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Preston M. Burch

Preston M. Burch

American horse trainer
Preston M. Burch
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American horse trainer
Was Equestrian
From United States of America
Type Sports
Gender male
Birth 25 August 1884
Death 8 April 1978 (aged 93 years)
The details (from wikipedia)

Biography

Preston Morris Burch (August 25, 1884 – April 8, 1978) was an American Hall of Fame Thoroughbred racehorse trainer, breeder, and owner. [1]

Biography

Family background

Born in Augusta, Georgia, he was the son of Hall of Fame trainer, William P. Burch and a nephew of another prominent horseman, Green B. Morris. Both Preston Burch and his brother Selby followed in their father's footsteps. He was greatly influenced by not only his father and uncle, but also by another Hall of Fame trainer, Sam Hildreth.

Early career

Preston Burch began his career in 1902 with the purchase of his first racehorse Stuyve, a bay gelding by Stuyvesant and out of Katie A. (by Hyder Ali). The gelding raced and won in Burch's colors: blue silks with orange cuffs and an orange cap.

Setting up his own public stable in Canada, Preston Burch trained horses for prominent American owners such as Francis R. Hitchcock and John E. Madden.

Move to Europe

When the New York State Legislature under Governor Charles Evans Hughes outlawed all racetrack betting it resulted in the closing of every horse racetrack in the state after the end of the 1910 season. Following the state ban, the suddenly out-of-work Burch moved to France where he was able to make a living training both steeplechase and flat racing Thoroughbreds for wealthy American owners Harry LaMontagne, William Astor Chanler, George P. Eustis, and John Sanford. Competing at racetracks across Europe, among his successes was a win in the Grand Steeplechase International at Milan with Harry LaMontagne's horse Sultan VII. His racing career was interrupted by the outbreak of World War I in which he served in France with the American Field Service as a volunteer ambulance driver.

Return to United States

At the end of the War, Burch returned to the United States where he continued to train horses for John Sanford as well as for George Wingfield's Nevada Stock Farm and later for Detroit auto body magnate, Charles T. Fisher. Burch eventually set up operations on the East coast with major clients such as Admiral Cary T. Grayson, Samuel Ross, Walter M. Jeffords, Sr., William duPont, Jr., Marion duPont Scott, Donald P. Ross and Deering Howe.

Burch bred a number of successful horses, the most famous of which was the U.S. Racing Hall of Fame filly Gallorette foaled in 1942. The following year he took over as head trainer for the highly successful Brookmeade Stable, owned by Isabel Dodge Sloane. Running Brookmeade Stable, in 1950 he was the United States' leading money winner. That year he trained the two-year-old colt, Bold, with whom he would win the 1951 Preakness Stakes. [1]

In 1918, Burch saddled 1916 Kentucky Derby winner George Smith to victory in the Bowie Handicap at Pimlico Race Course by defeating two other Kentucky Derby winners. The 1917 winner, Omar Khayyam, finished vsecond and 1918 winner, Exterminator, ran third.

Known as someone who never allowed a horse to race unless it was in top condition, Burch was a founding member of the American Trainers Association. He was elected the Association's first president and served for seven years.

In 1953, Blood-Horse Publications published his book titled "Training Thoroughbred Horses" (ASIN: B000O6YU38). The widely read book was reprinted in 1973, 1976, and again in 1992. [2]

Retirement

In 1957, Burch retired after a career that spanned fifty-six years. Under his tutelage, assistant trainers such as Richard E. Handlen, Burley Parke, and Oscar White learned the art of conditioning Thoroughbreds and went on to very successful training careers of the own.

Preston Burch was inducted in the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1963. In 1973, he was the honored guest at the annual Testimonial Dinner given by the Thoroughbred Club of America. He was one of the trainers feature in the 2007 book Masters of the Turf: Ten Trainers Who Dominated Horse Racing's Golden Age by author Edward L. Bowen. [3]

Family

Burch's son Elliott also became a racehorse trainer. Like his father and grandfather, Elliott Burch had an outstanding career that resulted in his induction in the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1980. Another son of Preston Burch, William Preston Burch (1919–1998), was a Longtime executive with Gulfstream Aerospace whose son Preston M. Burch II is a 1966 graduate of Adelphi University with a degree in physics and is the manager of the Hubble Space Telescope Program and Deputy Associate Director for Astrophysics, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Burch lived in Dunn Loring, Virginia at the time of his death in 1978.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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