Edward D. Brown
|Edward D. Brown|
Edward D. Brown (c.1900)
|Occupation||Jockey, trainer, owner|
Lexington, Kentucky, United States
|Died||May 11, 1906|
|Career wins||Not found|
|Major racing wins|
Kentucky Oaks (1893)
|United States Racing Hall of Fame (1984)|
|Kingfisher, Baden-Baden, Spendthrift
Hindoo, Ben Brush, Plaudit
Edward Dudley Brown (1850 – May 11, 1906) was an American who, although born as a slave, rose to become a Belmont Stakes-winning jockey, a Kentucky Derby-winning horse trainer, and an owner of several of the top racehorses during the last decade of the 19th century, earning him induction into the United States Racing Hall of Fame.
Born in Lexington, Kentucky, Ed Brown at the age of seven was sold by his owner to Robert A. Alexander, proprietor of the famous Woodburn Stud near Midway, Kentucky. Brown worked as a groom and grew up developing a keen understanding of horse breeding and how to condition horses for racing. His small boyhood stature and knowledge of horses afforded him the opportunity to become a jockey. Following his emancipation after the Civil War, Brown remained as an employee of Robert Alexander and rode a number of his horses to victory in important races.
Robert Alexander died in 1867, and two years later Woodburn Stud manager Daniel Swigert left to establish Stockwood Farm. Ed Brown accepted an offer to ride for Swigert's new stable and in 1870 he won the Belmont Stakes aboard Kingfisher. However, as he developed into a young man his weight gain hampered his ability to successfully compete in flat racing and for a short time he switched to riding steeplechase horses. With his vast knowledge of thoroughbreds, in 1874 Ed Brown turned to training Swigert's horses. In 1877 he conditioned Kentucky Derby winner Baden-Baden and was the trainer of the future Hall of Fame colt Hindoo before he was sold at age two by Swigert to the Dwyer Brothers Stable.
Ed Brown eventually went out on his own. His keen knowledge of horses and breeding saw him buy unraced horses that would be among some of the best racers during the final decade of the 19th century. In 1893 Brown won the Kentucky Oaks with his filly Monrovia, a feat he would accomplish again in 1900 with Etta. Because he lacked the necessary capital to compete with the millionaires who dominated the sport, Brown used his limited funds to buy horses he believed had great potential, then trained and raced them to the point where their success attracted purchase offers from other wealthy owners. Such was the case of Ben Brush, whom Brown bought in partnership as a weanling and trained into the U.S. Champion 2-year-old of 1895. Sold to the Dwyer Brothers Stable, Ben Brush won the 1896 Kentucky Derby. In a twist of fate, Ulysses – a two-year-old horse Brown was unable to sell – finished last to Ben Brush in the only Derby that Brown ever contested as an owner. Similarly, Brown purchased Plaudit from breeder Dr. J. D. Neet and trained the colt until reselling him to John E. Madden, who then won the 1898 Kentucky Derby.
Brown used his profits to build a quality racing stable that competed under the name Ed Brown & Co. After a career that spanned 30 years, poor health forced his retirement in 1903. He died three years later in Louisville, reportedly one of the wealthiest African Americans in the state of Kentucky.
In 1984, Edward D. Brown's important role in thoroughbred racing was recognized with his induction into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, as "a standout jockey and then one of the top trainers of the 19th century".