Reigh Count

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Reigh Count
DamsireCount Schomberg
CountryUnited States
BreederWillis Sharpe Kilmer
OwnerFannie Hertz. Racing colours: Yellow, black circle on sleeves, yellow cap.
TrainerHenry McDaniel
Bert S. Michell
Record27: 12-4-0
Major wins
Walden Stakes (1927)
Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (1927)
Huron Handicap (1928)
Saratoga Cup (1928)
Lawrence Realization (1928)
Miller Stakes (1928)
Jockey Club Gold Cup (1928)
Coronation Cup (1929)

U.S. Triple Crown series:
Kentucky Derby (1928)

U.S. Champion 2-Yr-Old Colt (1927)
U.S. Champion 3-Yr-Old Colt (1928)
United States Horse of the Year (1928)
United States Racing Hall of Fame (1978)
Reigh Count Drive in Florence, Kentucky

Reigh Count (April 13, 1925–April 8, 1948) was an American Hall of Fame Thoroughbred racehorse who won the 1928 Kentucky Derby and the 1929 Coronation Cup in England.[1][2]

Reigh Count was bred by Willis Sharpe Kilmer and foaled at Court Manor near New Market, Virginia.

Racing career[edit]

1927: two-year-old season[edit]

He raced well as a two-year-old, winning four of fourteen races. He was initially trained by Hall of Fame inductee Henry McDaniel[3] but after being sold to Fannie Hertz, by Bert S. Michell. A controversial finish in the Futurity Stakes at Belmont Park (the richest race in the United States at the time) possibly deprived him of another win. Just before the finish line, he held the lead. But due to either misjudgment of the finish line by his jockey or (possibly) intentional instructions by his owner, his stablemate Anita Peabody won by the barest of margins. The next day's New York Times photo captured the jockeys, side-by-side, looking at each other at the wire.[4]

1928: three-year-old season[edit]

At age three Reigh Count was the dominant horse in America, winning six races including the 1928 Kentucky Derby.[5] Jockey Chick Lang's victory three years earlier in the Queen's Plate made him the only Canadian jockey in history to win the most prestigious race both in Canada and in the United States. An injury kept Reigh Count out of both the Preakness and Belmont Stakes. However, later that summer in the Lawrence Realization, he defeated Preakess winner Victorian. That fall he took on and defeated older horses in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, which had a field including Chance Shot, Display, and Diavolo. Reigh Count's performances in 1928 earned him unofficial United States Horse of the Year honors. Although no formal award was made he was recognised in contemporary sources as "the champion racehorse of the year"[6]

1929: four-year-old season[edit]

In 1929 Reigh Count was shipped to race in England at age four, with the Ascot Gold Cup as his principal objective and attracted considerable attention in the British press.[7] In an interview in New York, Hertz announced that he believed Reigh Count to be the best horse in the world and that "he is over there to prove it".[8] Reigh Count began his British campaign with disappointing efforts at Lingfield and Newbury where he was apparently unsuited by the cold weather and straight tracks.[9] while his owner's "dazzling" racing silks provoked amusement among British racegoers.[10] In Coronation Cup at Epsom on 5 June however Reigh Count recorded an important victory when he led in the last strides to win the race by a short head from Athford.[11] Later in the month he contested the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot and finished second to Invershin. His improving British form led to some regret when he was returned to the United States shortly afterwards.[12] TIME magazine reported on December 16, 1929[13] that his owner had turned down an offer of $1 million for Reigh Count, saying "I think a fellow who would pay $1,000,000 for a horse ought to have his head examined, and the fellow who turned it down must be absolutely unbalanced". Had the offer been accepted, it would have been by far the largest amount ever paid for a race horse.

Stud record[edit]

Retired to stand at stud at his owner's Stoner Creek Stud in Paris, Kentucky, Reigh Count produced 22 graded stakes race winners including:


Pedigree of Reigh Count
Sundridge Amphion Speculum or Rosebery
Sierra Springfield
Sweet Briar St. Frusquin St. Simon
Presentation Orion
Count Schomberg Aughrim Xenophon
Clonavarn Baliol
Pitti St. Frusquin St. Simon
Florence Wisdom


  1. ^ "Reigh Counts Racing Record". Daily Racing Form at University of Kentucky Archives. 1929-06-25. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  2. ^ Racing Hall of Fame Retrieved 2011-06-24.
  3. ^ "Henry McDaniel at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame". 1947-11-01. Retrieved 2012-02-27.
  4. ^ Ilsley, Henry (18 September 1927). "ANITA PEABODY FIRST IN $100,000 FUTURITY WHILE 40,000 CHEER". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  5. ^ Reigh Count's 1928 Kentucky Derby win Retrieved 2011-06-24.
  6. ^ "Reigh Count to go to Europe". Painesville Telegraph. 1928-11-12. Retrieved 2012-02-27.
  7. ^ "NOTES AND COMMENTS". Evening Post. 1929-02-20. Retrieved 2012-02-27.
  8. ^ "NOTES AND COMMENTS". Evening Post. 1929-04-12. Retrieved 2012-02-27.
  9. ^ "ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS". 1929-05-28. Retrieved 2012-02-27.
  10. ^ "RACING FIXTURES". Evening Post. 1929-06-20. Retrieved 2012-02-27.
  11. ^ "REIGH COUNT". Evening Post. 1929-07-23. Retrieved 2012-02-27.
  12. ^ "NOTES AND COMMENTS". Evening Post. 1929-08-02. Retrieved 2012-02-27.
  13. ^ "Sport: Reigh Count" Retrieved 2011-06-24.

External links[edit]