Owned by Greentree Stables, the bay colt was the son of Menow out of the mare Gaga. Tom Fool was trained by John M. Gaver, Sr. and ridden by Ted Atkinson. In his first season racing as a two-year-old, he had five wins and two seconds in seven starts, a performance that earned him Champion 2-Year-Old Colt honors for 1951.
Much was expected of Tom Fool in his three-year-old season, but after he finished second in the Wood Memorial Stakes, the horse's veterinarian discovered he had been running with a high fever and the illness forced Tom Fool out of racing for more than two months. While the 1952 racing season was a difficult one, he still managed to win the majority of his races. In 1953, as a healthy four-year-old Tom Fool showed his greatness. Undefeated in ten races, he became only the second horse to win New York's Handicap Triple: the Metropolitan, Suburban, and Brooklyn Handicaps. En route to being voted the Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year, Tom Fool also won the Whitney Stakes and captured the Pimlico Special in his final race.
As a sire
Retired to stud, with a career record of 21-7-1 in 30 starts, Tom Fool sired numerous stakes winners, including:
- Buckpasser - 1966 U.S. Horse of the Year, U.S. Racing Hall of Fame inductee
- Tompion - multiple stakes winner, including Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby, Blue Grass Stakes and Travers Stakes in 1960
Tom Fool was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1960 and in the Blood-Horse magazine ranking of the top 100 U.S. thoroughbred champions of the 20th Century, he ranked #11.
He died in 1976.