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Thomas Hitchcock

Thomas Hitchcock
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   Born in New York City on Nov. 12, 1860, Thomas Hitchcock was a true sportsman and is commonly referred to as the father of American steeplechasing.

   Hitchcock was one of America’s best polo players. He learned the game while studying at Oxford and captained the first U.S. international polo team before he shifted his emphasis to steeplechase racing. He won the American Grand National in 1906 with future Hall of Famer Good and Plenty, and again in 1938 with Annibal. In between those years, he conditioned such stars as Bangle, Amagansett, Yemasee, Salitta, Ossabaw, and Cottesmore.

   A member of the Jockey Club and one of the founders of Belmont Park, Hitchcock also had success as a flat-track trainer, as evidenced by his work with Salvidere, the 2-Year-Old Champion Male of 1906 and winner of .the Saratoga Special and Adirondack Stakes that year.

   Hitchcock was instrumental in the development of Aiken, S.C., as a training center. He purchased numerous cheap weanlings in England and developed them as top steeplechasers in Aiken. He also was instrumental in the development of numerous amateur riders, including future Hall of Famer Pete Bostwick and Rigan McKinney.

  Thomas Hitchcock was inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in 1973.