Tony Leonard was a born entertainer. Armed with a powerful voice, natural self-confidence, and a charming smile, he found his way to Broadway after serving in World War II, and probably would have been gainfully employed onstage for the duration of his life, except that one day, his wife gave him a camera and a new passion was kindled. The couple came through the Bluegrass region of Lexington, Kentucky not long after that for an engagement at the La Flame nightclub, and they liked the town and decided to stay. Enjoying a drink one evening at the club with a local horseman, Tony started talking about his new hobby, and the horseman asked him to come out and shoot pictures of some yearlings for his clients. The next day, Tony found his true calling in life in a field full of horses, and soon the hobby became the driving force in his life, and singing became the hobby. His passion about the horse, his obsession with perfection, and his artistic eye catapulted Tony into the forefront of equine photographers. It was fortuitous for all racing fans that he was there, camera in hand, to chronicle the life of Secretariat, one of the greatest of all American Thoroughbreds. Tony loved that horse, and never missed a chance to drop in to Claiborne and catch the champion out in his paddock.
Right before Tony passed away in 2012, and with his blessing, the entirety of his collection was purchased by what became The Tony Leonard Collection. With the goal of preservation of his legacy and work in mind we immediately began the long process of scanning and catalogoing his estimated 500,000 images shot over 50 years. While we are only about one third of the way through this process we want to give the chance to see some of the incredible images we've come across so far. By offering these images as prints and products we are able to finance the continuation of this ever important effort. We appreciate all of your support and enthusiasm and hope you check back often as we add new images regularly.