|Breeder||D. H. Wills|
|Owner||Mr. and Mrs. Fred Turner, Jr. Colors: White, Yellow "T", White Band on Yellow Sleeves, Yellow and White Cap.|
|Trainer||Frank E. Childs|
|Tomy Lee is a thoroughbred racehorse out of Auld Alliance by Tudor Minstrel. He was born around 1956 in United Kingdom, and was bred by D. H. Wills.|
American Classic Race wins:|
Kentucky Derby (1959)
|Horse (Equus ferus caballus)|
|Last updated on September 10, 2008|
Foaled in England, Tomy Lee was purchased for $6,762 by Fred Turner, Jr. as a companion to a colt he really wanted, a son of the famous Tulyar. That horse (called Tuleg), cost him $25,000. Turner believed horses need company, so both were brought to the United States as weanlings. Tuleg could not race at two because of an injury, and at three bowed a tendon. But Tomy Lee, at two, stood 16 hands and weighed a bit over a thousand pounds and was sound. The press called the bay with four white stockings a greyhound, slim and perfectly proportioned. Sent to California for his first year on the track, he won his first six races. Then he was sent East to run in two more, both jousts with First Landing, his only losses that year, and in each case he was closing fast. At age three, he won four of seven races, one the Blue Grass Stakes, with two 2nd place finishes. At age two and three, he was runner-up in the voting for Champion male.
Bill Shoemaker, who had ridden Sword Dancer to a win in the Stepping Stone Purse a week before the Kentucky Derby, had already agreed to ride Tomy Lee in the Derby itself. Early on Tomy Lee was involved in a speed duel with a horse called Troilus, and won it, so when Sword Dancer made his move under Bill Boland, Shoemaker thought Tomy Lee was spent and Sword Dancer might take the Derby. Seeing Boland come up, he actually called out, "Good luck, I hope you win it." But Tomy Lee took heart when Sword Dancer took over the lead by half a length. He wouldn't give up. In mid stretch, he came on again, only behind by a head. In this second duel for Tomy Lee, both horses bumped several times. At the wire, Tomy Lee won by a nose. Boland claimed a foul but the judges disallowed it after deliberating for 17 minutes. First Landing came in third, three and a half lengths behind these two, and Royal Orbit, who would go on to win the Preakness Stakes that year, came from last to fourth. A credible fifth was Silver Spoon, the first filly to enter the Derby since 1945, and the last until 1980.
After his hard fought win by a nose in the Kentucky Derby, the colt did not run in the remaining two U.S. Triple Crown races. His trainer, Frank Childs, said he didn't like races too close together, so was instead returned to California to rest. Later that year Tomy Lee managed only a sixth place finish in the Cinema Handicap at Hollywood Park Racetrack, a race won by Silver Spoon. Shoemaker could not ride Tomy Lee in this race since he was committed to Sword Dancer in the Belmont Stakes (which they won) so Tomy Lee was guided by Don Pierce. Turner felt that Pierce mishandled his colt, who needed "special care" and understanding, something only Shoemaker could give him. In anger, he took his horse out of training for six months. At the end of the year, Johnny Longden rode him to a good win in a 6 furlong race.
He ran twice at four and was unplaced both times. Between 1960 and 1963, he earned just $27,697. Tomy Lee was retired to stud at L.P. Doherty's Stallion Station in Kentucky. But Tomy Lee proved to have an odd condition as a stallion. His sperm did not live long enough to impregnate a mare. He was put back into training and won four more races before being returned to stud.
Tomy Lee died in 1971. He is buried at Pillar Stud in Lexington, Kentucky.