Charles E. Whittingham

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Charlie Whittingham
Biography cover
Occupation Trainer
Born April 13, 1913
Chula Vista, California,
United States
Died April 20, 1999
Career wins 252 stakes
Major racing wins
Santa Anita Handicap
(1957, 1967, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1985, 1986, 1993)
Hollywood Gold Cup
(1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1978, 1982, 1985, 1987)
Arlington Million
(1982, 1986, 1990)
Washington, D.C. International Stakes (1981)
Santa Anita Derby (1987, 1989)
Japan Cup (1991) American Classics / Breeders' Cup wins:
Kentucky Derby (1986, 1989)
Preakness Stakes (1989)
Breeders' Cup Classic (1987, 1989)
Racing awards
Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer
(1971, 1982, 1989)
U.S. Champion Trainer by earnings
(1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1981, 1982)
United States Racing Hall of Fame (1974)
San Diego Hall of Champions (1993)
Charles Whittingham bust at Santa Anita Park
Whittingham Memorial Handicap at Hollywood Park
Significant horses
Ack Ack, Cougar II, Dahlia, Daryl's Joy, Estrapade, Exceller, Ferdinand, Flawlessly, Golden Pheasant, Greinton, Kennedy Road, Perrault, Porterhouse, Providential, Quack, Runaway Groom, Strawberry Road,
Sunday Silence, Turkish Trousers

Charles Edward Whittingham (April 13, 1913 – April 20, 1999) was an American Thoroughbred race horse trainer who is one of the most acclaimed trainers in U.S. racing history.[1]

Early career

Born in Chula Vista, California, Whittingham began working around race horses at a young age and was eventually taken on as an assistant by Hall of Fame trainer Horatio Luro. During World War II, his career was interrupted by service with the United States Marine Corps. At war's end, he returned as an assistant trainer until 1950, when he set up his own stable to take on the training of horses for various owners. He got his big break when Liz Whitney Tippett hired him to condition her Llangollen Farm racing stable. In 1953, Whittingham trained his first champion when Llangollen's Porterhouse earned U.S. Two-year-old colt honors.

Records and champions

Over his 49 years as a head trainer, Whittingham had 252 stakes wins and became the all-time leading trainer at both Hollywood Park Racetrack and Santa Anita Park.

Whittingham trained several champions, including American Horse of the Year honorees Ack Ack, Ferdinand, and Sunday Silence. Among others, he trained Daryl's Joy, champion New Zealand two-year-old, winner in Australia wfa championship W S Cox Plate, Victoria Derby, Oak Tree International (USA), Cougar II, the 1972 U.S. Champion Turf Horse, Kennedy Road, the 1983 Canadian Horse of the Year, and for a time, Exceller. He also trained the champion daughter of Affirmed, Flawlessly. His horses were named Champion Female Turf Horse on four occasions. In 1986, at the age of 73, he became the oldest trainer to win the Kentucky Derby, then won the prestigious race again three years later. Both Derby-winning horses went on to win the Breeders' Cup Classic.

He continued to train horses right up to the time of his death at age 86.


In 1974, Charlie Whittingham was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. In 1993, he was also inducted into the Breitbard Hall of Fame in the San Diego Hall of Champions. He won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer in the U.S. in 1971, 1982, and 1989 and U.S. Champion Trainer by earnings seven times: 1970 to 1973, 1975, 1981, and 1982.

Named in his honor is the Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap, a Grade 1 stakes race held annually at Hollywood Park. A bust of Whittingham and his dog Toby is at the paddock at Santa Anita Park. Del Mar Race Track has the Whittingham Sports Pub with photos and sports memorbilia honoring Charles Whittingham, and Hollywood Park Racetrack has the Whittingham Pub and Deli.

Selected other race wins


  1. Joseph Durso, "Charlie Whittingham, 86, California Horse Trainer, Dies", New York Times, April 21, 1999