E. R. Bradley, E. P. Taylor in Hall of Fame

E. R. Bradley, E. P. Taylor in Hall of Fame
Photo: Courtesy Keeneland-Morgan
E. R. Bradley with champion 3-year-old filly, Black Helen.

The National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame announced June 16 that Edward R. Bradley and Edward P. Taylor have been elected to the Hall as Pillars of the Turf.

The Pillars of the Turf category is designated to honor individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to Thoroughbred racing in a leadership or pioneering capacity at the highest national level, according to a release, which said candidates must be deemed to have represented the sport with indisputable standards of integrity and commitment through disciplines such as breeding and ownership, innovation, philanthropy, promotion, and education.

The Pillars of the Turf category was introduced in 2013, with August Belmont II and Paul Mellon the initial inductees.

The Pillars of the Turf inductees are selected by a committee chaired by Edward L. Bowen. Others on the committee are Christopher Dragone, Jane Goldstein, Ken Grayson, Jay Hovdey, G. Watts Humphrey, Bill Marshall, Bill Mooney, Mary Simon, D.G. Van Clief, Michael Veitch, and Gary West.

Bradley and Taylor will be inducted into the Hall of Fame along with the racehorses Ashado, Clifford, and Curlin  ; jockeys Lloyd Hughes and Alex Solis; and trainer Gary Jones on Friday, Aug. 8. The ceremony will be held at the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., at 10:30 a.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Edward Riley Bradley (1859-1946), a native of Johnstown, Pa., owned four winners of the Kentucky Derby (Behave Yourself, Bubbling Over, Burgoo King, and Brokers Tip), three winners of the Preakness Stakes (Kalitan, Burgoo King, and Bimelich) and two winners of the Belmont Stakes (Hall of Fame inductees Blue Larkspur and Bimelech).

In 1898, Bradley bought his first horse and in 1906 purchased Ash Grove Stock Farm near Lexington, Ky., and renamed it Idle Hour Stock Farm. Bradley developed Idle Hour into one of America's leading breeding operations and he was given the honorary title of a Kentucky colonel by the state's governor for his contributions to Kentucky's prosperity.

Among the 128 stakes winners and 15 champions bred by Idle Hour under Bradley's direction were Black Helen and Horse of the Year Busher. His importation of the French mare La Troienne was one of the most important events in the history of American breeding, as more than 800 stakes winners descend from her in tail-female lineage alone.

In 1926, Bradley purchased Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans, La., and spent lavishly to improve the facilities. In 1932, he made a substantial investment in Miami's Hialeah Park and sold Fair Grounds in 1934. The Colonel E.R. Bradley Handicap at Fair Grounds is named in his honor, and he was part of the inaugural class of inductees of the Fair Grounds Hall of Fame in 1971. Bradley was widely known as a wealthy owner of gambling establishments, but was also well known for his charity, including the staging of an annual one-day race meeting to benefit orphans.

Edward Plunket Taylor (1901-1989), a native of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, became involved with racing in the mid-1930s. The crown jewel of his consolidation of Canadian racing was at Woodbine, which opened in 1956. His greatest contribution to breeding dated from the 1952 purchase of the top price mare at Newmarket, England, when he acquired Lady Angela, the dam of Nearctic, who in turn sired Northern Dancer.

With Northern Dancer, Taylor achieved his goal of proving high-class horses could be bred in Canada. Northern Dancer won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness before launching a stallion career many regard as the greatest of the 20th century, an influence still prominent today. Northern Dancer sired three Epsom Derby winners (Nijinsky II, The Minstrel, and Secreto), all bred by Taylor's Windfields Farm.

Taylor bred 54 champions, a preponderance being champions in Canada, but also including Northern Dancer, Glorious Song and Devil's Bag in the U.S., and nine in Europe. The latter group included Storm Bird, sire of Storm Cat. For years, Taylor helped provide runners for the Ontario Jockey Club tracks by staging his own pre-priced yearling sales, and then in 1968 he elevated the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society yearling sale into the big leagues by selling Nijinsky II there.

According to the Hall of Fame release, Taylor capitalized on the Northern Dancer era to bring the world's buyers to the Keeneland sales, which he consciously chose for the best Windfields consignments. In 1977, Taylor's total of stakes winners bred reached 192, surpassing the previous record held by Harry Payne Whitney.

Taylor suffered a stroke in 1980, and the Windfields Farm and Stable management passed to his son, Charles.

Taylor was North America's leading breeder in wins 19 times and earnings nine times. He bred 18 winners of Canada's prestigious Queen's Plate, including 11 of which he owned. Taylor was the recipient of the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Breeder in 1977 and 1983. 

Most Popular Stories