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He was born in Westchester, New York, the son of Pierre Lorillard III (1796-1867) and Catherine Griswold. In 1760, his great-grandfather founded P. Lorillard and Company in New York City to process tobacco, cigars, and snuff. Today, Lorillard Tobacco Company is the oldest tobacco company in the United States.
Lorillard owned a mansion on 800 acres (3.2 km2) on Long Island, located north of the Montauk Highway and west of Connetquot Road. In 1884 he sold much of this estate to William Bayard Cutting, who built the notable house called Westbrook on the land.
He also maintained a winter home in St. Augustine, Florida.
At the time of his death in 1886, George Lorillard was married to Marie Louise Lafarge, later Countess Di Agreda.
George Lorillard, as well as his brother Pierre, was a dominant owner during the latter part of the 19th Century in racing in New York, New Jersey and Maryland. At his Long Island estate, he built a large stable and training track. Lorillard arranged to take in boys from the New York House of Refuge who were given stable work and educated in a specially built schoolroom. The boys learned to ride horses and after a five-year apprenticeship were given an opprtunity to become a professional jockey. Notable among them was Tom Costello, who won numerous important races including three American Classics.
George Lorillard's racing stable was handled by trainer R. Wyndham Walden. Notably they then won the Preakness Stakes a record five straight years between 1878 and 1882, the Belmont Stakes in 1878, 1880, and 1881 and the Travers Stakes in 1878 and 1880. Among George Lorillard's best horses was Saunterer, Vanguard, Grenada, Tom Ochiltree and Duke of Magenta.
In 1878, George Lorillard headed a group of investors which included David D. Withers and Gordon Bennett, Jr. who bought Monmouth Park Racetrack. Under Lorillard's management, they built a new racing facility on 660 acres (2.7 km2) of land with the then largest grandstand in the United States. Opened on July 4, 1890, the track flourished and became known as the "Newmarket of America."
George Lorillard died in 1886 at the age of forty-two. Lorillard Avenue in The Bronx is named for him and brother Pier