R. Thomas Smith
|Birth date||May 20, 1878|
|Death date||January 23, 1957|
|Career wins||29 Stakes winners|
|Major racing wins, honours & awards|
|Major racing wins|
Bay Meadows Handicap (1937, 1938)
Kentucky Derby (1947)
|U.S. Champion Thoroughbred Trainer by earnings (1940, 1945)|
National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame (2001)|
Washington Racing Hall of Fame (2003)
|Kayak II, Seabiscuit, Beaugay, Star Pilot, Jet Pilot|
Robert Thomas "Tom" Smith (May 20, 1878 - January 23, 1957) was an American thoroughbred race horse trainer. Born in a log cabin in the backwoods of northwest Georgia, as a young man he trained horses for the United States Cavalry and worked on a cattle ranch. In 1934, he got a job with the wealthy businessman Charles S. Howard, who owned the racehorse Seabiscuit.
Known as "Silent Tom" because of his quiet nature, Smith would become famous as the trainer of Seabiscuit. In the 1940s, he was hired to train for Maine Chance Farm, owned by cosmetics tycoon Elizabeth Arden. Twice he was the U.S. Champion Trainer by earnings: first in 1940, and again in 1945.
On November 8, 1945, Smith was suspended from racing for a year by The Jockey Club after being found responsible for administering the stimulant ephedrine via an atomizer to one of his horses. The drug was given to the horse by the stable foreman without Smith's specific authorization, but under New York racing rules he was held responsible as the horse's trainer.
In his absence, Roy Waldron trained for a time for Maine Chance Farm, winning the Pimlico Futurity with Star Pilot, before Smith's 36 year old son, Jimmy, took over for the remainder of the suspension.
Tom Smith retired from racing in 1955, having trained 29 graded stakes race winners. He died two years later in Glendale, California, and was buried there in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park.
In 2000, Smith was elected to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame and was inducted in 2001. His life's story was told by author Laura Hillenbrand's best-selling 2001 book Seabiscuit: An American Legend.
Smith was played by Academy Award winning actor Chris Cooper in the 2003 film Seabiscuit.
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