James E. (Jim)  Morgan

James E. (Jim) Morgan

Thoroughbred trainer James E. (Jim) Morgan may be the greatest trainer you may have never heard of with one of the most interesting sports backgrounds. A native of Kentucky, the first horse race he ever witnessed was when Dark Star upset the great Native Dancer in the Kentucky Derby. While born in the bluegrass he made his reputation on the hardwood basketball floors of Dayton, Ohio where he led Stivers High School to be ranked #1 in the state. He went on to become a standout player for the University of Louisville. Morgan played on some very good Louisville teams, including the 1956 National Invitation Tournament champions. He was inducted into their Hall of Fame and his number retired. The Syracuse Nationals of the NBA made him their #1 draft pick, but he elected to teach and coach high school basketball as the salaries (believe it or not) were comparable.

After nine years, Morgan switched to coaching equine athletes and during his career won over 300 stakes races. Based primarily in Kentucky and Ohio, he trained Costly Dream who defeated champion Susan’s Girl in the Berlo Handicap at Aqueduct ; Bold Rendezvous winner of Belmont’s Imperatice Stakes and Brent’s Prince who captured Arlington Park’s Round Table and the Ohio Derby at Thistledown. Morgan trainees won multiple runnings of the La Troienne, Golden Rod and Kentucky Cardinal Stakes at Churchill Downs and the Lafayette Handicap at Keeneland.