Broodmares

Advertisement for Hamburg Place dispersal sale, January 1920

In July 1918, Hamburg Place’s John E. Madden disclosed his intention to retire as a public breeder and subsequently maintain only a small industry presence. Below is an advertisement posted in the Louisville Courier-Journal for a bloodstock dispersal sale to be held at at the farm on January 22, 1920.

Ultimately postponed from January 22 to February 3 due to a “sleet storm,” the sale is a great opportunity for historical window shopping for enthusiasts of the mares Maggie B.B. and Mannie Gray, as it seems as if almost every other broodmare in the sale traced back to one or the other.

During the course of the sale, 111 horses (76 broodmares, 35 yearlings) went through the ring, ultimately bringing a total of $124,874.

The sale topper was the 9-year-old Odgen (GB) mare Tea Enough (in foal to Star Shoot (GB)). A half-sister to outstanding racers Dick Welles, Ort Wells and producers Toggery (2nd dam of champion Jamestown) and Tea Biscuit (dam of sire Hard Tack), among others, Tea Enough went for $7,000 to Carr & Platt, who were bidding on behalf of oilman Edward F. Simms. While Tea Enough would not go on to produce any foals of note post-sale, her then 2-year-old daughter Daylight Saving (Star Shoot (GB)) would go on to produce Jockey Club Gold Cup winner Gusto (American Flag) in 1929, as well as handicapper Clock Tower (Snob (GB)) in 1928, himself the sire of champion Dawn Play.

The second highest price of the sale was the 7-year-old Sain (GB) mare Scenery (in foal to Ogden (GB)). Out of a half-sister to the below mentioned Orange and Blue, Scenery went for $5,000 to Carr & Platt, who were again bidding on behalf of Edward Simms.

Some additional mares with more interesting pedigrees include:

  • 16-year-old Bridgewater (GB) mare Orange and Blue (in foal to Star Shoot (GB)), the rare foal out of Maggie B.B. daughter Red-and-Blue that was not sired by Hindoo. A half-sister to champion Sallie McClelland (2nd dam of champion Whisk Broom II) and Bonnie Blue II (dam of the high-class Sir Dixon siblings Blues and Blue Girl, themselves both 3Sx3D to Maggie B.B.), Orange and Blue would sell for $1,600 to H. P. Headley.
  • 18-year-old Hamburg mare Dorothy Gray (in foal to The Finn), herself 3Sx2D to Mannie Gray. Out of a full sister to Domino, Correction, and Lady Reel (dam of Hamburg), Dorothy Gray would sell for $475 to J. L. Rives.
  • 9-year-old Yankee mare The Nurse (in foal to Hessian), herself 3Sx4D to Mannie Gray. Selling for $1,500 to W. H. Gillis, The Nurse would go on to foal Coaching Club American Oaks winner Florence Nightingale (Man o’ War) in 1922 and champion Edith Cavell (Man o’ War) in 1923.

Of course, the above is just a very select sampling of the notable offerings during the sale.

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Louisville Courier-Journal, 01/18/1920

Photo of Elf (GB) and Sylvabelle (GB), dam and granddam of Broomstick

 1893 photo of Broomstick’s dam Elf (GB) and granddam Sylvabelle (GB) as published in Memories of Men and Horses (1924) by William Allison.

June 1906: Obituary of Cinderella (GB), dam of Hastings and Plaudit

Cinderella, queen of the stud book, is dead.

The most successful and valuable of thoroughbred broodmares was her glorious reputation.

Made her owner, a struggling physician in a country town, a wealthy capitalist in a few years. She cost $500 and returned to him $150,000. She paid for every inch of 850 acres of blue grass land owned by Dr. J. D. Neet, the now famous Versailles, Ky., breeder and turfman. Her produce run far over $100,000 on the turf and no less than four of her sons now rank among America’s most valuable sires. The most costly monument ever erected in memory of a horse is to mark her grave at Kindergarten Stud.

