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Charles Whittingham

Charles Whittingham
Induction Year: 
1974
Career Years: 
1950-1999

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Bio

   A leading West Coast trainer, California native Charles Whittingham is considered by most accounts one of the greatest Thoroughbred trainers of the 20th century. Whittingham’s big break came when Bing Crosby introduced him to trainer Horatio Luro. With the exception of an interruption for World War II, Whittingham worked as Luro’s assistant until 1950 when he began his own public stable.

  Whittingham’s first stakes winner was Porterhouse, Champion 2-Year-Old Colt in 1953. He went on to train 10 additional champions, as well as six of the first 50 Thoroughbred millionaires, including Exceller, Dahlia, Perrault, Erins Isle, Cougar, and Royal Glint.

  Along with Porterhouse, Whittingham was the conditioner of champions Ack Ack (Horse of the Year, 1971), Turkish Trousers (Champion 3-Year-Old Female, 1971), Cougar II (Champion Turf Horse, 1972), Perrault (Champion Male Turf Horse, 1982), Kennedy Road (Canada’s Horse of the Year, 1983), Estrapade (Champion Female Turf Horse, 1986), Ferdinand, (Horse of the Year, 1987), Sunday Silence (Horse of the Year, 1989), Miss Alleged (Champion Female Turf Horse, 1991) and Flawlessly (Champion Female Turf Horse, 1992 and 1993).

  At age 76, Whittingham became the oldest trainer to win the Kentucky Derby when he sent out Ferdinand to win the Run for the Roses. Two years later, he won a second Derby with Horse of the Year Sunday Silence.

 During his 49 years as a head trainer, Whittingham had 252 stakes wins and became the all-time leading trainer at both Hollywood Park and Santa Anita. He won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer in 1971, 1982, and 1989, and was top North American trainer in earnings seven times: 1970-1973, 1975 and 1981-1982. He finished his career with 2,534 wins and $109.2 million in purses.

  Along with his two scores in the Kentucky Derby, Whittingham also won the Preakness Stakes, Breeders’ Cup Classic (2), Santa Anita Derby (2), Arlington Million (3), Hollywood Gold Cup (8) and Santa Anita Handicap (8).
Whittingham trained Thoroughbreds until his death on April 22, 1999.

  Charles Whittingham was inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in 1974.

Trainer