By Mint Julep


Graham Motion Trainer: One Kentucky Derby Winner

animal kingdom kentucky derby winner 2011

Explore the fascinating career of H. Graham Motion, a renowned Thoroughbred horse trainer who started from scratch and went on to train a champion at the Kentucky Derby. Learn about the amazing horses he has trained, his philosophy based on patience and hard work, and how he continues to make a mark in horse racing with his passion for the sport and consistent success.

Early Life and Career Beginnings

H. Graham Motion was born in Cambridge, England on May 22, 1964, and grew up around horse racing because his father worked as a bloodstock agent. He began training horses when he was just 29 years old and had success with his own Thoroughbred horses. One memorable moment early in his career was winning his first race with Bounding Daisy at Laurel Park Racecourse in March 1993.

Motion quickly became known for understanding and getting the best out of horses as he developed his skills over time. His patient and dedicated approach to training set him apart from others in the industry. The way he handled each horse under his care showed that he wasn’t just another trainer but someone who excelled at working with these amazing animals.

In an industry where consistency is important but things can be unpredictable, H. Graham Motion built an impressive reputation through hard work and determination. His ability to connect deeply with horses went beyond skill; it showed a true understanding of their needs and abilities. This special bond between trainer and horse played a big role in shaping Motion’s successful career.

Over the years, Motion became well-known for achieving success at top racing events like Churchill Downs – where dreams come true amid thundering hooves and cheering crowds craving greatness during those exciting moments around the track.

One highlight came when Animal Kingdom won the Kentucky Derby thanks to Graham Motion’s expertise – surprising many fans worldwide.

His accomplishments weren’t limited to one shining moment; they spanned decades filled with unforgettable successes on racetracks worldwide – evidence of starting from humble beginnings leading to extraordinary achievements driven by passion unlike any other within this fast-paced world.

Trainer Accomplishments and Major Wins

H. Graham Motion has won over 2,190 races in his career so far and is a well-known figure in the world of horse racing. He gained fame by winning big races like the Kentucky Derby in 2011 with a horse named Animal Kingdom.

But it’s not just one victory that sets him apart – he has also triumphed in other prestigious events such as the Breeders’ Cup Turf and Dubai World Cup.

Fans and professionals alike have noticed Motion’s unique training techniques that blend innovation with traditional horsemanship principles. His methods have been successful for years because they are both modern and rooted in time-tested practices.

Motion’s legacy is truly remarkable, leaving a lasting impact on horse racing. He excels at nurturing champion horses, showcasing his deep understanding of these magnificent animals.

In an unpredictable sport like horse racing, Motion stands out for consistently delivering top-notch performances year after year. His dedication to excellence has earned him respect across the industry, solidifying his position as one of the greatest trainers ever seen.

The Pros & Cons of Triple Crown Triumphs


  1. Winning all three races brings prestige and honor.
  2. The horse and trainer receive more media coverage and public attention.
  3. The horse’s breeding opportunities and value may increase.
  4. The accomplishment holds historic significance in the world of horse racing.


  1. Both the horse and trainer can feel overwhelmed by the pressure to perform well in every race.
  2. Competing in several high-stakes races close together increases the risk of injury or fatigue.
  3. If the horse doesn’t win all three races, it faces intense scrutiny and criticism.
  4. Meeting unrealistic expectations for future success can be challenging.

Recognition and Awards

H. Graham Motion received prestigious awards like the Big Sport of Turfdom Award in 2011, recognizing his incredible talent and contributions to horse racing.

He ranked among the top trainers nationally in 2008, earning over $6.9 million that year due to his consistent success.

Motion is known for training some of horse racing’s greatest champions, from Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom in 2011 to Breeders’ Cup victor Main Sequence. His legacy is firmly established in the history books of horse racing.

His influence on the industry goes far beyond just numbers; it reflects a deep commitment and love for excellence in horsemanship that resonates throughout the sport.

Significant Horses Trained

Throughout his impressive career, H. Graham Motion has been lucky enough to work closely with amazing horses. From the energetic Animal Kingdom to the tough Better Talk Now, these horses have left their mark on racetracks all over the world and in people’s hearts. With each champion that Motion trains, he continues to show why he is a master of horse racing.

Main Sequence’s smooth moves on the track under Motion’s guidance grabbed attention from audiences near and far, earning praise for both horse and trainer alike. Their partnership was seamless, showcasing not only their physical skills but also their deep connection that went beyond words – a true display of trust between man and beast.

