Steeplechaser Crompton 'Tommy' Smith Dead

Trained, rode steeplechase legend and racing Hall of Fame member Jay Trump.

Crompton “Tommy” Smith, trainer, and rider of Hall of Fame steeplechaser Jay Trump, died March 5 in Baltimore, as reported by Kentucky horseman Stanley Petter Jr. The Virginia horseman was 74.

Smith was a grandson of of Harry Worcester Smith, a famed Virginia sportsman who, according to a 1965 article in Sports Illustrated,  once took his entire household—all his servants, stable staff, carriages and a pack of hounds—to Ireland for a season of fox hunting.

Tommy Smith grew up in the horse country near Middleburg, Va. After graduating from Taft, and while still enrolled in Princeton, he entered many steeplechase races and left college to pursue a riding career. He won the 1959 Maryland Hunt Cup, and in 1960 gained the Martini and Rossi Award as leading point-to-point rider in the United States. 

Smith purchased Jay Trump for Mrs. Mary Stephenson for a reported $2,000 after the horse’s unsuccessful career on the flat. At 6 in 1963 Jay Trump won the first of three Maryland Hunt Cups. In 1965, at 8, Jay Trump became the first American-bred horse, owned and ridden by Americans, to win England’s Grand National Steeplechase at Aintree.

Jay Trump was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1971.