Here is her stud record … Sold for
1889 – Foreigner … $5,000
1890 – Ferrier … 5,000
1892 – Handsome … 12,500
1893 – Hastings … 37,000
1894 – Chelsea … 5,000
1895 – Plaudit … 25,000
1896 – Glenheim … 15,000
1897 – Dan Reagan … 6,000
1898 – Glass Slipper (running qualities only) … 5,000
1900 – East India (running qualities only) … 5,000
1902 – Migraine … 10,000
1903 – Fairy Prince … 5,000
1904 – Slippers … 5,000

She was barren the first year she was bred, in 1888, and she had no foal in 1891, 1899, 1901, 1905, and 1906. Dr. Neet sent her this season to Elmendorf Stud to be bred to Waterboy. Later he received a message from C. H. Berryman, manager of that establishment, to the effect that the Brighton Handicap winner was impotent. Dr. Neet then ordered her to be bred to Africander, but that horse’s book proved full, and he sent her to Horse Haven Farm, and mated her to Ethelbert, and she was presumed to be in foal to Perry Belmont’s great racer when she died. Cinderella was 21 years old. Early last winter she was in rather poor condition, but she soon recovered her health and was in first-class fix seemingly up to within an hour of her death. She died of heart disease.

Of her famous produce Hastings is the premier sire of A. Belmont’s Nursery Stud, and in 1902 he headed the list of American winning sires; Plaudit is a star in the noted Hamburg Stud by J. E. Madden; Glenhelm is owned by H. S. Oxnard, the multimillionaire Treasurer of the Sugar Trust; Migraine is also at Hamburg Place; Handsome is at the head of Dr. Neet’s Kindergarten Stud; Glass Slipper and East India are broodmares at Kindergarten Stud, and Fairy Prince, now a 3-year-old, and Slippers, a 2-year-old of this season, are both in the racing stable of Harry Payne Whitney. Of her other produce Dan Reagan and Chelsea both were gelded, while Foreigner and Ferrier are dead, the latter dying the property of W. S. Hobart, the San Mateo (Cal.) breeder, who purchased him to place at the head of his stud.

In the thirteen foals she produced Cinderella never dropped but three fillies, and for six straight years she dropped in succession a half dozen stud colts. No matter what she was bred to she produced a sensational horse. Ferrier was by Fonso, Hastings by Spendthrift, Plaudit by Himyar, Handsome and Glenhelm by Hanover, and Migraine by imp. Topgallant.

At 17 years of age the late W. C. Whitney offered Dr. Neet $15,000 for the celebrated mare. Dr. Neet wrote the noted New York turfman that the principal living things he possessed were his wife, daughter and Cinderella, and he could not break up the family. Later on Whitney leased the breeding qualities of the mare for $10,000, and she was sent to his La Belle Stud, being returned to Dr. Neet in the summer of 1904, the breeding contract being canceled at the death of Whitney.

Cinderella was bred by Sir Thomas Throgmorton [sic], of England. In 1886 Alfred Withers, of London, sent to Egmont Lawrence in this country to sell ten broodmares and two yearling fillies. The last named two were Cinderella and Sarantella, the latter herself the dam of ten winners. Both were purchased shortly after their arrival in Lexington by Dr. Neet, he paying $500 for Cinderella and $400 for the dam of Handsel.

Cinderella was broken and handled by John Clay in the training stable of the late Maj. B. G. Thomas, and showed to have much speed in her work. Dr. Neet, however, had bought her for a brood mare and would not permit her to race. As a result she never faced the starter’s flag.

None of her daughters as yet are old enough in the stud to have representatives on the turf. Glass Slipper now has at Kindergarten Stud a suckling bay colt by Don De Oro and East India has at her side a bay colt by Ethelbert. Dr. Neet bred Glass Slipper this season to the latter horse, while he mated East India to imp. Star Shoot. He has ten foals by Cinderella’s son, Handsome, this year.

Cinderella was of double parentage, being sired by Blue Ruin, or Tomahawk, while her dam Hanna was a daughter of Brown Bread. She belongs to the No. 21 family of the Bruce Lowe figure system. What Pocahontas and Queen Mary were in England, Cinderella was in this country, and she has left an impression on racing in America as lasting as time itself.

The monument Dr. Neet will erect to perpetuate her memory will be mounted with a pedestal in bronze, a reproduction of the famous mare in life, taken from the last photograph made of her in her paddock at Kindergarten Farm.” (The Nashville American, 06/12/1906)

Photograph of Plaudit as published and Bit & Spur (Vol. 11, No. 1), February 1912.

Photograph of Audience, dam of Whisk Broom II

Below is a photo of the then three-year-old Sir Dixon filly Audience alongside her owner Capt. Samuel S. Brown. Audience, a beautifully bred daughter of Sallie McClelland, would go on to win the 1904 Kentucky Oaks shortly after this photo was published.

Upon retirement to the breeding shed she would produce champion and Hall of Famer Whisk Broom II (Broomstick). Through daughter Matinee (Broomstick), Audience shows up as the 4th dam of champion and Hall of Famer Top Flight.

