Thomas Clay McDowell
|Birthplace||Lexington, Kentucky, United States|
|Birth date||March 9, 1866|
|Death date||February 9, 1935|
|Career wins||Not found|
|Major racing wins, honours & awards|
|Major racing wins|
American Classic Race wins:|
Kentucky Derby (1902)
|Alan-a-Dale, The Manager|
Born at Ashland Farm in Lexington, Kentucky, Thomas was the fourth of the seven children of Anne Clay (1837-1917) and her husband, Major Henry Clay McDowell (1832-1899). A brother, Henry C. McDowell, Jr. was a noted jurist and a sister, Madeline McDowell Breckinridge, was a prominent social reformer. His mother was the daughter of Henry Clay, Jr. and in 1883 she and her husband purchased the 325-acre estate. Henry Clay McDowell bred Standardbreds trotters for harness racing and son Thomas would make it a major breeder of Thoroughbreds for flat racing.
In 1888 Thomas McDowell married Mary Mann Goodloe (1866-1953) with whom he had two children: daughter Ann Clay McDowell (b. 1891) and son, William Cassius Goodloe McDowell (b.1895).
In the early 1900s, McDowell trained for the stable of William Kissam Vanderbilt but is best remembered as the breeder, owner, and trainer of the colt Alan-a-Dale who won the 1902 Kentucky Derby. McDowell's other top horses included four fillies who each won the Kentucky Oaks and The Manager who was the 1912 American Horse of the Year.
In 1925 Thomas McDowell acquired Buck Pond Farm in Versailles, Kentucky from the estate of Louis Marshall. McDowell introduced Thoroughbred horses to Buck Pond and operated it until his death in 1935. Joseph K. Nelson, a wealthy Chicago businessman and a native of Woodford County, Kentucky, purchased the farm from McDowell's heirs in 1936.