Horse Racing

Coach Thomas Bell, Jr. Pass in position 93


A colorful pioneer family of blood dealers, horse dealers, ranchers and trainers who lost a mainstay was Thomas R. Bell, Jr., who passed away Friday night at the age of 93.

“Three generations [of Bells] His son, coach Thomas R. Bell II, known as Ray, said.

Bell and his father, world champion cowboy riding Thomas R. Bell, bought Tomy Lee, who had won the 1959 Kentucky race for coach Frank Childs.


Ray Bell chose Charismatic to wean Bob and Beverly Lewis. The horse then won the Derby for coach D. Wayne Lukas.

Bell won the Kentucky Derby as a coach, placing Rumbo in second to True Risk in the 1980 race.

After a slow start, Rumbo became a defender in the school of 13 horses. Ray Bell, who assisted his father in preparing for Rumbo, said: “The fractions were, :24,:48, 1:12, and he died last.

The horse came with a wet sail down straight to Churchill Downs to go a long way of victory.

Ray Bell recounts: “Someone from the press came up to me later and said, ‘You know your horse ran the last quarter of a mile faster than any horse in Derby history. “I said, ‘Well, I guess and fifty cents will get you a cup of coffee.'”

Bell was born in Brooklyn and apprenticed while working in New York for a Georgian prince, Dimitri Djordjadze, who kept a steeple stable.

Bell was still on the East Coast when he got his own license. But after a period of armed service in the Korean War at an agricultural unit, Bell continued his career on West BankTrained any number of notable athletes, including the tough handicapped Silver Saber, Silver Eagle (twice conquering John Henry), Quick Turnover and Nain Bleu.

Another glamorous Bell runner was The Pie King, owned by Bell’s father, who was the highest rated in the UK in 1953, after winning Coventry, Richmond and Gimcrack S. that year for coach Paddy Prendergast .

Bell took over coaching The Pie King when he was transferred to Stateside. “He won a number of races but never won the bets,” recalls Ray Bell, of The Pie King’s racing career in the US. “But he’s retired here in California, where he’s produced some beautiful horses, including a really nice one that won the Hollywood Derby.”

One of Bell’s most prolific picks as a blood agent was the talented Chilean racing driver, Marimbula, who won the GI Santa Margarita H. 1983 for coach Michael Whittingham.

Bell and his brother co-owned Barberstown, who finished third at Belmont S.

After the race, the Bells sold three-quarters of Barberstown to McDermott Ranch, a leading Texas purebred livestock company. The horse continued his career under the guidance of John Gosden, winning the H Del Mar Invitational the following year.

Ray Bell said: “My uncle was smart enough to put in the contract when these guys bought him that if he won the 1st place race, there would be a million dollar bonus.

After defeating Del Mar H., Gosden aimed Barberstown toward GI Carleton F. Burke H. at Santa Anita.

“People started reading contracts. “Oh my gosh, if we win this race, we have to split the Bells a million dollars,” Ray Bell recalls. “They tried to renegotiate the deal. My uncle said, “No, that’s the deal we had.”

“In the end, he was defeated, so that is a moot point. But until then, they panicked and reached for their guns,” Ray Bell recounted.

Bell leaves behind his wife Nancy and daughter Patsy. Ray Bell said of his father’s passing, “Father time is unbeatable.”





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