By Mint Julep

John D. Hertz Owner: Two Kentucky Derby Winners

kentucky derby winner reigh count 1928

In this brief overview, we dive into the extraordinary life of John D. Hertz – a Hungarian immigrant who transformed himself into a business tycoon. Not only did he revolutionize the transportation sector, but he also made an everlasting impact on Thoroughbred horse racing. Starting from his early days as a newspaper copyboy to establishing both the Yellow Cab Company and later The Hertz Corporation, Hertz’s influence goes far beyond just entrepreneurial ventures. His love for Thoroughbred horse racing led him to own two Kentucky Derby champions, highlighting his broad interests and accomplishments in both the corporate world and the equestrian domain.

Early Life and Family Background

John D. Hertz Sr., born Sándor Herz on April 10, 1879, in Szklabinya within the Hungarian Kingdom, had an adventurous life journey. He moved to Chicago as a young Jewish immigrant and faced challenges due to limited formal education after leaving home early. However, he didn’t let that stop him from diving into different roles like being a newspaper copyboy before making his mark in the business world.

Starting with little schooling and facing tough times as a young immigrant didn’t deter Hertz; instead, it fueled his determination and entrepreneurial spirit. His story is about rising above obstacles and grabbing opportunities – showcasing resilience at its best.

Hertz’s transformation from a struggling youth to a successful business figure highlights how grit and ambition can shape one’s destiny. Beginning as a copyboy set the stage for an illustrious career spanning various industries where he achieved great success.

The road John D. Hertz Sr. traveled wasn’t easy or privileged but was paved by sheer willpower and relentless perseverance – proving that hard work combined with dedication can unlock doors believed to be forever closed.

Introduction to Business Career

John D. Hertz was a trailblazer in the automotive and transportation industries, embarking on his journey with an unconventional start – he didn’t even know how to drive when he first started selling cars in 1904. Despite this initial challenge, his determination never wavered, eventually leading him to establish the Yellow Cab Company in Chicago in 1915. This marked the beginning of his remarkable career that would go on to revolutionize urban transport systems.

Hertz’s entrepreneurial spirit soared as he expanded his presence within the transport sector. In addition to founding the Yellow Cab Company, he also launched other innovative initiatives like the Chicago Motor Coach Company and Yellow Cab Manufacturing Company. These ventures not only showcased his sharp business acumen but also solidified his reputation as a visionary leader unafraid to challenge traditional norms for greater efficiency and progress.

The success story of John D. Hertz demonstrates how persistence combined with foresight can pave the way for groundbreaking achievements across different industries. His strategic investments and bold decision-making distinguished him as a pioneer who reshaped urban mobility landscapes during a time of rapid industrialization and societal change.

Beyond being just a savvy businessman, John D.Hertz’s legacy goes far beyond boardrooms and balance sheets; it embodies resilience, innovation, and an unwavering commitment to excellence. His contributions have made an enduring impact not only on businesses but also on communities where his philanthropic efforts continue to make meaningful differences today.

The Pros & Cons of Racing Legends


  1. Horse racing icons motivate upcoming generations of fans who love the sport.

  2. They display top-tier skills and unwavering commitment in horse racing.

  3. Their accomplishments enrich the long history and customs of thoroughbred racing.

  4. Often, these legendary racers become adored figures, building strong connections with fans.

  5. They inject thrill and prestige into races, drawing larger crowds to watch.

  6. Through their triumphs, they can boost the reputation and competitiveness of horse racing.


  1. Current racers often feel overwhelmed by the pressure to match the successes of past legends.

  2. Newer talents may struggle to gain recognition as they are overshadowed by established legends in the sport.

  3. Some legendary figures face criticism due to controversies or scandals that tarnish their legacy.

  4. The focus on historical accomplishments can divert attention from addressing current challenges within the sport.

  5. When racing legends retire, there could be a drop in viewership and interest among fans.

  6. Unrealistic standards for future participants can emerge when high expectations are set by iconic racers.

Expansion and Acquisitions

In 1926, John D. Hertz made a bold move that changed his business path when he sold most of his companies to General Motors. This decision pushed him into the big leagues of corporate success. By joining their board of directors, he showed how skilled he was at spotting growth opportunities and working with top industry players.

When Hertz took back the car rental business through The Omnibus Corporation, it revealed his drive and entrepreneurial flair as he navigated the complex world of mergers and acquisitions. This daring step set the stage for what would later become The Hertz Corporation, a name known for excellence in transportation services.

As The Hertz Corporation eventually got listed on the respected New York Stock Exchange, John D. Hertz cemented his legacy not just as a successful businessman but also as a visionary who grasped the importance of adapting and growing in an ever-changing market landscape. His journey from selling shares to regaining control over his ventures showcases his determination and dedication to building enduring businesses that withstand time’s challenges.”

Philanthropic Initiatives

In 1953, Hertz started the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation with a goal to support talented individuals in applied sciences. The foundation offered prestigious fellowships to bright students to help them on their academic paths. By creating this foundation, he showed his dedication not just to business success but also to fostering innovation and excellence.