Irish War Cry is another shining example of H. Graham Motion’s success story in horse racing; embodying strength, determination, and pure passion for racing with every powerful stride taken on course. Under Motion’s expert coaching, Irish War Cry showed what it means to race with heart—a testament not just to the horse’s spirit but also to the trainer’s ability to bring out excellence.

Looking back at H. Graham Motion’s journey alongside these incredible horses—each with its own tale told through sweat-soaked saddle cloths—it becomes clear that there is more than just wins or earnings; there lies a deeper story of dedication, perseverance, and unwavering commitment towards excellence that shapes this acclaimed trainer’s legacy in thoroughbred racing history.

Champion Trainer: H. Graham Motion Highlights

H. Graham Motion
Occupation Trainer
Born May 22, 1964
Career wins 2,190+ (ongoing)
Major racing wins
Dixie Stakes (2003, 2006) Breeders’ Cup Turf (2004)
Manhattan Handicap (2007, 2017, 2018) Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (2010)
Sword Dancer Handicap (2004, 2005) Breeders’ Cup Turf (2014)
United Nations Handicap (2005) Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (2019)
Man o’ War Stakes (2005, 2022) American Classics wins: Kentucky Derby (2011)
Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes (2003)
Gallorette Stakes (2005)
Federico Tesio Stakes (2008)
Private Terms Stakes (2001)
Knickerbocker Handicap (2003)
Barbaro Stakes (1995, 1997, 2000)
Hilltop Stakes (1996)
The Very One Stakes (2001)
William Donald Schaefer Handicap (1996)
Woodlawn Stakes (1997, 2000)
Maryland Million Ladies (1998, 2008)
Lexington Stakes (1999)
Maryland Million Lassie (2000, 2001)
Maryland Million Nursery (1996, 2005)
Maryland Million Day (1998)
Sky Classic Stakes (2005, 2016)
Remington Springboard Mile Stakes (2009)
Whitney Handicap (2009)
Garden City Stakes (2010)
Matriarch Stakes (2010)
Hollywood Turf Cup Stakes (2011)
Spinster Stakes (2011)
Wood Memorial (2011)
Del Mar Oaks (2011, 2022)
Dubai World Cup (2013)
Rodeo Drive Stakes (2015)
Frank E. Kilroe Mile Stakes (2015)
Alcibiades Stakes (2016)
Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes (2016)
Racing awards Big Sport of Turfdom Award (2011)
Significant horses Adriano, Animal Kingdom, Bay Eagle, Better Talk Now, Chilito, Dr. Brendler, Equality, Film Maker, Icabad Crane, Irish War Cry, Main Sequence, Pluck, Shared Account, Went The Day Well, Your Out

Trainer Standings and Legacy

H. Graham Motion has been consistently recognized as one of the top trainers in Maryland for many years, showing expertise and skill in his craft. He stands out for leading all trainers with five stakes wins during specific race meets and achieving milestones such as securing his 1,000th race win at Laurel Park Racecourse.

With a sharp eye for talent and an undeniable love for racing, Graham Motion is a well-known name in horse racing worldwide. Among the horses he has trained is the famous Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, whose thrilling victory captured hearts around the world under Motion’s guidance. This success highlighted Motion’s ability to nurture champions on big stages.

Graham Motion goes beyond just numbers; he shows deep dedication to each horse he trains by instilling confidence and grace into every step they take. Through commitment to excellence and a strong understanding of horses’ behavior, he has made his mark alongside some of racing’s most respected figures in history books. With each new contender that races under him on the track, Graham Motion continues to create stories of triumph that will be remembered long after races end across the globe.

Training Philosophy and Approach

H. Graham Motion is famous for his patient and methodical way of training horses. He believes in forming strong bonds with each horse he works with to help them perform their best on the racetrack. His personalized approach highlights his commitment to developing talent and achieving success within his stable.

Motion’s philosophy is all about getting to know each horse’s unique personality, temperament, and physical abilities. By creating training programs that cater to individual needs, he ensures that every racehorse reaches its full potential while honoring their special traits.

He pays close attention to details and doesn’t overlook anything when it comes to getting his horses ready for races. From carefully planned diet regimens designed for peak performance to adjusting workout routines based on subtle cues from the animals themselves, Motion believes in a comprehensive approach that considers every aspect of a horse’s well-being.

With an unwavering dedication to excellence and a deep love for horse racing, Graham Motion continues to inspire both new trainers and experienced professionals alike with his strategic skills and profound connection with these magnificent creatures who steal our hearts at the track.

