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Carl Hanford

Carl Hanford
Induction Year: 
March 12, 1916, Fairbury, Neb.
Aug. 14, 2011, Wilmington, Del.
Career Years: 

Tab Wrapper


Carl Hanford grew up with 10 siblings in Fairbury, Neb. He quit high school and went east to pursue a career as a jockey. Hanford notably rode the winner in the first race ever run at Suffolk Downs in East Boston on July 10, 1935. His career as a jockey didn’t amount to much, however, and he switched to training.


Hanford’s training career was interrupted when he served five years in the Army’s Remount Division during World War II. During the 1950s, Hanford conditioned the filly La Corredora, a winner of five stakes races, and counted Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney among his clients.


In January of 1960, Mrs. Allaire du Pont was looking for a new trainer. Her farm manager, Jim Hallahan, suggested she interview Hanford. At the time, du Pont had seven 3-year-old fillies and a cranky gelding named Kelso.


Under Hanford’s conditioning, Kelso was named Horse of the Year a record five consecutive times (1960 through 1964). Hanford guided Kelso to 38 of his 39 victories and all 31 of his stakes wins, including five consecutive runnings of the Jockey Club Gold Cup.


In 1961, Kelso became the third horse to sweep the New York Handicap Triple Crown of the Metropolitan, Suburban, and Brooklyn handicaps. Kelso also set a world record on grass in the D.C. International and retired with record earnings of $1,977,896.


Hanford trained a half-dozen other stakes winners and winners in a career of 25 years. With La Corredora, Hanford won the Monmouth Oaks, Ladies Handicap, Comely, Gallorette, and Pimlico Breeders’ Stakes.