During the Cold War era, Hertz expanded his philanthropic efforts and was recognized for his significant contributions. In 1958, the Department of Defense honored him with a civilian award for his impactful work. This recognition highlighted his strong support for initiatives that advanced knowledge and technology during a critical time in history.

Through the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation, John D. Hertz demonstrated not only financial generosity but also belief in investing in promising individuals within applied sciences. The impact of these fellowships continued through generations as recipients were encouraged to pursue groundbreaking research and make meaningful contributions to society.

The accolades from the Department of Defense showcased not just personal achievements but also how influential figures like him could shape industries beyond their immediate reach. His recognition proved that dedicated individuals can create lasting impacts that go beyond conventional expectations or limitations.

John D. Hertz’s efforts in founding the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation remain as enduring reminders of his vision for empowering future innovators and thought leaders across various scientific fields. His legacy continues through countless beneficiaries who have been inspired by his commitment towards promoting excellence in applied sciences – reflecting a deep desire to leave behind a meaningful impact that stretches into realms of discovery yet unknown.”

Legacy of John D. Hertz: Businessman & Philanthropist

Name John D. Hertz
Born April 10, 1879
Died October 8, 1961
Occupation(s) Businessman
Racehorse owner/breeder
Board member of General Motors
Spouse Fannie Kesner (m. 1903-1961)
Children 3

Personal Life and Family

In 1903, Hertz married his beloved wife Fannie Kesner. They had three children together – Leona Jane, John Jr., and Helen. Their son made a bold move by changing his name to honor his father before pursuing a successful career in advertising. Adding excitement to the family story, John Jr. even got hitched to the famous film star Myrna Loy.

The bond within the Hertz household was built on love and strength, bringing unity among its members through thick and thin. From sharing laughter during happy times to giving silent support in tough moments, their family stood strong together.

As time passed, they celebrated milestones together while facing challenges with unwavering support from one another. Their home echoed with stories of the past and emotions that tied them closely as they navigated life’s twists and turns.

Their tales are intertwined – each member shaped uniquely yet united under the same bond of kinship. Whether dreaming under moonlit skies or celebrating achievements big or small; every moment shared spoke volumes about their enduring love that held them steady through all kinds of situations.

With each passing day turning like pages in an unfinished book, echoes from generations past whispered secrets cherished deep within hearts beating as one across time – an eternal melody softly playing beneath everyday conversations filled with laughter ringing clear amid unspoken feelings expressed only through pure love itself

Thoroughbred Horse Racing Ventures

John D. Hertz’s venture into Thoroughbred horse racing showed his love for the sport and impressive success in various business endeavors. Teaming up with his wife Fannie, they got involved in owning farms in Illinois and California, with Stoner Creek Stud as their main breeding spot near Paris, Kentucky. Together, they raised notable racehorses like Reigh Count, who achieved victory under their care.

Hertz had a sharp eye for talent on the racetrack and beyond, where he excelled at identifying potential champions among pedigrees and bloodlines. His dedication to breeding top-quality horses paid off through magnificent steeds that triumphed on prestigious tracks across the country. With each galloping stride of his equine stars, Hertz cemented his legacy not just as a savvy businessman but also as a respected figure in Thoroughbred horse racing.

The partnership between John D. Hertz and Fannie Hertz left an enduring impact on generations of equestrian enthusiasts and professionals alike. Their pursuit of excellence resonated through every sound from their prized horses’ whinnies to every trophy lifted in celebration of hard-earned victories.

Apart from leading successful businesses to prosperity, John D. Hertz found joy amidst the cheers at racetracks where dreams were chased by swift champions bred under his watchful gaze. The excitement of watching one’s own horses cross the finish line first mirrors tasting sweet victory distilled from effort, determination—a feeling that surely struck a chord with this innovative couple.

Peeling back layers of history surrounding John D. Hertz’s diverse life journey—from building empires rooted in steel wheels’ revolutions to shaping legacies atop hooves pounding against turf—we reveal threads woven with perseverance, vision,

love for family…and above all—an unwavering passion for majestic creatures whose grace embodies both unleashed power on tracks

and bonds formed within hearts beating together beneath shared aspirations transcending time itself

Legendary stories and fascinating tales about John D. Hertz

  1. ### The Exciting Life of John D. Hertz: A True American Success Story

  2. **From Driving Cabs to Building a Business Empire:** Imagine starting off as a cab driver in Chicago and then skyrocketing your way up to becoming a big-shot businessman like John D. Hertz did! He kicked things off by founding the Yellow Cab Company and later went on to take over The Hertz Corporation, one of the top car rental companies out there.

  3. **A Champion in More Ways Than One:** Not only was Hertz killing it in business, but he also had his game strong in horse racing! He actually owned two Kentucky Derby winners – Reigh Count back in 1928 and Count Fleet in 1943! Talk about being an all-around winner!

