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William P. Burch

William P. Burch
Induction Year: 
1955
Born: 
1846, Cheraw, S.C.
Died: 
July 9, 1926, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Career Years: 
1866-1926

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Bio

William Preston Burch, a South Carolina native, served as a courier in the Confederate States Army during the Civil War before getting involved with quarter horses at fairs in the South. He transitioned to training thoroughbreds around 1866, basing his stable in Washington, D.C.

 

Burch named his first good horse Wade Hampton after Lieut. Gen. Wade Hampton III, whom he served under during the Civil War. The horse won the 1872 Monmouth Sequel and Saratoga Sequel stakes. Burch owned many of the horses he trained throughout the 1880s, including Burch, winner of five stakes, as well as Telie Doe and Biggonet, winner of the 1885 Spinaway Stakes and 1886 Withers Stakes.

 

In the 1890s, Burch began training for prominent owner Francis Hitchcock. One of Burch’s top horses for Hitchcock was Grey Friar, winner of the Matron and Grand Union Hotel stakes in 1902. Burch also had success with My Own, winner of the 1923 Saratoga Cup, 1923 Maryland Handicap and 1924 Saratoga Handicap.

 

While preparing horses for owners Cary Grayson and Samuel Ross at Saratoga in 1926, the 80-year-old Burch became ill. He was admitted to a private hospital and died July 9.  

 

Burch’s son, Preston, and grandson, Elliott, both enjoyed outstanding careers as trainers and all three were elected to the Hall of Fame. William Burch also played a prominent role in the development of future Hall of Fame trainer Jack Joyner and future Hall of Fame jockey George Odom.

Trainer