H Graham Motion

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. 

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. Gala Spinaway lived to the ripe age of 31, passing away in 2019. A memorial garden was planted by the boys’ paddock for all to enjoy and remember these two gallant warriors. We think of them every day. 

Among the many highlights in the years since have been more Breeders’ Cup victories – including 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 returned to Fair Hill still lives in the barn today. He is turned out daily in the paddock once home to Blackie and Gala. 

Shared Account’s talented daughter, Sharing, joined her dam, sire (Speightstown) and grandsire (Pleasantly Perfect) as Breeders’ Cup winners with her victory in the Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita in 2019. Bred by Sagamore Farm, she was named Maryland-bred 2-Year-Old Filly Champion for 2019. In 2020, she won Churchill Downs’ Tepin Stakes before shipping to Royal Ascot for the Coronation Stakes-G1 where she was a gallant second to some of the best mares in international racing. Before retiring at the end of 2020, she also won the Edgewood Stakes-G2 and was second in the American Oaks-G1. She heads into her next career as a broodmare with statistics of 9-5-1-2 and $1,092,751 earned.

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. Animal Kingdom was awarded the Eclipse Award for champion 3 year old in 2011. Already a success in the breeding shed in Australia and the United Stakes, he was sold to Japanese interests and now stands at JBBA Shizunai Stallion Station in Hokkaido.

As of the beginning of 2021, Graham has celebrated over 2,500 victories with purses earned in excess of $138 million. He is represented by strings at Palm Meadows Training Center and Tampa Bay Downs in Florida each winter, and plans to have a barn at Woodbine in Canada for the 2021 racing season.

Graham and Anita also reside in Fair Hill, very near the Herringswell main base. Daughter Jane graduated from High Point University in 2019 and now works as a publicist for consumer lifestyle, fashion and luxury spirits for La Force in New York City. Son Chappy (Marcus) is a senior at Sanford School and is currently in the process of choosing a college. Rounding out the family are Labrador Bentley, Irish Black & Tan Hunt Terrier Truly Scrumptious and the most recent additions, cats Cleopatra and Rafters. And we can’t forget to mention the four very prolific egg-laying hens who reside in a custom-built chicken condo in the yard. 

Graham and Anita serve on several charitable organizations including Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, Thoroughbred Charities of America, National Museum of Racing, Thoroughbred Education and Research Foundation (TERF) and The Retired Racehorse Project. 

Long-time leaders in aftercare, Graham and Anita have sent numerous OTTBs to Olympic gold medalist Phillip Dutton in nearby West Grove, Pa., for second careers in three-day evening. Leading the way was the immensely popular Icabad Crane, voted America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred at the Retired Racehorse Project in 2014. In training with Phillip at this time are Sea Of Clouds (by Malibu Moon) and the young Union Rags gelding, Lincoln’s Address. Both horses are competing successfully and are very highly regarded as top international prospects.

Graham is also a board member of the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and is a director on the Fair Hill Training Center Board.

 

 

13 Comments

  1. Margaret GuthrieNovember 13, 2020

    Congratulations Anita! You will be a great addition to the board. Thoroughbreds everywhere are breathing easier knowing a good retirement is in their future!

    Reply
    1. Anita MotionNovember 14, 2020

      Thank you Margaret. I’m looking forward to serving.

      Reply
  2. Joseph MartinSeptember 20, 2020

    Mr Motion is a truly great horseman. He’s had many outstanding horses and he’ll have so many more before it’s all said and done! He’s a class act beyond a doubt! Of all the horses Mr Motion has trained or has been associated with… Flatterer remains my favorite! I loved him and miss him. Visited him often with his close friend, My Tombola next to his side. Those visits will always be cherished by myself…I think of them so very often! I remember “making over” Flatterer. My Tombola pushed me aside! Perhaps protecting her friend or requesting attention herself. Great, Great memories!

    Reply
  3. Dream ChaserAugust 28, 2020

    Graham Motion-

    A man’s man, a man of integrity and character. Wisdom sais a man who honors life, honors his word. Nice to see a trainer who’s yes is yes and no is no. The gift of life is being put to good use by Mr. Motion! God Bless your family kind sir.

    Reply
    1. Sue KennyAugust 29, 2020

      Those are very kind and appreciated words. Thank you.

      Reply
  4. Jamie RailtonJuly 27, 2020

    Graham
    I can’t tell you how inspirational I found your article in the TDN. Your words resonated with me in so many ways. I now question whether I have any more idea about this business than I did 25 years ago. Self doubt is such theme when you are self employed and subject to financial pressure. You are a credit to your profession and I wish we had more opportunity to see more of you in the UK.
    Thank you so much.

    Reply
    1. Anita MotionNovember 14, 2020

      Thank you Jamie. Take care and hope to see you soon..

      Reply
  5. Philip ThompsonJune 17, 2020

    I’m thinking of backing sharing in the coronation this Saturday could you please tell me if he has raced on turf before thanks

    Reply
    1. Sue KennyJune 18, 2020

      Philip, All but one of her races has been on the turf. Thank you for writing.
      Sue

      Reply
  6. Edgar (Ted) SmithDecember 31, 2019

    I have just arranged to have my colt shipped to Graham and his team. After reading what I could and talking to several people I concluded he was just the kind of trainer I wanted for my colt. Honest, horse’s best interest comes first, hard working, involved in all aspects of training. What more could you want for a horse that carries many many dreams of mine. I look forward to a long and successful relationship with Graham and team, and when ready, going back east to watch my baby run.
    Ted Smith

    Reply
  7. Joe WalshNovember 3, 2019

    Congratulations to Mr. Motion and his staff on the recent win with Sharing in this year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf race. Once again, Mr. Motion has proven that he is a true “horseman” who trains his horses the correct way, which is always with the horse’s best interest and welfare at heart. As a long time fan of thoroughbred racing, Mr. Motion is one of my favorite trainers because of his modest demeanor and his spotless reputation. Having small pieces of several thoroughbred partnerships over the last few years, I can honestly say that if I was to ever be in a position to own a horse solely myself, I would most definitely seek Mr. Motion’s services. Once again, congratulations and best wishes in the future with many trips to the winner’s circle!
    Joe Walsh

    Reply
  8. Anita MotionOctober 24, 2019

    Good luck with your mare Chris! All the best

    Reply
  9. JC KlutchAugust 29, 2019

    I saw what efforts you are making on a show from Saratoga Live .
    Bravo.
    I have inherited a mare( long story) named Tight Storm. She won $135k on the track and I’ve been looking for her second career. Thanks for the ideas and carry on..
    Chris

    Reply

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