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Photograph of Audience as published in Munsey’s Magazine (Vol. XXXI, No. 2), May 1904.

Dec. 1944: 6-year-old mare Traffic Court voted greatest comeback

“MIAMI (Fla.) Dec. 21. (AP) – Traffic Court, a failure as a brood mare but a whiz as a runner, won a place today along with the Twilight Tears and the Pavots in a roundup of 1944 turf superlatives compiled by two of the sport’s top racing secretaries.

John B. Campbell, secretary at all the New York tracks and a Hialeah racecourse steward, and Charles J. McLennan, secretary at Pimlico, Garden State, Suffolk Downs and Hialeah, agreed that Miller & Burger’s 6-year-old Discovery mare made the greatest comeback.

Kept away from the races for 27 months while she flunked a trial on the breeding farm, Traffic Court was put back into training and scored eight victories, four of them in stake races, this year.

Other Campbell and McLennan choices:

  • Best all-around performer – Calumet Farms’ Twilight Tear, the horse of the year.
  • Greatest finish – The triple dead heat in the Carter Handicap at Aqueduct June 10, when the camera was unable to separate Bossuet, Brownie and Wait-A-Bit (Campbell, who handicapped the horses for the race, modestly let McLennan make his selection.).
  • No. 1 training job – B. A. Jones’ success with such Calumet performers as Pensive, Twilight Tear, Sun Again, Good Blood and Pot o’ Luck.
  • Best sprinter – McLennan picked Twilight Tear, while Campbell took Greentree Stable’s 5-year-old Devil Diver.
  • Best router – Townsend B. Martin’s Bolingbroke.
  • Hard luck horse – Alex Barth, the perennial runner-up. The 6-year-old Millbrook Stable horse finished second in eight races, five of them $50,000 stakes.
  • Biggest surprise – Vienna’s victory over Twilight Tear, which closed at 1 to 20, in the Alabama Stakes at Belmont.
  • Most promising 2-year-old colt – Walter M. Jeffords’ undefeated Pavot.
  • Most promising 2-year-old filly – Col. E. R. Bradley’s Busher, daughter of War Admiral.
  • Biggest disappointment – C. V. Whitney’s Pukka Gin, the 1943 juvenile sensation which failed as a 3-year-old.” (Los Angeles Times, 12/22/1944)

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Miss Traffic defeats Nothirdchance (dam of Hail to Reason) in the Salaminia Handicap at Belmont Park, 09/25/1953 (New York Herald Tribune, 09/26/1953).

Retired following the 1946 season with a career record of (63) 11 7-9 and earnings of $50,650, the well-born Traffic Court would produce her first foal in 1948 at the age of ten – the handicap winning/stakes placed filly Miss Traffic (Boxthorn).

While Traffic Court would ultimately produce only three registered foals, that “failure of a brood mare” made the most of her limited opportunities, as in addition to Miss Traffic, she would produce champion/classic winning colt Hasty Road (Roman) in 1951, and multiple stakes winning colt Traffic Judge (Alibhai (GB)) in 1952. She was named Kentucky Broodmare of the Year of 1954.

A very brief look at Traffic Court’s legacy:

While the lesser known of the three Traffic Court siblings, Miss Traffic would go on to foal the stakes winning gelding Clover Leaf (Swaps) and stakes placed colt Seven Corners (Roman), as well as the filly Miss Summons (Helioscope), herself the dam of stakes winner Larceny Kid (No Robbery) and his full sister Deauville Dove, herself the dam of stakes winners How So Oiseau (Saratoga Six) and Wild Harmony (Wild Again).

Miss Traffic’s impact is still seen today most notably through son Seven Corners, whose daughter Proud Pied is the third dam of successful sire Silver Deputy.

In the stud, both Hasty Road and Traffic Judge would particularly excel as broodmare sires, with Hasty Road siring, among others, stakes winner Lady Golconda (dam of champion Forego) and stakes winning Reines-de-Course Golden Trail (dam of stakes winner/producer Java Moon and influential producer On The Trail) and Broadway (dam of champion Queen of the Stage and stakes winner/sire Reviewer).

Traffic Judge, who would end his career as the 4th leading sire of 1968 and the 4th leading broodmare sire of 1976, would sire, among others, the stakes winning Reines-de-Course Best In Show and Frederick Street, as well as the stakes winner/sire Delta Judge (sire of champion Proud Delta and damsire of stakes winner/sire Dixieland Band).

