Foxhall P. Keene

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Foxhall Parker Keene (December 18, 1867 – September 25, 1941) was an American thoroughbred race horse owner and breeder, a world and Olympic gold medallist in polo and an amateur tennis player.[1][2] He was rated the best all-around polo player in the United States for eight consecutive years, a golfer who competed in the U.S. Open, and a pioneer racecar driver who vied for the Gordon Bennett Cup. In addition to his substantial involvement in flat racing, he was also a founding member of the National Steeplechase Association.[3]

Foxhall Parker Keene
Foxhall P. Keene.jpg
Keene in 1909
Country (sports) United States
Born(1867-12-18)December 18, 1867
San Francisco, California
DiedSeptember 25, 1941(1941-09-25) (aged 73)
Ayer's Cliff, Quebec
Grand Slam Singles results
US OpenSF (1883)
Grand Slam Doubles results
US OpenQF (1883, 1884)
Medal record
Men's polo
Representing a  Mixed team
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 1900 Paris Team competition
Keene on June 13, 1914 at the Meadowbrook Polo Club for the International Polo Cup


He was born in San Francisco, California on December 18, 1867 to Sarah Jay Daingerfield and James Robert Keene.[4] At the time of his birth, his father was president of the San Francisco Stock Exchange. James R. Keene was also a major owner/breeder of thoroughbred racehorses and a founder of The Jockey Club from whom Foxhall Keene inherited Castleton Farm, an important breeding operation near Lexington, Kentucky.

Keene was an avid golfer who competed in the 1897 U.S. Open and who made it to the quarterfinals in the 1898 U.S. Amateur. Although he played at a high level in a number of sports, he excelled at the game of polo. A 10-goal player, he was a member of the Rockaway Hunting Club in Lawrence, Nassau County, New York, today the oldest country club in the United States. With team captain Tommy Hitchcock, in 1886 he was part of the first U.S. international polo team that competed in the inaugural International Polo Cup matches against England. He was rated the best all-around polo player in the United States for eight consecutive years and won the Gold Medal in Polo at the 1900 Summer Olympics. Following its formation, he was inducted posthumously into the Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame in 1992.

Keene also competed as a top-level tennis player, reaching the semifinals of the 1883 U.S. National Championships and the quarterfinals in 1885.

With the advent of automobile racing, Keene competed in the 1903 Gordon Bennett Cup at Athy, County Kildare, Ireland driving a Mercedes. In a race won by Camille Jenatzy, he did not finish after his car experienced axle problems.

Keene maintained a country home at Monkton, Maryland and a home in England with a stable at Melton Mowbray where he kept up to ten field hunters for fox hunting. In addition, he had a seasonal residence at Ayer's Cliff, Quebec on Lake Massawippi.

He died in poverty on September 25, 1941 at Ayer's Cliff, Quebec.[1][4]


His father named one of his horses Foxhall who won the 1882 Ascot Gold Cup in England. Recently, two Thoroughbred racehorses, one born in 1983 and another in 2002, were named after Foxhall Keene. Several publications, including The American Heritage Cookbook and Illustrated History of American Eating and Drinking and the Encyclopedia of North American Eating and Drinking Traditions, Customs and Rituals claim that Chicken à la King was prepared at Keene's suggestion.


  1. ^ a b "Foxhall P. Keene, Famous Poloist. Captain of the 1913 American Team That Went to England Is Dead in Canada". The New York Times. September 26, 1941. Retrieved 2011-04-13.
  2. ^ "Foxhall Parker Keene". Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 2002-12-24. Retrieved 2011-04-13. Mr. Keene was a very brilliant and finished No. 3 and his play both in England and America was so outstanding over so many years, that he was long considered above all other polo players in this country. Handicapped from 1888 to 1918 - fourteen years at ten goals and sixteen years at nine goals - with never a man handicapped above him and for eight years standing alone at the head of the handicap list ...
  3. ^ "Foxhall P. Keene". Olympedia. Retrieved 27 December 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Foxhall Keene, gentleman sportsman of a gilded age, became a living legend in America at the turn of the century. Here is the amazing story of the man who would never stay down". Sports Illustrated. February 16, 1959. Retrieved 2011-04-13. On September 25, 1941 death came to a lonely, penniless 71-year-old man in a cottage on an estate near the village of Ayer's Cliff in the province of Quebec. His body bore the marks and scars of 17 serious injuries sustained in a long and reckless career.

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