Graham was born in Cambridge, England in May 1964 and raised at Newmarket’s Herringswell Manor Stud which was operated by his parents Michael and Jo.
Michael was an international bloodstock agent and North American representative for Tattersalls, the British bloodstock sales company. Jo rode as an amateur in England and took care of the 1951 (Aintree) Grand National winner Nickel Coin before becoming an assistant trainer in the United States. Jo now owns and operates the popular Middleburg Tack Exchange in Virginia. The family relocated to the States in 1980 where Graham attended and graduated from Kent in Connecticut.
Graham’s two sisters are Claire, a third-grade teacher in Middleburg, and Pippa, a wholesale gourmet food distributor in the Baltimore/Washington region. Andrew, Graham’s younger brother, has his own sales consignment company, Old Chapel Farm in Bluemont, Virginia.
After graduating from Kent School in Conneticut, Graham began working for Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard. During his six years at Sheppard’s Ashwell Stable, Graham traveled extensively with four-time Eclipse award winning steeplechaser Flatterer. This was followed by time with trainer Jonathan Pease in Chantilly, France. It was there that Graham met his future wife Anita (nee Hall), who was working at the time for Alain de Royer-Dupre.
Returning to the United States in 1990, Graham went to work as assistant to Bernard (Bernie) P. Bond at Laurel Park in Maryland. On Bernie’s death in 1993, two of Bond’s owners elected to leave their horses with Graham, who subsequently took out his trainer’s license. He called his operation Herringswell Stables after his childhood home. The stable won 21 races that first year, three of them stakes with Gala Spinaway. Now 30, Gala Spinaway lives in retirement at Herringswell’s Fair Hill base.
Graham, Anita and chief assistant Adrian Rolls moved the operation from Laurel Park to Fair Hill Training Center in Northeast Maryland in 2002. Two years later, Bushwood Stables’ Better Talk Now thrust the whole team into the international spotlight with his win in the 2004 John Deere Breeders’ Cup Turf at Lone Star Park. During his remarkable career, Better Talk Now took his connections to Japan and Dubai. “Blackie” retired in 2009 with earnings in excess of $4,000,000, and lived out his days at Fair Hill with his pal Gala Spinaway until his death in 2017 due to complications from colic surgery. A memorial garden was planted by his paddock for all to see.
Among the many highlights in the years since have been more Breeders’ Cup victories – Shared Account in the Filly & Mare Turf in 2010 and Main Sequence in the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Turf. Main Sequence finished 2014 as a dual Eclipse Award winner, named Champion Male Turf Horse and Champion Older Male. Main Sequence recently returned to Fair Hill and now spends his days with Gala Spinaway.
In 2011, Graham’s name was recorded in the history books as the trainer of a Kentucky Derby winner when Animal Kingdom stormed down the Churchill Downs stretch to win the 137th renewal of America’s premier race. Two years later, Animal Kingdom added more lustre to his trainer’s resume with a win in the Dubai World Cup. Already a success in the breeding shed, he shuttles between Arrowfield Stud in Australia, and Darley America in Lexington, Kentucky during the northern hemisphere breeding season. Animal Kingdom was awarded the Eclipse Award for champion 3 year old in 2011.
As of the beginning of 2018, Graham has celebrated over 2,200 victories, with purses earned in excess of $115 (120) million.
As the business has expanded, so has the Herringswell footprint at Fair Hill. Chevation I was purchased in 2004. A second barn, Parlo IV (better known as “H2”), was added in 2014 and serves as the primary location for incoming 2-year-olds. Also residing there are Gala Spinaway, Main Sequence and barn mascots Tom the Turkey and Chicharron the pig. Most recently added to the Herringswell holdings is H3, situated just off-site about 1/2 mile from the main entrance of the Training Center. Providing ample turnout, this facility is used exclusively to give horses in training a freshening and physical and mental break from daily life in the race barns.
Graham and Anita also reside in Fair Hill, very near the Herringswell main base. Daughter Jane is now in college, and son Chappy (Marcus) is in high school. Rounding out the family are three Labradors – Sasha, Ginger and Bentley – and the newest addition, Irish Black & Tan Hunt Terrier Truly Scrumptious.
Graham and Anita serve on many charitable organizations including Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, National Museum of Racing and Thoroughbred Education and Research Foundation and The Retired Racehorse Project.
Graham is also an active member of the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and is a director on the Fair Hill Training Center Board.