Sired by United Kingdom import Phaeton, a son of Baron Mayer de Rothschild's stallion, King Tom, Ten Broeck's dam was Fannie Holton. In 1875 the three-year-old colt defeated Aristides to win the Phoenix Stakes. However, in May's Kentucky Derby he had moved into second place by the three-quarters of a mile pole but faded to finish fifth behind winner, Aristides. Overall, that year Ten Broeck won five of his nine starts and continued to improve at age four, taking seven of eight races while setting a new time record for a four-mile race. At age five, of his ten starts he won nine and finished second once. That only defeat came to Pierre Lorillard IV's future Hall of Fame colt, Parole in the Baltimore Special.
With sixteen wins and two seconds in eighteen starts during his last two racing seasons, Ten Broeck was brought back to race twice more in 1878, and won both times. Ridden by Billy Walker, his much talked about match race victory over the Californian star Mollie McCarty is recounted in the lyrics of a Kentucky folk song: "When de numbers were hung Old Ten Broeck had won, So deir joy was drunk in juleps and rum."
Retired to stud duty, Ten Broeck met with modest success. He sired 1885 Travers Stakes winner Bersan, and the 1884 and 1886 Tennessee Derby winners Ten Strike and Jim Gray. He was also the sire of the filly Ten Penny who won the 1888 Kentucky Oaks and Tolu, winner of the 1884 Alabama Stakes. He is the grandsire of 1904 Kentucky Derby winner, Elwood.
Ten Broeck died in 1887 and is buried at Nantura Stock Farm, (the farm was named by its owner, Uncle John Harper, for the dam of Longfellow) in Midway, Kentucky. According to the National Sporting Library, his headstone was the first ever erected for a Thoroughbred in the state of Kentucky. In 1982, Ten Broeck was inducted in the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.