The ability to train Thoroughbreds was bred into the soul of New Jersey native Henry McDaniel. His father, Col. David McDaniel, was one of the leading owners and trainers of his day, heading the list of winning owners from 1870-1874.
Henry McDaniel, known as “Uncle Henry,” became a trainer as a teenager and saddled his first winner in a maiden race at the Fair Grounds in St. Louis two days before his 18th birthday. More than 60 years later, he was still training and sending out winners. McDaniel won the final race of his career with his final starter, Nassau, on Nov. 1, 1947 at Jamaica.
In between, McDaniel was known for his work with Hall of Famers Exterminator, Reigh Count and Sun Beau, as well as champion Sun Briar.
McDaniel won the 1918 Kentucky Derby with Exterminator, a 30-to-1 shot. One of the most popular Thoroughbreds in history, “Old Bones,” as Exterminator was affectionately known, went on to win 50 races in his career.
McDaniel trained for many top owners, including Willis Sharpe Kilmer, Lucky Baldwin, Commander J.K.L. Ross, and Joseph E. Widener. For Widener, McDaniel conditioned 1933 Belmont Stakes winner Hurryoff.
Henry McDaniel was inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in 1956.