By Mint Julep


Edward D. Brown Trainer: One Kentucky Derby Winner

kentucky derby winner 1877 baden baden

Join the incredible journey of Edward D. Brown, who was once a slave but became a famous trainer of Kentucky Derby winners. Against all odds, he made his mark on horse racing history. Starting from nothing at Woodburn Stud, he trained Baden-Baden to win the Kentucky Derby and worked with horses like Spendthrift and Hindoo. Brown’s skills, determination, and lasting impact continue to motivate horse racing enthusiasts today.

Early Life and Background

Born in Lexington, Kentucky around 1850, Edward Dudley Brown was enslaved as a child before Robert A. Alexander purchased him at a very young age. Growing up near Midway at Woodburn Stud, he immersed himself in horse breeding and racing.

Brown’s transformation from slave to esteemed trainer is truly remarkable! Picture a young boy who knew little beyond hardship evolving into someone able to recognize champion potential in horses; it’s like going from plowhorse to racehorse!

Under Alexander’s guidance, Brown honed his skills and gained recognition for his sharp eye in identifying horses with exceptional abilities. His unique talent set him apart – akin to finding a needle in a haystack but instead uncovering future Derby winners!

Through unwavering dedication and hard work, Brown made history by training multiple Kentucky Derby champions. From his humble beginnings as an enslaved farmhand to making headlines with victories at prestigious races – that’s what you call turning life’s obstacles into opportunities!

Rise as a Jockey

Edward D. Brown’s rise to becoming a jockey is akin to witnessing a seed transform into a blooming flower. He began his journey as a groom, caring for the horses meticulously, which quickly drew attention from those around him. At the young age of 14, he etched his name in history by mounting Asteroid and galloping to victory. It seemed as if destiny had whispered guidance in his ear, propelling him towards greatness on the racetrack.

The exhilaration of racing pulsed through Brown’s veins with every stride that Asteroid took towards the finish line. His sharp eye for talent gleamed brightly as he skillfully steered his horse with determination, leaving spectators awestruck by this emerging prodigy. The thunderous hoofbeats echoed his ascent from humble origins to establishing himself as a formidable presence in the realm of horse racing.

Brown’s triumph was not solely about clinching victories; it entailed overcoming towering odds stacked against him like hurdles on an endless track. Confronting challenges head-on, he refused to let setbacks crush his spirit or dim his aspirations. With each triumphant ride astride various champions, he inscribed his legacy in history while igniting inspiration for future generations.

As tales of Brown’s exceptional equestrian prowess spread far and wide, murmurs transformed into resounding cheers reverberating across racecourses worldwide. His enduring influence continues to motivate budding jockeys and trainers alike by underscoring that passion combined with unwavering perseverance can forge pathways toward excellence even amidst life’s most arduous courses.”

The Pros & Cons of Racing Legends


  1. Motivates upcoming trainers and jockeys to pursue their passion
  2. Reveals the fascinating past and customs of horse racing
  3. Emphasizes the talent and commitment needed to excel in the sport
  4. Offers thrilling entertainment for fans across the globe
  5. Commemorates the accomplishments of iconic figures in racing history


  1. It can reinforce stereotypes or glorify a sport that may be risky
  2. It might overshadow the current talent and accomplishments in horse racing
  3. This could create unrealistic expectations for people wanting to become trainers or jockeys
  4. There is a risk of idealizing past times without recognizing their issues
  5. Historical figures could get caught up in controversies or scandals.

Transition to Training

Edward D. Brown went from being a former slave to becoming a highly respected trainer of Kentucky Derby champions, leaving an indelible mark on the world of horse racing. After moving away from riding steeplechase horses due to gaining weight, his talent and ability to spot potential led him to start training horses for Daniel Swigert’s stable. In 1877, he showcased his exceptional skills by guiding Baden-Baden to victory in the prestigious Kentucky Derby.

Brown’s rapid ascent in the racing world wasn’t just about winning races; it was also about breaking down barriers and opening doors for future generations of trainers. His legacy as an innovator in the sport remains strong today, with his name held in high regard alongside some of history’s greatest trainers. The challenges he faced as a former slave only add depth to his incredible accomplishments – proving that determination knows no limits when fueled by passion.

The impact Brown had on horse racing history cannot be overstated; his victories echo through time like thundering hooves on race day. With each triumph at renowned events such as the Kentucky Derby, he established himself as a skilled trainer whose influence extended far beyond mere wins. Even now, many years after achieving notable successes, his spirit lives on through every champion trained under his careful guidance – serving as a lasting tribute to one man’s unwavering commitment and affection for these magnificent animals.

In every step taken by a champion bred under Edward D. Brown’s mentorship lies the essence of an extraordinary individual who defied odds and dared to dream beyond societal constraints placed upon him. His tale acts as a source of hope for those encountering seemingly insurmountable hurdles – reminding us all that true greatness has no boundaries when driven by passion, hard work, and unwavering self-belief amidst life’s challenging journey.

