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Tom Smith (horse trainer)

  (Redirected from R. Thomas Smith)

Robert Thomas "Tom" Smith (May 20, 1878 – January 23, 1957) was an American Thoroughbred racehorse trainer. Born in a log cabin in the backwoods of northwest Georgia, as a young man he trained horses for the United States Cavalry and worked on a cattle ranch. In 1934, he was hired as a trainer by the wealthy businessman Charles S. Howard.

Tom Smith
Seabiscuit Tom Smith.jpg
Tom Smith with Seabiscuit
OccupationTrainer, Farrier
Born(1878-05-20)May 20, 1878
Georgia, U.S.
DiedJanuary 23, 1957(1957-01-23) (aged 78)
Career winsNot found
Major racing wins
Bay Meadows Handicap (1937, 1938)
Brooklyn Handicap (1937)
Butler Handicap (1937)
Massachusetts Handicap (1937)
Agua Caliente Handicap (1938)
Havre de Grace Handicap (1938)
Hollywood Gold Cup (1938, 1939)
Pimlico Special Match Race (1938)
Santa Anita Handicap (1939, 1940)
American Derby (1940)
Potomac Handicap (1940)
Santa Anita Derby (1941)
Arlington-Washington Lassie Stakes (1945)
Beldame Stakes (1945)
Belmont Futurity Stakes (1945)
Fashion Stakes (1945)
Hopeful Stakes (1945)
Matron Stakes (1945)
Walden Stakes (1945)
Tremont Stakes (1946)
Jamaica Handicap (1947)
Great American Stakes (1950)

American Classic Race wins:
Kentucky Derby (1947)

Racing awards
U.S. Champion Thoroughbred Trainer by earnings (1940, 1945)
National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame (2001)
Washington Racing Hall of Fame (2003)
Significant horses
Kayak II, Seabiscuit, Beaugay,
Star Pilot, Jet Pilot

Known as "Silent Tom" because of his quiet nature, Smith became famous as the trainer of Seabiscuit. In the 1940s, he was hired to train for Maine Chance Farm, owned by cosmetics tycoon Elizabeth Arden. Twice he was the U.S. Champion Trainer by earnings: first in 1940, and again in 1945.

On November 8, 1945, Smith was suspended from racing for a year by The Jockey Club after being found responsible for administering the stimulant ephedrine via an atomizer to one of his horses.[1] The drug was given to the horse by the stable foreman without Smith's specific authorization, but under New York racing rules he was held responsible as the horse's trainer.

In his absence, Roy Waldron trained for a time for Maine Chance Farm, winning the Pimlico Futurity with Star Pilot, before Smith's 36-year-old son, Jimmy, took over for the remainder of the suspension.

When his suspension was over, Smith returned to Maine Chance Farm, where he trained 1947 Kentucky Derby winner Jet Pilot.

Smith retired from racing in 1955, having trained 29 graded stakes race winners. He died two years later in Glendale, California, and was buried there in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Sunrise Slope, Lot 6121, Space 4.

In 2000, Smith was elected to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame and was inducted in 2001.[2] His life's story was told by author Laura Hillenbrand's bestselling 2001 book Seabiscuit: An American Legend.[3]

Smith was played by Academy Award-winning actor Chris Cooper in the 2003 film Seabiscuit.


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