Count Turf was owned by New York City restaurateur Jack Amiel who bought Count Turf at a yearling sale for $3,700. Amiel named him Count for his sire and Turf for his Turf Restaurant in Times Square. In the mid-1950's, Amiel dispensed with his ownership of the Turf Restaurant and became a co-owner of next-door's Jack Dempsey's Broadway Restaurant.
Racing at age two, Count Turf's best showings in Graded stakes races was a second place finish in both the Youthful Stakes and the Christiana Stakes. Wintered in Florida, at age three he showed little promise in the races leading up to the 1951 Kentucky Derby. Conditioned by Turkish-born trainer Sol Rutchick, the colt finished off the board in the Flamingo and Everglade Stakes in Florida and in the Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack in Jamaica, New York.
In the 1951 Kentucky Derby, Count Turf was one of twenty horses entered. Harry Guggenheim's colt Battle Morn was the betting favorite with Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney's eventual Horse of the Year Counterpoint, the second choice. Counterpoint was Count Turf's half-brother through their common sire, Count Fleet. Given almost no chance of winning, Count Turf was part of a five-horse betting "field" with long-shot odds of 15-1. In the race, he was well placed in the front-middle of the pack and after taking the lead at the top of the homestretch he never looked back and won by four lengths over an over 53-1 long shot named Royal Mustang. Favorite Battle Morn never was in contention and finished 6th while Counterpoint tired badly after making a run at the leaders and wound up 11th. For future U.S. Hall of Hame jockey Conn McCreary, it was his second Derby victory, having won the 1944 race aboard Pensive.
For the ensuing two legs of the Triple Crown series, Count Turf did not run in Preakness Stakes but then finished seventh in the Belmont Stakes, twenty lengths back of winner Counterpoint. Racing at age four, he met with limited success, his most notable performance a win in the Questionnaire Handicap. Retired to stud, he stood at Almahurst Farm in Nicholasville, Kentucky, then at Elmhurst Farm near Lexington, and finally at Windy Hills Farm in Westminster, Maryland. As a sire, Count Turf's accomplishments were modest, producing only two stakes race winners. One of those was Manassa Mauler, so-named by Jack Amiel for the widely known pugilistic nickname of his friend Jack Dempsey.
Count Turf died in 1966 and is buried at Windy Hills Farm.
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