Edward D. Brown

Born into slavery in Kentucky, Edward Dudley Brown developed into an accomplished jockey before becoming one of the top trainers of the 19th century.




1850, Lexington, Kentucky


May 11, 1906, Louisville, Kentucky




Born into slavery in Kentucky, Edward Dudley Brown developed into an accomplished jockey before becoming one of the top trainers of the 19th century.

Trained at Woodburn Stud to be a horseman, Brown was so fast in foot races it was said he could beat Brown Dick, the racehorse who had set the record for three-mile heats in 1856. Thus, Brown became known as “Brown Dick” when he later became a jockey.

Following the abolition of slavery, Brown continued to work at Woodburn as a free man and rode many of the farm’s top racehorses, including the undefeated Asteroid in all nine of his starts in 1864 and 1865, as well as standouts Maiden and Merrill. Following the death of Woodburn owner R. A. Alexander, farm manager Daniel Swigert went out on his own, establishing Stockwood Stud, and brought Brown along as his jockey.

In 1870, Brown rode Swigert’s Kingfisher to victory in the fourth edition of the Belmont Stakes at Jerome Park. Brown’s career as a flat jockey ended soon after because of increasing weight and he switched to riding steeplechasers for a time before turning to training in 1874.

In 1875, Brown saddled King Alfonso to beat mighty Ten Broeck in the Kentucky St. Leger, and two years later he won the third running of the Kentucky Derby with Baden-Baden, a horse owned by Swigert. For Swigert, Brown also developed Hindoo (winner in seven of nine races for Brown as a 2-year-old) and Spendthrift (winner of five consecutive stakes for Brown as a 2-year-old) before the owner sold them.

Brown trained for Col. Milton Young and Col. W. S. Barnes throughout the 1880s, winning stakes with the likes of Bancroft, Bootjack, Barnum, and Troubadour. In 1881, Brown won 53 documented races, including 15 that August at Saratoga. Brown later owned and developed future Hall of Famer Ben Brush and Plaudit, both of whom won the Kentucky Derby after Brown sold them. Ben Brush was regarded as the top 2-year-old of 1895 when he won 13 of 16 races, including the Champagne Stakes, for Brown and co-owner Eugene Leigh.

Other notable races won by Brown include the Ohio Derby (1876), Louisville Cup (1878, 1881), St. Louis Cup (1881), Cincinnati Cup (1881), Kenner Stakes (1881, 1882), St. Louis Derby (1883), Distillers’ Stakes (1883), Ashland Oaks (1883), Clark Stakes (1883, 1886), Edgewater Stakes (1883), Alexander Stakes (1886), Clay Stakes (1886), Sea Bank Stakes (1886), and Red Bank Stakes (1886), among others. Brown owned and trained 1893 Kentucky Oaks winner Monrovia and 1900 Kentucky Oaks winner Etta. He also trained 1886 Kentucky Oaks winner Pure Rye.

Through his success as an owner and trainer, Brown became a wealthy man. He was known to carry a bankroll of $75,000, but his generosity eventually led to financial problems as he “lost many thousands of dollars in loans to turfmen and trainers,” according to the Lexington Herald.  

By the close of the 19th century, Brown’s health was suffering. He had been afflicted for many years with rheumatism and walked with a cane. He later contracted pulmonary tuberculosis and died in 1906 at the age of 56. 


Triple Crown Highlights

Won the 1877 Kentucky Derby — Baden-Baden
Won the 1870 Belmont Stakes — Kingfisher (as a jockey)

Other Highlights 

Won the Kentucky Oaks — 1886, 1893, 1900
Won the Louisville Cup — 1878, 1881
Won the Kenner Stakes  — 1881, 1882
Won the Clark Stakes  — 1883, 1886


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