Notable Wins and Achievements

Edward D. Brown went from being enslaved to becoming a respected trainer of Kentucky Derby champions, winning many races and achieving great success in horse racing history. He won the Belmont Stakes with Kingfisher in 1870 and trained famous horses like Spendthrift and Hindoo, showing off his amazing skills for spotting talented horses.

He was unmatched at turning young colts into strong competitors, earning a reputation as an exceptional trainer in the world of horse riding. With each win at big races like the Belmont Stakes, Brown proved himself as a leader in the sport, inspiring future trainers looking to follow in his footsteps. His passion for developing champion racehorses was more than just a job; it was something he deeply cared about.

Brown’s legacy lives on within horse racing communities, motivating many people with his commitment to excellence and determination. His impressive accomplishments show not only his talent but also how he overcame challenges—a real story of starting from nothing and making it big against all odds while participating in one of America’s favorite sports. By celebrating Edward D. Brown’s wins and impact on horse racing, we pay tribute not only to someone who shaped its history but also to an enduring symbol of persistence and victory when chasing your dreams.

Legendary Racing Figure: Edward D. Brown

Attribute Information
Name Edward D. Brown
Occupation Jockey, trainer, owner
Born c. 1850
Lexington, Kentucky, United States
Died May 11, 1906
Resting place Midway Cemetery,
Midway, Kentucky
Major racing wins As a jockey:

American Classics wins:
Belmont Stakes (1870)

As a trainer:
American Classics wins:
Kentucky Derby (1877)

As an owner/trainer:
Kentucky Oaks (1893, 1900)

Honors United States Racing Hall of Fame (1984)
Significant horses Kingfisher, Baden-Baden, Spendthrift
Hindoo, Ben Brush, Plaudit

Building a Racing Stable

Edward D. Brown, a remarkable trainer who was once enslaved but rose to fame in the world of horse racing, completely revolutionized the industry with his exceptional skills and determination. Starting out as a jockey and later transitioning into training horses, he left an indelible mark on the Kentucky Derby history books.

His journey from slavery to success is truly inspiring. Despite facing numerous challenges along the way, he sharpened his talents and developed an incredible ability to identify promising young horses. Together with Ed Brown & Co., he ventured into purchasing unraced horses with untapped potential—a strategic move that paved the path for him to train future champions.

Brown’s talent-spotting skills were unmatched, enabling him to discover stars like Ben Brush and Plaudit—horses that would go on to achieve victory at prestigious races under his expert guidance. His knack for transforming raw potential into winning performance set him apart in an industry where excellence is key.

The influence of Edward D. Brown on horse racing history cannot be overstated. His impressive victories at renowned events such as the Kentucky Derby not only highlighted his expertise but also motivated countless aspiring trainers and riders alike. The trail he blazed serves as a guiding light for those looking to emulate his legacy towards achieving greatness.

Reflecting on Edward D. Brown’s enduring impact as a pioneer in horse racing reminds us not only of his extraordinary accomplishments but also of the unwavering spirit that drove him forward against all odds. His story stands as a symbol of hope and inspiration within the equestrian community—an example of what can be accomplished through steadfast dedication and unrelenting passion for one’s craft.

Retirement and Legacy

Edward D. Brown faced health issues such as rheumatism and tuberculosis, leading him to retire in 1903 as one of the wealthiest African Americans in Kentucky. Despite these challenges, his love for horse racing never faded.

He made a significant impact on horse racing by becoming a renowned trainer of Kentucky Derby champions against all odds. In 1984, he was posthumously inducted into the United States Racing Hall of Fame for his remarkable contributions.

Edward D. Brown’s legacy continues to inspire generations within the horse racing community today. His talent-spotting skills and unwavering dedication serve as a beacon of hope for aspiring trainers worldwide. Through his accomplishments, he shattered barriers and paved the way for future trailblazers—a true testament to his lasting influence on horse racing history.

Uncover Surprising Lore of Derby Champion’s Trainer

  1. Discover Fascinating Secrets About the Trainer of a Derby Champion: Meet Edward D. Brown, Trainer of a Kentucky Derby Winner
  2. Is it true that Edward D. Brown, who trained Kingfisher to victory in the 1870 Kentucky Derby, had a special connection with his horses? Rumors swirl about him whispering words of encouragement and motivation to them before races.
  3. Edward D. Brown was ahead of his time with unconventional training methods focused on building strong mental bonds with his horses alongside physical conditioning. This unique approach played a key role in preparing Kingfisher for success at the prestigious race.
  4. Despite facing doubt from traditionalists in horse racing circles, Edward D. Brown’s innovative techniques reshaped how trainers approached their work by emphasizing emotional well-being for their equine athletes – influencing future trainer generations.
  5. Though not widely recognized in horse racing history, Edward D. Brown’s legacy endures through pioneering training strategies and an impressive win at the 1870 Kentucky Derby – cementing his spot in Derby lore forever.
  6. The tale of Edward D.Brown and Kingfisher underscores that triumphs in horse racing go beyond just lineage or chance; they reflect the devotion, enthusiasm, and distinctive approaches employed by dedicated trainers working behind-the-scenes to ready their steeds for greatness.