April 1890: Gen. W. H. Jackson refuses to let his “famous five” go

In 1888, Judge Howell Edmunds Jackson, owner of Belle Meade Stud in triad with John Harding and Gen. William Harding Jackson, expressed his desire to retire from the breeding business.

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The New York Times, 04/25/1890

Upon hearing this news, Harding and Gen. Jackson set out to purchase Judge Jackson’s interests; however, the three parties were unable to come to an agreement. Ultimately, John Harding would relinquish his interests to the brothers Jackson, leaving the two men sole owners of the property and bloodstock contained therein. Gen. Jackson then attempted to buy out his brother for sole ownership, but once again an agreement could not be reached, resulting in Judge Jackson suggesting that the farm’s stock be disposed of at auction, so that the public could set an appropriate value on each animal. Gen. Jackson, with no intention of losing his bloodstock, agreed to his brother’s suggestion, but stated that he would be an active bidder on the day.

The dispersal was initially set for the autumn of 1889, but was later delayed until April of the next year, the time of the farm’s annual yearling sale, where from April 24-25, 1890, sixty-one yearlings, seventy-six mares, and five stallions would appear on the auction block.

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The New York Times, 04/26/1890

While heavily publicized and attended by somewhere between 500-600 individuals, the sale would be a dispersal in name only, as Gen. Jackson would buy back a total of fifty-two broodmares and stallions for $107,275, including his “famous five” of Bramble, Enquirer, Great Tom (GB), Iroquois, and Luke Blackburn, and broodmares Bric-a-Brac, Tarantula, Touch-Me-Not, and Tullahoma.

Now that the bloodstock matters had been settled, the issue of property remained, as Judge Jackson still owned a half-interest in the Belle Meade property. He would transfer his interests (under private terms) to Gen. Jackson in June 1890, at which time it was written that:

“Gen. Jackson has spent the best years of his life in perfecting and making famous this home of the high-bred race-horse. While he has encountered many difficulties, he has risen superior to all of them, and now finds himself the sole head of the most famous of American thoroughbred nurseries. At the sale in April he purchased the cream of the mares, wisely letting pass some of the more undesirable ones, thus greatly strengthening the stud.” (The Daily American (Nashville, TN), 06/14/1890)


“There was something pathetic in the summary dismissal of so many mares from the ring. They had seen their best days in the nursery, were now knocked down at one-tenth of the price they might have commanded in earlier years. This unthinking dishonor of self-sacrificing maternity, which had given up the glossy coat and symmetrical form in order that many offspring might rejoice in what the mother had lost, was strikingly contrasted by the spell of excitement which fell over the hitherto listless crowd when the last mare was led out and the great stallions were announced.

For a moment, whispered conjectures of the probabilities of the sale were interchanged, then there was a dead silence, and then a storm of enthusiastic applause as Uncle Bob entered, proudly grasping the halter of handsome Luke Blackburn.

Luke Blackburn at Belle Meade

Luke Blackburn and Uncle Bob at Belle Meade, date unknown.
Photo: Tennessee State Library and Archives

“You have before you, gentlemen,” said Capt. Kidd, hesitating as if out of deference to his subject, “a horse that is known and admired from Maine to California. He is the sire of Proctor Knott, and by many of the wisest turfmen and breeders, is regarded as the greatest horse in America, for he is certainly the most even and beautiful breeder. You have come from the East and the West. I see among you faces tanned by the breezes of the Atlantic and bronzed by the suns of California. You have come to witness and participate in the sale of this immortal stallion. How much am I bid to start him? Will you give me $20,000?”

The crowd for the most part was inclined to catch its breath at such figures. Some few sat coolly in their seats as if considering the proposition. The skillful auctioneer ran quickly down the gamut of possible starts until Ed Applegate, of Louisville, sang out $5,000. Uncle Bob’s large eyes rolled anxiously in the direction of his master, but already Gen. Jackson’s head had fixed the bid at $6,000. There was a lull. The spectators were excited, and Applegate did not seem inclined to follow his bid with another.

While the auctioneer was urging him to put up $500 more, their parley was interrupted by a calm voice near the canvas across the ring, saying, $10,000. It was Van Kirkman, bidding for Reuben Payne, of Knoxville, proprietor of Shepherd’s Bush Stud, in the county where Blackburn was foaled. Uncle Bob was in an agony of suspense as the bids were quickly interchanged, and there was no pause until Mr. Kirkman’s original bid had been doubled. Capt. Kidd talked on, but his eloquence was in vain. “Breeders of the United States,” he said, “you are being weighed in the balance.”

