Vexatious (1916)

Vexatious – 1916 b. f. by Peter Pan – Contrary by Hamburg
Breeder/Owner: Harry Payne Whitney
Trainer: James Rowe

Record: (7) 2-1-1 / $27,940
(Retrospective) Co-Champion 3-Year-Old Filly of 1919
1st: Alabama S. (1 ¼ mi.,SAR), Lawrence Realization S. (1 5/8 mi.,BEL)
3rd: Montague H. (1 1/16 mi.,JAM)

A H. P. Whitney homebred by the Commando stallion Peter Pan, Vexatious was the first foal out of the young Hamburg mare Contrary. Vexatious was said to be a “strappingly big filly” and a “well grown, rangy bay” who favored her sire in appearance and conformation.

Even though Vexatious was kept out of training as a 2-year-old due to a bad leg, she was considered to be the best 2-year-old filly in the H. P. Whitney barn and was nominated for a number of high profile baby stakes, including the Albany Handicap at Saratoga and the Futurity at Belmont. Trainer James Rowe even went so far as to think he “possibly had a duplicate of Regret” in the 2-year-old Vexatious.

1919: (4) 2-1-0 / $27,930
(Retrospective) Co-Champion 3-Year-Old Filly of 1919
1st: Alabama S. (1 ¼ mi.,SAR), Lawrence Realization S. (1 5/8 mi.,BEL)

While having been nominated earlier in the year to the both the Kentucky and Pimlico Oaks, as well as the Paumonok Handicap against males, Vexatious would ultimately debut as a 3-year-old at Saratoga in a one mile maiden race on August 5. Finishing in second place, three lengths behind Huttontrope in the fifteen horse field, Vexatious had been well-regarded prior to the race, and remained so afterwards.

“The sixth brought out as good looking a lot of maidens as has been seen in months. There were 15 of them. Huttontrope was the winner over H. P. Whitney’s Vexatious, a fine big filly by Peter Pan, who followed close upon Huttontrope, but could not get up.” – Harry N. Price (The Washington Post, 08/06/1919)

Off the maiden effort, Vexatious would immediately jump into stakes competition, as “When beaten last Tuesday by Huttontrope she was worked out the mile and a furlong in 1:30 2/5, good enough, Rowe thought, to give her a royal chance in the Alabama.” – Harry N. Price (The Washington Post, 08/08/1919)

Vexatious - Alabama (NYT 1919.08.08)

Thusly, two days after her maiden win, Vexatious would make her stakes debut in the Alabama Stakes (1 ¼ mi.) on August 7, where over a “drying out” track rated slow, she would defeat Milkmaid by four lengths in a final time of 2:09 1/5.

“Vexatious, a daughter of Peter Pan and Contrary and a mare of splendid physique, probably is the best of the 3-year-old fillies. After making a creditable showing in a maiden race against Huttontrope, a really good distance-running 4-year-old, she made Milkmaid look cheap in the Alabama stakes.” (The Washington Post, 08/31/1919)

In preparation for the Lawrence Realization Stakes (1 5/8 mi.) at Belmont Park on September 6, “Vexatious and Thunderstorm both worked between the races yesterday, the Whitney filly doing a mile and a quarter in 2:08 in a fashion that has made many friends for her…” (The New York Times, 09/05/1919)

Vexatious - Lawrence Realization (NYT 09.17.1919)

While Vexatious would finish second by four lengths to Over There in the Lawrence Realization, interference by Over There against fourth place finisher Thunderstorm at the 5/8 pole would result in the stewards disqualifying Over There to last in the field of five, with Vexatious deemed the winner.

Vexatious’ 3-year-old campaign would span only a period of eight weeks, as her fourth and final start of 1919 would come in the Maryland Handicap (1 1/16 mi.) at Havre de Grace on October 2. Battling rumors of unsoundness, she would finish last in the field of four. The Porter would win, with Midway and Royce Rools taking the place and show.

“Vexatious had been working fast since she came down from New York, but she wore a badge of unsoundness on her front legs, which were plastered with antiphlogistine…” – Harry N. Price (The Washington Post, 10/03/1919)

With total earnings of $27,930, Vexatious would end the year as the fourth highest earning 3-year-old and the fifth highest earning overall horse of 1919, ranking only behind the 3-year-olds Sir Barton ($88,250), Mad Hatter ($54,991), and Purchase ($33,710), and the 2-year-old Man o’ War ($83,325).

While she would only compete in four races during 1919, with one of her two wins coming via disqualification, Vexatious was retrospectively named Co-Champion 3-Year-Old Filly of 1919 alongside Milkmaid.

1920: (3) 0-0-1 / $100
3rd: Montague H. (1 1/16 mi.,JAM)

Vexatious’ first start of 1920 would come in the Montague Handicap (1 1/16 mi.) at Jamaica on June 17, where after a bad start, she would finish third behind Cromwell and Thunderstorm. Two days later she would run back in the Long Beach Handicap (1 1/8 mi.) on June 19, finishing fourth and last behind Exterminator, Cirrus, and Naturalist.

Her final start of June would result in a last place finish in the Gazelle Handicap (1 1/16 mi.) at Aqueduct on June 30, finishing behind Pen Rose, Milkmaid, Lunetta, Edwina, and Ormonda.

While nominated for a number of races later on in the year, the Gazelle H. would ultimately prove to be Vexatious’ final start, as she was retired to the breeding shed and bred to Broomstick in the spring of 1921.

IN RETIREMENT
The Vexatious Handicap was run at Jamaica in at least 1925.

Vexatious had six foals between 1922 and 1927.

Trifling (1922 ch. m. by Broomstick)
Trifling was sold to Coldstream Farm as a 2-year-old in 1924.
Record: (2) 0-0-0 / $0 in one year of racing (1924)

Acrostic (1923 b. h. by Broomstick)
Record: (34) 4-1-4 / $4,325 in four years of racing (1925-1929)

Kinkajou (1925 ch. h. by Whisk Broom)
Record: (37) 4-12-5 / $5,385 in three years of racing (1926-1929)

Diavolo (1925 ch. h. by Whisk Broom)
(Retrospective) Champion Handicap Horse of 1929
Record: (29) 10-4-3 / $107,540 in three years of racing (1927-1929)
At 2YO: 1st Tremont S.
At 3YO: 2nd Lawrence Realization S., Brookdale H.; 3rd Belmont S., Brooklyn H.
At 4YO: 1st Dixie H., Jockey Club Gold Cup, Pimlico Cup, Saratoga Cup, Saratoga H.; 2nd Aqueduct H.; 3rd Hawthorne Gold Cup

Following his racing days, Diavolo would enter stud, siring 198 foals. An incredible 91% of his foals (181 foals) would make the starting gate, with 78% (154 foals) winning at least one race. Diavolo notably shows up in the pedigrees of Bobby Brocato, Quadrangle, and Bunty’s Flight, among others.

Vexing (1926 b. m. by Broomstick)
Unraced

Angry (1927 b. g. by John P. Grier)
Record: (49) 12-9-7 / $14,115 in four years of racing (1930-1933)
At 3YO: 3rd Quebec Derby
At 4YO: 1st Hialeah Inaugural Handicap

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