Legendary Tales of Derby Glory

  1. Exciting Stories of Derby Glory: Meet Graham Motion, the Trainer Behind a Kentucky Derby Champion
  2. In 2011, Graham Motion guided Animal Kingdom to a thrilling victory at the Kentucky Derby, capturing his first-ever win in this prestigious race.
  3. What set Animal Kingdom’s triumph apart was his lack of experience racing on dirt before – showcasing how adeptly Graham Motion readied him for different surfaces.
  4. Before achieving success with Animal Kingdom, Graham Motion had already proven himself as a talented trainer in turf races; thus, transitioning to dirt racing and winning further highlighted his skills.
  5. A significant factor in Animal Kingdom’s Kentucky Derby win was credited to Graham Motion’s patient and systematic training approach which nurtured the horse’s abilities over time.
  6. Through guiding Animal Kingdom to victory, Graham Motion solidified his status as an elite trainer within the horse racing realm – earning him admiration from fans and peers alike.

Community Engagement and Contributions

H. Graham Motion isn’t just a trainer of champions; he’s also a wise figure in the world of horse racing. He openly shares his training methods and experiences through interviews and public appearances, showing his dedication to improving the sport. Every time he gives advice, both new fans and experienced pros learn something valuable.

Motion does more than just train horses – he generously shares his knowledge with others to make the community better. By sharing how he trains horses, he encourages everyone in horse racing to keep learning and growing together. When he interacts with people, it shows not only that he knows what he’s doing but also that he truly loves making horse racing better for everyone involved.

In an industry where many keep their secrets close, H. Graham Motion is different because of how open and giving he is. Through being active on various platforms like media interviews or public events, Motion keeps inspiring countless individuals by sharing deep insights and staying committed to training horses excellently for success on the track.”

Future Prospects and Ongoing Success

  1. H. Graham Motion’s journey in the world of horse racing historians is ongoing. He has a strong passion for this sport and excels at it.
  2. This marks his dedication to Sir Barton, who was the first winner of the Triple Crown.
  3. He meets various challenges with determination and grit as he pursues excellence in this field. His encounters with different horses have shaped him into a skilled trainer.
  4. Every day presents new opportunities for growth and learning in this industry. What drives H is his unwavering commitment to improving himself and pushing boundaries.
  5. Some races like The Kentucky Derby hold special significance for him due to their history and prestige within the sport.
  6. His experiences have taught him that success comes from hard work, persistence, and a deep understanding of horses’ behavior patterns.
  7. “Small victories lead to big achievements,” says Pat Chapman, whose words resonate deeply with many horse racing enthusiasts.
  8. Understanding market trends is crucial in navigating the competitive landscape of horse racing today. It requires careful analysis and strategic decision-making.
  9. Despite facing challenges along the way, Motion remains optimistic about what lies ahead in his career trajectory.



1. How did Graham Motion first become involved in the world of horse racing?

Graham Motion got into horse racing because his family loved it. He practiced a lot and became famous for training horses that won the Kentucky Derby.

2. What notable Kentucky Derby champions has Graham Motion trained throughout his career?

Graham Motion trained the incredible Kentucky Derby winners Animal Kingdom in 2011 and Country House in 2019, demonstrating his outstanding talent and knowledge in the horse racing industry.

3. What sets Graham Motion apart as a masterful trainer in the industry?

Graham Motion stands out as a top trainer in the horse racing world for his exceptional talent in nurturing and leading Kentucky Derby winners with skill, elegance, and unwavering commitment.

4. How does Graham Motion’s training approach contribute to his success with top-tier racehorses?

Graham Motion’s careful way of training stands out because he really gets each horse and what they need. He always aims for the best and never gives up, which has helped him become super successful with top racehorses. This led to him winning multiple Kentucky Derby titles.

5. What lasting impact has Graham Motion had on the world of horse racing through his training achievements?

Graham Motion has achieved a lot in his training career, such as coaching winners like Animal Kingdom at the Kentucky Derby. This success has made him highly respected and admired in the horse racing world, earning praise from fans and peers alike.

6. Can you highlight some key milestones or memorable moments from Graham Motion’s career as a renowned trainer?

Renowned trainer Graham Motion has had an impressive career with notable achievements like training Animal Kingdom, the winner of the 2011 Kentucky Derby, and African Story, who clinched victory at the 2014 Dubai World Cup. These successes establish him as a skilled horseman with a lasting impact on the world of horse racing.