Tom Fool

Last updated
Tom Fool
Tom Fool (USA).jpg
Sire Menow
Grandsire Pharamond II
Damsire Bull Dog
Sex Stallion
FoaledMarch 31, 1949
Country United States
Colour Bay
Breeder Duval A. Headley
Owner Greentree Stables
Racing colors: Pink, black stripes on sleeves, black cap.
Trainer John M. Gaver, Sr.
Record30: 21-7-1
Major wins
Sanford Stakes (1951)
Belmont Futurity Stakes (1951)
Grand Union Hotel Stakes (1951)
East View Stakes (1951)
Jerome Handicap (1952)
Grey Lag Handicap (1952)
Empire City Handicap (1952)
Sysonby Handicap (1952, 1953)
Wilson Stakes (1952, 1953)
Metropolitan Handicap (1953)
Suburban Handicap (1953)
Brooklyn Handicap (1953)
Whitney Handicap (1953)
Carter Handicap (1953)
Pimlico Special (1953)
U.S. Champion 2-Yr-Old Colt (1951)
2nd New York Handicap Triple (1953)
U.S. Champion Older Horse (1953)
U.S. Champion Sprint Horse (1953)
United States Horse of the Year (1953)
Leading broodmare sire in Britain & Ireland (1965)
United States Racing Hall of Fame inductee (1960)
Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame (1977)
#11 - Top 100 U.S. Racehorses of the 20th Century
Tom Fool Handicap at Belmont Park
Last updated on 25 November, 2023

Tom Fool (March 31, 1949 – August 20, 1976) was a champion American Thoroughbred racehorse who was the 1953 American Horse of the Year and was inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame. He sired the champion racehorses Buckpasser and Tim Tam.



Owned by Greentree Stables, Tom Fool was bred by Duval Headley, a Thoroughbred trainer and nephew of prominent Kentucky breeder Hal Price Headley. Tom Fool was a bay colt by the racehorse and sire Menow out of Gaga by Pharamond II. [1] He was a half-brother to the good two-year-old Aunt Jinny, [2] and was a great-grandson of the broodmare Laughing Queen, whose other descendants included the Kentucky Derby winner Dust Commander. [3] Greentree Stables purchased Tom Fool privately as a yearling for $20,000.

Racing record

Tom Fool was trained by John M. Gaver, Sr. and ridden by Ted Atkinson. In his two-year-old season, he had five wins and two seconds in seven starts, which earned him Champion 2-Year-Old Colt honors for 1951.

After he finished second in the Wood Memorial Stakes at age 3, the horse's veterinarian discovered he had raced with a high fever. The illness sidelined Tom Fool for more than two months, and he missed the Triple Crown races. Although his 1952 season was difficult, he won six of his thirteen starts.

In 1953, a healthy four-year-old Tom Fool was undefeated in ten races, He won at distances ranging from 5½ furlongs to 1¼ miles and became only the second horse to win New York's Handicap Triple Crown: the Metropolitan, Suburban and Brooklyn Handicaps. Tom Fool also won the Whitney Stakes and captured the Pimlico Special by eight lengths. This final start was a win that concluded a perfect four-year-old campaign with 10 stakes wins in as many starts. The Pimlico Special was his fourth consecutive race start in a non-betting race; by this time, few horses were entered against him. [4] In polls to determine Horse of the Year honors, Tom Fool topped polls by the Thoroughbred Racing Association (34 of a possible 37 votes) [5] and Triangle Publications (30 of 31). [6]

Tom Fool retired with a record of 30 starts for 21 wins, 7 seconds and 1 third for earnings of $570,165. [4]

Stud career

Tom Fool was syndicated for $1,750,000, as a stallion and initially stood for a $5,000 service fee. He sired the winners of over 650 races in America and England, with over 30 stakes winners, including:

Tom Fool's bloodline endures in the 2015 U.S. Triple Crown winner, American Pharoah, who is both a sixth- and seventh-generation descendant.


Tom Fool was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1960. [7] In the Blood-Horse magazine ranking of the top 100 U.S. Thoroughbred champions of the 20th Century, he was ranked #11. The Tom Fool Handicap, contested at Belmont Park, is named in his honor.

Tom Fool retired from stud duties in 1972 and died on 20 August 1976.

See also


Pedigree of Tom Fool [1]
Bay 1935
Pharamond II (GB)
Bay 1925
Phalaris Polymelus
Selene Chaucer
Chestnut 1927
Mandy Hamilton
Regal Roman (GB) Roi Herode
Lady Cicero
Bay 1942
Bull Dog (FR)
Bay 1927
Teddy Ajax (FR)
Plucky Liege (GB) Spearmint
Bay 1937
Equipoise Pennant
Laughing Queen Sun Briar
Cleopatra (Family: 3-j) [3]

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  1. 1 2 "Tom Fool pedigree". May 8, 2012. Retrieved June 17, 2013.
  2. Morris, Simon; Tesio Power 2000 - Stallions of the World, Syntax Software
  3. 1 2 "Thoroughbred Bloodlines - Sister to Skysweeper - Family 3-j". Retrieved June 17, 2013.
  4. 1 2 3 Ahnert, Rainer L. (editor in chief), Thoroughbred Breeding of the World, Pozdun Publishing, Germany, 1970
  5. "Tom Fool collects one more Horse of the Year". Spokesman-Review. December 4, 1953. Retrieved February 27, 2012.
  6. "Tom Fool Catches Foe Native Dancer at Last". Deseret News . November 13, 1953. Retrieved February 27, 2012.
  7. "Hall of Fame". National Museum of Racing. Archived from the original on June 29, 2011. Retrieved February 18, 2011.