Tommy Barrow, 88, Passes; Rode Handicap Star Hillsdale To Major Wins In 1959

Jockey Tommy Barrow, best known for his handling of multiple stakes winner Hillsdale in the late 1950s, died Nov. 18 in Louisville, Ky., at the age of 88.

Barrow rode the Detroit and New England circuits until owner Clarence Smith and trainer Marty Fallon gave him an opportunity to ride Hillsdale, an Indiana-bred purchased by Smith while the horse was in training at Fair Grounds in New Orleans, according to Whitney Tower in Sports Illustrated.Tower described Barrow as a “five-foot 6 1/2-inch stringbean.”

Barrow made the most of it, riding against top jockeys like Eddie Arcaro and Bill Shoemaker and winning big races aboard the son of Take Away, including a sweep in the 1958-59 winter-spring meet of what became known as Santa Anita’s Strub Series (the Malibu, San Fernando and Santa Anita Maturity – the latter race, which became the Charles H. Strub Stakes, was Barrow’s first “hundred-grander”). They also teamed up that year to win the Hollywood Gold Cup Handicap  at Hollywood Park, then headed east for an eventual match with top 3-year-old Sword Dancer and reigning champion handicap horse Round Table in the Woodward at Aqueduct.

Coming into the stretch of the Woodward, Hillsdale held a narrow advantage over Round Table and Barrow allowed his horse to drift off the rail a bit, thinking Arcaro and Sword Dancer would have to go wider still. But Arcaro waited until there was a narrow opening along the rail and pushed Sword Dancer through, going on to a hard-fought win over Hillsdale in what would be his final race. The defeat denied Hillsdale championship honors that year and he retired with earnings of nearly $650,000.

Born Thomas Gorie Barrow on Aug. 19, 1932, in Orlando, Fla., and raised on a farm in nearby Arcadia, Barrow rode Quarter Horses as a boy until someone introduced him to Thoroughbreds. He left home for the racetrack at 15, according to Marty McGee writing in Daily Racing Form, and won with his first mount on Sept. 21, 1948, at defunct Lincoln Downs in Rhode Island. Over the years he won riding titles at Churchill Downs in Kentucky, Rockingham Park in New Hampshire, Detroit Race Course and Hazel Park in Michigan and Gulfstream Park in Florida.

Barrow rode into his late 50s, primarily in the Midwest and New England, but never had the opportunity to ride another horse like Hillsdale, retiring  in 1991 with 2,627 victories from 21,061 mounts, according to Equibase.

Barrow had resided in an assisted living facility for several years in Louisville, Ky.

A memorial service was held at Churchill Downs on Wednesday, Dec. 9, according to retired Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day, who said Barrow had requested that his ashes be scattered just past the finish line.

The post Tommy Barrow, 88, Passes; Rode Handicap Star Hillsdale To Major Wins In 1959 appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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