Military Wiki
Smiley Adams
Born (1935-10-04)October 4, 1935
Versailles, Kentucky,
United States
Died June 19, 2003(2003-06-19) (aged 67)
Lexington, Kentucky,
United Staes
Place of burial Blue Grass Memorial Gardens, Nicholasville, Kentucky
Awards Keeneland Leading Trainer
(1975 (Spring), 1977 (fall), 1978 (spring & fall)

William Ernest "Smiley" Adams (October 4, 1935 – June 19, 2003) was a trainer of Thoroughbred racehorses who trained Master Derby to win the 1975 Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the U.S. Triple Crown series.[1] In what was the 100th running of the Preakness, Darrel McHargue aboard Master Derby defeated Kentucky Derby winner Foolish Pleasure by a full length.[2]

Always known as "Smiley", William Adams left school at age 14 to work as a stableboy at a racetrack. Three years later, the then 17-year-old lied about his age to join the United States Marine Corps and would serve overseas in the Korean War. After being discharged from the military, Adams returned to horse racing.

In addition to his success with Master Derby, Adams also notably trained Run Dusty Run who finished second in the 1977 Kentucky Derby, third in the 1977 Preakness Stakes and second in the 1977 Belmont Stakes, all to Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew.[3][4][5] Among his many stakes wins, Smiley Adams won seven consecutive runnings of the Spiral Stakes at Latonia Race Course in Kentucky.[6]

Smiley Adams was retired from training and living in Nicholasville, Kentucky at the time of his passing in 2003.


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