview, Texas,
United States
Career wins1,128+ (ongoing)
Major racing wins
Breeders' Futurity (1980, 1986)
Arlington Classic (1981)
Arlington Oaks
(1983, 1989, 1991, 1995)
Washington Park Handicap (1985)
Alcibiades Stakes (1986, 2002)
Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes (1989)
Florida Derby (1990)
Lexington Stakes (1990, 2000)
Secretariat Stakes (1990)
Super Derby (1990)
Memorial Day Handicap (1995)
Alabama Stakes (1998, 2007)
Bonnie Miss Stakes (1998)
Coaching Club American Oaks (1998)
Spinster Stakes (1998)
Apple Blossom Handicap (1999)
Go For Wand Handicap (1999)
Travers Stakes (2000, 2007)
Commonwealth Breeders' Cup Stakes (2001)
Stonerside Beaumont Stakes (2003)
Tampa Bay Derby (2007)
Jim Dandy Stakes (2007)

U.S. Triple Crown series:
Kentucky Derby (1990, 2007)

Breeders' Cup wins:
Breeders' Cup Classic (1990)
Breeders' Cup Juvenile (2006)

Racing awards
Big Sport of Turfdom Award (1990, 2007)
Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer (1990)
Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame (2007)
Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame (2008)
United States Racing Hall of Fame (2008)
Significant horses
Unbridled, Banshee Breeze, Street Sense, Fairway Phantom, Home At Last,
Super Abound, Unshaded, Vicar, Star Choice, Mayo on the Side

Nafzger trained Unbridled who won the 1990 Kentucky Derby and Breeders' Cup Classic. In 1990 he was voted the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer and the Big Sport of Turfdom Award. In 1994, he wrote a book on the training of Thoroughbred horses titled Traits Of A Winner that was published by R. Meerdink Co. (ISBN 978-0929346328).

In 1998, Nafzger trained Banshee Breeze who won that year's Eclipse Award for Outstanding 3-Year-Old Filly. In 2006 he was back in the national spotlight as the trainer of the colt Street Sense who won the 2006 Breeders' Cup Juvenile and the 2007 Kentucky Derby. In the late 2000s and early 2010s, Nafzger moved into semi-retirement, training only for two clients: James B. Tafel, owner of Street Sense, and Bentley Smith. Smith's first wife (who died in 1999) was the daughter of Unbridled's owner, Frances A. Genter, and ran the Genter stable before its dissolution.

Nafzger was inducted into the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2008.[1]

Bull riding careerEdit

Nafzger competed in bull riding throughout the 1960s, and qualified for the National Finals Rodeo 3 separate times. He retired from bull riding in 1972, after suffering a bad leg fracture.[2]

Horse training careerEdit

Following the end of his bull riding career, Nafzger went to California from his home in Texas and began training Thoroughbred racehorses. He had his first Kentucky Derby win in 1990, with Unbridled. His second Kentucky Derby winner was Street Sense, in 2007.[2]

Awards and honorsEdit

Nafzger was inducted into the Professional Bull Riders Heroes and Legends Celebration Ring of Honor in 2007. In 2008 he was inducted into both the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame[3] and the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame.[4] Also in 2007 he was inducted into the Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame.[5] Lastly, he was inducted into the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame.[6]


  1. ^ "Past Inductees". Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame. Retrieved March 28, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Professional Bull Riders - Heroes and Legends Celebration: Ring of Honor". Professional Bull Riders. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  3. ^ "Carl Nafzger". Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame | Fort Worth Texas. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  4. ^ "Carl Nafzger | National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame". Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  5. ^ "Carl Nafzger". Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  6. ^ Software, Bengal. "TRCHF: Past Inductees". Retrieved December 13, 2016.

External linksEdit