  4. **Changing How We Get Around:** Hertz didn't just sit back; he shook things up big time by introducing cool stuff like the whole idea of renting cars, making traveling around so much easier for everyone.

  5. **Giving Back Big Time:** This guy had a heart of gold too! Besides bringing home the bacon with his businesses, Mr.Hertz made sure to give back generously by supporting important causes like education and healthcare – truly making a difference that lasts.

  6. **Shaping our World Today:** Even after all these years, John D.Hertz's name is still ringing bells when it comes to quality service both on wheels and at the racetrack – leaving behind such an awesome legacy that continues inspiring us today while shaping what we know as American culture into something grand for generations ahead."

Board Memberships and Investments

John D. Hertz didn’t just stick to transportation – he made moves in various boardrooms too, like leading Benzoline Motor Fuel Company and several coach manufacturing companies. He even got into finance by teaming up with Lehman Brothers investment bank.

Hertz had a wide range of interests that set him apart. Instead of focusing on one industry, he was always on the lookout for different investments and opportunities beyond his taxi cab beginnings. This flexible approach not only spread out his risks but also showed off his ability to do well in different areas – proving how sharp he really was when it came to business.

Being a leader in so many diverse businesses shows how versatile Hertz was and highlights the connections between industries. Each sector gave him new perspectives that could be applied elsewhere – a talent that definitely played a part in making him such a successful entrepreneur and investor superstar.

Legacy Through Business Ventures

John D. Hertz was a savvy businessman who made a big impact on public transportation and car rentals in America by buying and selling companies in the industry. He played a key role in shaping how people got around cities and rented cars for their trips, working with the Yellow Cab Company and Yellow Coach Manufacturing Company as part of General Motors.

Hertz had a great eye for spotting opportunities that helped modernize transportation back then. By making these companies more efficient and expanding them, he changed the way people traveled daily while setting up foundations that lasted long after his time.

His influence went beyond just making money; it affected how individuals interacted with American cities at large. Even today, we see the effects of his decisions when we talk about sustainable transport options and rental services.

The results of Hertz’s work are still felt today as communities enjoy better access to reliable transport thanks to his forward-thinking ideas within the industry. His ability to predict trends and take advantage of new markets set him apart as an innovative leader whose impact goes beyond traditional business boundaries.

In summary, John D. Hertz is remembered not only for his financial success or smart deals but also for leaving behind a legacy that changed everyday experiences for many across the country. He is known for innovation, progress, and lasting influence outside just boardrooms – truly establishing himself as an important figure worth remembering throughout history.

Death and Burial

John D. Hertz passed away on October 8, 1961, ending an era where he made a significant impact across various industries. His influence continues to be felt today long after his death.

Two years later, John D. Hertz and his wife were laid to rest at Woodlawn Cemetery in Bronx instead of their initial burial place at Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago. This move symbolized the lasting legacy they left behind in American business history.

Choosing to be buried together emphasizes the strong connection between John D. Hertz and his wife, showcasing not only their shared life journey but also their unity even beyond death. Their final resting place reflects the values that defined their lives.

By honoring John D. Hertz and his wife with a joint burial at Woodlawn Cemetery, it is evident that they were more than individuals – they were a powerful duo who influenced industries and touched many lives along the way; from horse racing fans celebrating Derby wins to aspiring entrepreneurs inspired by their spirit.”


1. What were the names of the two Kentucky Derby champions owned by John D. Hertz?

In 1928, John D. Hertz proudly owned the champion Reigh Count at the Kentucky Derby. Fifteen years later, in 1943, he celebrated another victory as owner of Count Fleet at the same prestigious race.

2. How did John D. Hertz's success in the business world influence his involvement in Thoroughbred horse racing?

John D. Hertz found success in the business world by creating the Yellow Cab Company and Hertz Rent-A-Car. This allowed him to invest in Thoroughbred horse racing, where he owned two Kentucky Derby Champions.

3. Can you elaborate on John D. Hertz's contributions to the Thoroughbred racing industry beyond his ownership of Derby champions?

John D. Hertz didn't just own Derby champions – he also made a big impact on the Thoroughbred racing industry by getting involved in breeding, training, and supporting different racing events.

4. In what ways did John D. Hertz's philanthropic endeavors intersect with his passion for Thoroughbred horse racing?

John D. Hertz loved horse racing and generously supported charities related to horses, showing his dedication to giving back to the community and promoting the sport he was passionate about.

5. How did John D. Hertz's legacy as a businessman and family man shape his approach to owning and breeding racehorses?

John D. Hertz was a successful businessman and devoted family man who believed in striving for excellence. This belief influenced his work with racehorses, resulting in the impressive achievement of owning and breeding two Kentucky Derby Champions.

6. What lasting impact has John D. Hertz left on the world of Thoroughbred horse racing through his ownership of two Kentucky Derby champions?

John D. Hertz's legacy as a key figure in Thoroughbred horse racing was sealed when he owned two Kentucky Derby champions, Reigh Count in 1928 and Count Fleet in 1943. This showcased his talent for spotting potential stars and his deep love for the sport.