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James E. Fitzsimmons

James E. Fitzsimmons
Occupation Trainer
Birthplace Sheepshead Bay, New York
Birth date July 23, 1874
Death date March 11, 1966
Career wins 2,275
Major racing wins, honours & awards
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:
Kentucky Derby
(1930, 1935, 1939)
Preakness Stakes
(1930, 1935, 1955, 1957)
Belmont Stakes
(1930, 1932, 1935, 1936, 1939, 1955)
Racing awards
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
Significant horses
Hard Tack, Seabiscuit, Gallant Fox, Granville, Omaha, Johnstown, Nashua, Misty Morn, Bold Ruler

James Edward ("Sunny Jim") Fitzsimmons (July 23, 1874 – March 11, 1966) was a thoroughbred racehorse trainer.

Born in Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn, New York, Fitzsimmons began his career in 1885 working at a racetrack as a stable boy. [1] 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. 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 Belair's owner and the dispersal of its stock, Fitzsimmons continued to train for the Wheatley Stable where he conditioned Preakness winner and the 1957 American Horse of the Year Bold Ruler who sired the great 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.

Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons died in 1966 in Miami, Florida. He is buried in the Holy Cross Cemetery, Brooklyn.

Selected other major stakes race wins:


  1. 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.


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