Born in Cambridge, England, in May 1964, Graham Motion was raised at Newmarket’s Herringswell Manor Stud 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 U.S. Jo now owns a tack shop in Middleburg, Va.
The family moved to the U.S. in 1980, and Graham Motion completed high school and graduated from Kent School in Connecticut. His career began with six years of working with Jonathan Sheppard, the Hall of Fame trainer, at which time Motion traveled extensively with three-time Eclipse Award-winning steeplechaser Flatterer. Then he worked with trainer Jonathan Pease in Chantilly, France, where he met his future wife, Anita. She was working at the time for Alain De’Royer Dupre. They now live in Fair Hill with their two children, Jane and Marcus.
Returning to the U.S. in 1990, Motion went to work as assistant to Bernard “Bernie” P. Bond at Pimlico. When Bond died in 1993, two owners left their horses with Motion. The stable won 21 races, three of them stakes, in the first year. He has continued to train in Maryland and has won nearly 1,900 races. His horses have earned $90 million.
Motion trained Grade 1 winner Animal Kingdom, who won both the Kentucky Derby and Dubai World Cup, as well as Grade 1 winners Aruna, Better Talk Now, Bullsbay, Check the Label, Film Maker, Gypsy’s Warning (SAf), Sanagas (Ger), Shared Account, Summer Soiree and Toby’s Corner. He won two Breeders’ Cup races – Better Talk Now the 2004 Turf and Shared Account the 2010 Filly and Mare Turf. During most of that time he trained from his present base at Fair Hill.
“My biggest concerns in Maryland racing,” he said, “would be continuing the present arrangement with regards to purse distribution from slot revenue and coping with diminishing field size, which seems to be a national problem. Also, continuing breeders bonuses for Maryland breeders and pursuing a national medication policy along the lines of what has already been initiated in the six states.”