Count Turf

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Count Turf
Sire Count Fleet
Grandsire Reigh Count
Dam Delmarie
Damsire Pompey
Sex Stallion
Foaled 1948
Country United States
Colour Bay
Breeder Dr. & Mrs. Frank Porter Miller
Owner Jack Joseph Amiel
Trainer 1) Sol Rutchick
2) William B. Finnegan
Record 45: 8-4-6
Earnings $166,375
Major wins
Dover Stakes (1950)
Kentucky Derby (1951)
Questionnaire Handicap (1953)
Count Turf Drive, Louisville, Kentucky
Last updated on May 27, 2010

Count Turf (1948–1966) was an American Thoroughbred racehorse best known as the winner of the 1951 Kentucky Derby. He is one of only two equine families where three generations have won the Kentucky Derby. His grandsire Reigh Count won the 1928 Derby and then his sire Count Fleet won it in 1943. Count Fleet went on to win the U.S. Triple Crown. The only other father/son/grandson combination to win the Derby was Pensive (1944) who sired Ponder (1949) who in turn sired the 1956 winner, Needles.


Bred and raised at Runnymede Farm near Paris, Kentucky, Count Turf was owned by New York City restaurateur Jack Amiel who bought him at a yearling sale for $3,700. Amiel named him Count for his sire and Turf for his Turf Restaurant in Times Square. In the mid-1950s, Amiel dispensed with his ownership of the Turf Restaurant and became a co-owner of next-door's Jack Dempsey's Broadway Restaurant.

Racing career

Racing at age two, Count Turf's best showings were second-place finishes in both the Youthful Stakes and the Christiana Stakes. Wintered in Florida, at age three he showed little promise in the races leading up to the 1951 Kentucky Derby. Conditioned by Turkish-born trainer Sol Rutchick, the colt finished off the board in the Flamingo and Everglade Stakes in Florida and in the Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack in Jamaica, New York.

In the 1951 Kentucky Derby, Count Turf was one of twenty horses entered. Harry Guggenheim's colt Battle Morn was the betting favorite with Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney's eventual Horse of the Year Counterpoint, the second choice. Counterpoint was Count Turf's half-brother through their common sire, Count Fleet. Given almost no chance of winning, Count Turf was part of a five-horse betting "field" with long-shot odds of 15-1. In the race, he was well placed in the front-middle of the pack and after taking the lead at the top of the homestretch he never looked back and won by four lengths over an over 53-1 long shot named Royal Mustang.[1] Favorite Battle Morn never was in contention and finished 6th while Counterpoint tired badly after making a run at the leaders and wound up 11th. For future U.S. Hall of Hame jockey Conn McCreary, it was his second Derby victory, having won the 1944 race aboard Pensive.

For the ensuing two legs of the Triple Crown series, Count Turf did not run in Preakness Stakes but then finished seventh in the Belmont Stakes, twenty lengths back of winner Counterpoint. In October 1951, Count Turf was sent to race in California under the care of trainer Bill Finnegan. [2] Racing at age four and five, he met with limited success, his most notable performance a win in the 1953 Questionnaire Handicap at Jamaica Racetrack but he came out of the race lame and was retired.[3]

Stud record

At stud, Count Turf stood at Almahurst Farm in Nicholasville, Kentucky, then at Elmhurst Farm near Lexington, and finally at Windy Hills Farm in Westminster, Maryland. As a sire, his accomplishments were modest, producing only two stakes race winners. One of those was Manassa Mauler, so-named by Jack Amiel for the widely known pugilistic nickname of his friend Jack Dempsey.

Count Turf died in 1966 and is buried at Windy Hills Farm.


Pedigree of Count Turf
Count Fleet
Reigh Count Sunreigh Sundridge
Sweet Briar
Contessina Count Schomberg
Quickly Haste Maintenant
Miss Malaprop
Stephanie Stefan The Great
Pompey Sun Briar Sundridge
Sweet Briar
Cleopatra Corcyra
Charmimg Note Polymelian Polymelus
Alburn Alcantara
Face A Main