James E. Fitzsimmons
|James E. Fitzsimmons|
|Born||July 23, 1874
Sheepshead Bay, New York
|Died||March 11, 1966
|Major racing wins|
|Jockey Club Gold Cup
(1929, 1930, 1933, 1934, 1944, 1955, 1956)
Empire City Handicap
(1930, 1932, 1934, 1940, 1942, 1946)
Wood Memorial Stakes
(1930, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1955, 1957) American Classic Race wins:
(1930, 1935, 1939)
(1930, 1935, 1955, 1957)
(1930, 1932, 1935, 1936, 1939, 1955)
|U.S. Champion Trainer by earnings
(1930, 1932, 1936, 1939, 1955)
|United States' Racing Hall of Fame (1958)
National Turf Writers Association annual Mr. Fitz Award
|Hard Tack, Seabiscuit, Gallant Fox, Granville, Omaha, Johnstown, Nashua, Misty Morn, Bold Ruler|
Born in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn in 1874, Fitzsimmons began his career in 1885 working at a racetrack as a stable boy. After nearly ten less-than-successful years as a thoroughbred jockey, he became too heavy for that job and took up the training of horses. He went on to have one of the most successful careers in racing history that spanned seventy years from 1894–1963 and produced 2,275 race wins.
Known both as "Sunny Jim" and as "Mr. Fitz," he trained three Kentucky Derby winners, four Preakness Stakes winners, and six Belmont Stakes winners. Included were two U.S. Triple Crown champions, Gallant Fox in 1930 and Omaha in 1935. His total of thirteen Classic wins was tied by D. Wayne Lukas in 2000 and broken by Lukas in 2013. Five times, Fitzsimmons was the season's top money-winning trainer.
In 1923 Jim Fitzsimmons took over training at Belair Stud. Following the death of William Woodward, Jr., Belair's owner, in 1955 and the dispersal of its stock, Fitzsimmons continued to train for the Wheatley Stable where he conditioned Preakness winner and 1957 American Horse of the Year Bold Ruler, who sired Secretariat.
In recognition of his accomplishments, in 1958 Fitzsimmons was inducted in the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.
The National Turf Writers Association created an award in his name called the "Mr. Fitz Award" to honor a member of the horse racing fraternity each year.
Selected other major stakes race wins:
- Nichols, Joe. "AQUEDUCT PAUSES TO SALUTE MR. FITZ; Bettors Forget the Mutuels to Hail Retiring Trainer --Pollingfold Triumphs AQUEDUCT PAUSES TO CHEER MR. FITZ Some Small Delays A Peerless Trainer A Day Like Others", The New York Times, June 16, 1963. Accessed November 16, 2009. "Born July 23, 1874, in the Sheepshead Bay section of Brooklyn, where he still lives..."
- Breslin, Jimmy Sunny Jim: The life of America's most beloved horseman, James Fitzsimmons (1962) Doubleday & Company, Inc.
- Bowen, Edward L. Masters of the Turf: Ten Trainers Who Dominated Horse Racing's Golden Age (2007) Eclipse Press (ISBN 978-1581501490)
- James Fitzsimmons at the United States' National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame
- James Fitzsimmons and the Kentucky Derby