Monday, November 4, 2013

Ten Broeck

The famous horse Ten Broeck (pictured above) was named for noted turfman Richard Ten Broeck. Richard Ten Broeck had been the proprietor of Metairie Race Course in antebellum New Orleans, and with a group of buyers had purchased the famous thoroughbred Lexington before purchasing the great horse outright. Ten Broeck sold Lexington to R. A. Alexander of Woodburn Farm for a then record price of $15,000 in 1859. 

Alexander's Woodford County neighbor, John Harper, a noted horse breeder himself, named a promising horse foaled on his Nantura Farm in 1872 for his old acquaintance. John Harper died in 1874 and being childless left Nantura to his nephew Frank Harper. 

As a three-year-old Ten Broeck beat Aristides (the first Kentucky Derby winner) in the Phoenix Hotel Stakes in Lexington, but lost to Aristides at the Derby in Louisville. Ten Broeck was trained by African American trainer Harry Colston and was often ridden by black jockey William "Billy" Walker.    

In the above image Walker rides Ten Broeck in the foreground against Parole and Tom Ochiltree at Pimlico in Baltimore in 1877 at the Great Sweepstakes. Parole won, Ten Broeck came in second, and Tom Ochiltree was third.

The following year Ten Broeck won what was likely his most famous race. It was a match race against California horse Mollie McCarty. Ten Broeck, ridden again by William Walker won and became immortalized in the folk song "Molly and Tenbrooks."  Here's a You Tube video of the song.

Ten Broeck retired to stud after a long career. He did not quite have the success as a sire as on the track, but produced some solid racers. Ten Broeck died in 1887 and was buried with monument at Nantura Farm. He was entered into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in Saratoga, New York, in 1982.

Images courtesy of the Library of Congress.


  1. No mention of his bringing to England his string in 1857? which included the great ,4-mile heat racers Lecomte and Pryor...both who died of disease contracted some say from horrible stable conditions...his mare Prioress recovered and proceeded to win the Cesarewitch ..he brought over other horses to make up for the ones he lost, this included Umpire, who won the Queen's Start Stakes in 1863, and was entered into the English Studbook...Ten Broeck was the beginning of the American invasion...which ultimately resulted in the draconian Jersey Act

    1. You’ve got this horse confused with Lexington