Smiley Adams

William Ernest "Smiley" Adams (October 4, 1935 – June 19, 2003) was a trainer of Thoroughbred racehorses who trained Master Derby to win the 1975 Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the U.S. Triple Crown series.[1] In what was the 100th running of the Preakness, Darrel McHargue aboard Master Derby defeated Kentucky Derby winner Foolish Pleasure by a full-length.[2]

Smiley Adams
Born(1935-10-04)October 4, 1935
Versailles, Kentucky,
United States
DiedJune 19, 2003(2003-06-19) (aged 67)
Lexington, Kentucky,
United States
Resting placeBlue Grass Memorial Gardens, Nicholasville, Kentucky
Career wins750±
Major racing wins
Black Gold Stakes (1974)
Duncan F. Kenner Stakes (1974)
Regret Stakes (1974, 1976)
Louisiana Derby Trial Stakes (1975)
Louisiana Derby (1975)
Lexington Stakes (1975)
Blue Grass Stakes (1975)
Arch Ward Stakes (1976)
Arlington-Washington Futurity Stakes (1976)
Breeders' Futurity Stakes (1976)
Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (1976)
Louisiana Handicap (1976)
New Orleans Handicap (1976)
Oaklawn Handicap (1976)
Louisiana Derby Trial Stakes (1977)
Spiral Stakes
(1977 (2), 1978 (2), 1979, 1980 (2))
Hialeah Challenge Cup Invitational Stakes (1978)
Seminole Handicap (1978)
Arlington Classic (1980)
Donn Handicap (1980)
Illinois Derby (1980)
Secretariat Stakes (1980)
Tremont Stakes (1980)
Arlington Handicap (1981)
Dixie Stakes (1981)
Phoenix Handicap (1982)

U.S. Triple Crown series:
Preakness Stakes (1975)

Racing awards
Keeneland Leading Trainer
(1975 (spring), 1977 (fall), 1978 (spring & fall)
Significant horses
Bob's Dusty, Lot O' Gold, Master Derby,
Run Dusty Run, Spruce Needles

Always known as "Smiley", William Adams left school at age 14 to work as a stableboy at a racetrack. Three years later, the then 17-year-old lied about his age to join the United States Marine Corps and would serve overseas in the Korean War. After being discharged from the military, Adams returned to horse racing.

In addition to his success with Master Derby, Adams also notably trained Run Dusty Run who finished second in the 1977 Kentucky Derby, third in the 1977 Preakness Stakes and second in the 1977 Belmont Stakes, all to Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew.[3][4][5] Among his many stakes wins, Smiley Adams won seven consecutive runnings of the Spiral Stakes at Latonia Race Course in Kentucky.[6]

Smiley Adams was retired from training and living in Nicholasville, Kentucky at the time of his passing in 2003.


  1. ^ "Former Trainer Smiley Adams Dies at 67". 2018-07-26. Retrieved 2019-09-12.
  2. ^ "Master Derby, $48.80, Wins Preakness, With Foolish Pleasure 2d". New York Times, Section Sports, page 1. 1975-05-18. Retrieved 2019-09-12.
  3. ^ "1977 - Seattle Slew". Churchill Downs Incorporated. 2019-09-12. Retrieved 2019-09-12.
  4. ^ "Right Answer Again". New York Times, page 171. 1977-05-22. Retrieved 2019-09-12.
  5. ^ "1977 Belmont Stakes charts" (PDF). 2019-09-12. Retrieved 2019-09-12.
  6. ^ "Jeff Ruby Steaks". Turfway Park Archives. 2019-09-12. Retrieved 2019-09-12.