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Henry McDaniel

Sport: Horse Racing

Born: September 10, 1867

Died: January 24, 1948

Town: Secaucus

Henry Ernest McDaniel was born September 10, 1867 in Secaucus. His father, Colonel David McDaniel was a successful horse owner, breeder and trainer whose horses won the Belmont Stakes three years in a row during the 1870s. Henry and his brother William learned the trade on their father’s Stony Brook Farm in Princeton. Henry began his career as a trainer at the age of 16, and eventually surpassed the Colonel. He worked for many of the leading thoroughbred owners, including Lucky Baldwin.

Henry’s first win came in 1885 and his first stakes victory came a year later when Myrtle Harness won the Ashland Oaks. He produced an impressive string of champions in the 1890s and early 1900s, including Rey El Santa Anita, Rey Del Carreres and Abe Frank. In 1918, Henry and owner William Sharpe Kilmer partnered on a horse named Sun Briar. Sun Briar was the favorite heading into the Kentucky Derby, but was injure din practice. They decided to enter Sun Briar’s work horse, Exterminator. He went off at 30–1 and won the Derby. Exterminator became Henry’s most famous horse, winning half of his 100 starts.

More great horses followed, including Reigh Count, Sun Beau and Hurryoff, the winner of the 1933 Belmont Stakes. In all, his horses won over 1,000 races—often with more than 25 wins a year. In 1922, he topped all trainers with 78 winners. He saddled his last horse in 1947 and served as track steward at Tropical Park in Florida in the years before he passed away at age 80. He was a member of the inaugural class of inductees at the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in 1956.


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