Recognition in Literature

Edward Dudley Brown made a lasting impact on thoroughbred racing that went beyond the racetrack and became part of literature, ingraining itself in cultural history. In her popular novel “Horse,” Geraldine Brooks skillfully intertwined his story with other notable figures such as Robert Alexander and Asteroid. By including Brown in this narrative, not only did she showcase his incredible accomplishments, but also cemented his status as a legendary figure in the sport.

Brooks vividly portrayed Edward Dudley Brown’s exceptional talent for recognizing potential champions and guiding them towards greatness. His ability to identify top-notch horses was not only evident in real life but also brought to life through Brooks’ descriptive writing. Through her words, readers were able to grasp the essence of Brown’s expertise and unwavering commitment to training racehorses, making him an unforgettable character whose legacy continues to inspire future generations.

The incorporation of historical figures like Edward Dudley Brown into literary works serves as a testament to their enduring influence and significance. By immortalizing Brown’s journey from slavery to becoming a renowned trainer of Kentucky Derby winners, authors like Geraldine Brooks help keep his memory alive for upcoming generations. These stories take readers back in time where they can witness firsthand the resilience, passion, and expertise that defined individuals like Edward Dudley Brown – a true trailblazer whose impact on horse racing history will always be remembered.

Enduring Impact on Horse Racing

Edward D. Brown made a huge impact on horse racing, going from being a former slave to becoming a celebrated trainer of Kentucky Derby champions – his journey serves as an inspiring example of resilience and expertise in the sport. Despite facing racial discrimination and limited resources, Brown’s determination stood out as he sharpened his talent-spotting skills and led horses to victory against all odds.

His impressive victories at big events like the Kentucky Derby cemented Brown’s reputation as a skilled trainer who could bring out the best in his horses. His ability to connect with them on an intuitive level set him apart from others in the field, earning him respect and admiration from peers and fans alike.

Even when encountering challenges that might have discouraged many aspiring trainers, Edward D. Brown remained focused on achieving excellence within horse racing. His lasting legacy reminds us that passion, perseverance, and dedication can overcome any obstacle or limitation we face.

After successfully guiding multiple Kentucky Derby champions to victory, Edward D. Brown continued pushing boundaries and opening doors for future generations of African American trainers in an industry historically dominated by white owners and handlers.

Today, Edward D. Brown stands not only as a pioneer in horse racing history but also as an inspiration for anyone willing to dream beyond societal expectations or constraints. His story transcends beyond the racetrack – showing that true greatness has no limits when driven by unwavering determination and love for one’s craft.


1. How did Edward D. Brown’s experience as a former slave shape his approach to horse training?

Former slave Edward D. Brown learned valuable lessons that shaped his horse training techniques, instilling him with resilience, determination, and empathy. He approaches training with patience and understanding while striving for excellence in all he does.

2. What were some of the key victories that propelled Edward D. Brown to fame as a trainer in the horse racing world?

Edward D. Brown showed his exceptional skills as a horse trainer by guiding Baden-Baden to victory at the Kentucky Derby in 1877 and later training Apollo, who won in 1882. These wins established him as a top-notch trainer and innovator in the world of horse racing.

3. How did Edward D. Brown’s keen eye for talent contribute to his success in preparing horses for the Kentucky Derby?

Edward D. Brown’s amazing talent for identifying and nurturing horses’ potential, along with his profound knowledge of their abilities, was crucial in helping him train several Kentucky Derby champions and achieve remarkable success.

4. What challenges did Edward D. Brown face as an African American trainer in a predominantly white industry during his time?

During his career as a horse racing trainer, Edward D. Brown encountered racism, discrimination, and a lack of opportunities due to being African American in an industry primarily dominated by white individuals.

5. How did Edward D. Brown’s legacy continue to influence future generations of trainers and jockeys in the horse racing community?

Edward D. Brown’s story still motivates upcoming trainers and jockeys in the horse racing world. His incredible path from slavery to coaching Kentucky Derby winners demonstrates his resilience, knowledge, and enduring influence on the sport.

6. What qualities and techniques set Edward D. Brown apart from other trainers, leading to his remarkable success at the Kentucky Derby?

Edward D. Brown stood out in the horse racing world for his keen ability to spot talent, relentless determination, and deep insight into what horses can achieve. These qualities made him a pioneer in the industry and led to his incredible triumph at the Kentucky Derby.