This appeal seemed to excite a little interstate pride, and there was a stir in the crowd. Uncle Bob watched until he saw nothing was coming of it, and then with triumph in every smiling wrinkle of his intelligent face, he called out, “Colonel, Colonel! The scales won’t balance!”

And Uncle Bob was right. Urge as he might, not a bid was offered the eloquent auctioneer by the silent assemblage. “When my hands close he is a sold horse,” Capt. Kidd cried, and the hands slowly approached each other.” Long before the intended climax was reached, however, the eager stable boys had carried the dapper gallant of the stud from the ring, as if they were rescuing a loved one from death, and cheer after cheer resounded through the pavilion as Gen. Jackson was declared the owner.

Uncle Bob was ecstatic. “Three cheers for Tennessee!” he cried, waving his hat in the air, and every man there joined him. Gen. Jackson was called on for a speech. “I do not know which affords me the greatest pleasure,” he said, bowing, “the ownership of that noble animal or the good will you extend to me. I have labored twenty years to build up this stud, and nothing is more grateful to a man than to know that his efforts are appreciated by his friends.

It was evident after this that Gen. Jackson was determined to have the sale all his own way, and the burst of admiration that greeted the superb Iroquois as he entered the ring was not blended with the excitement of uncertainty that had trebled the volume of Blackburn’s applause. The auctioneer called a start for several minutes with no response.

Then Mr. William Easton, of New York, himself a wealthy dealer, and holding a commission to bid high on the famous Derby winner, said: “I will give $15,000 for that horse.”

The murmur from the crowd had scarcely subsided before a desultory war of bids began to wage thick and fast. It ended in a few seconds by George E. Wheelock, the bookmaker, and Gen. Jackson, being left alone in the fight, hurling $1,000 advances at each other with incredible swiftness and apparent disregard for any pecuniary considerations. The crowd was standing on tip-toe, breathless with interest. It was understood that the great “Lucky” Baldwin, the magician of the Santa Anita Stables, of California, was behind the nervy bookmaker, and there was no telling where the giant race would go.

It was already $26,000.

“Twenty-seven?” asked the auctioneer.

Wheelock took it.

“Twenty-eight,” said Gen. Jackson.

“Twenty-nine,” nodded Wheelock.

“Thirty,” said Gen. Jackson, and his antagonist promptly answered, “Thirty-one,” but when the auctioneer proposed the next move he faltered. Thirty-three thousand dollars – that was something to think about. He would not look at the auctioneer. Gen. Jackson sat serene and confident, ready to bid down any adversary. “Thirty-three thousand dollars, gentlemen,” said Capt. Kidd impressively – “Tennessee against America!”

There was a swelling in every Tennessee heart, and they lifted the canvas with their cheers. “Is there no further bid?” asked the man on the box. “Then I close him.”

Sam Nichol, who was holding the halter, cried out excitedly, “You make shore you close him on the right man!” and every citizen of Nashville echoed Sam’s appeal. The bookmaker turned and nodded his head.

“Thirty-three thousand,” announced the auctioneer.

Quick as a sparrowhawk Gen. Jackson said “Thirty-four,” and the fight was ended. Again the enthusiasm knew no bounds and Uncle Bob embraced the princely horse as he received him to his own again.

There was no more bidding. Everyone realized that Gen. Jackson was determined to keep his stallions at any cost, and when Enquirer and Great Tom were brought in there were only the praises of the crowd and the eulogies of the auctioneer, who had, in Great Tom’s instance especially, been selling from them ever since he had learned the arts of the block, but the bidders were silent and the fine old stallions walked out, coveted by many, but coveted in vain.

“No one need have had any anticipation of leading that horse out,” said Gen. Jackson, as Great Tom passed from view, “I had no more idea of giving him up than Iroquois.”

Some idle bidder seemed to have discredited this, for when Bramble entered he bid $1,000, but he was scared off at $2,500, and the last of the famous five went back to the old, familiar paddocks as if there were no such possibility as leaving home.

Thus closed the greatest sale ever held on the soil of Tennessee – probably the greatest in America – and on the brow of the old Volunteer State were placed the laurels of a new supremacy; $66,490 had been brought by the yearlings, $77,300 by the broodmares, $58,500 by the stallions. In all, $200,290.” (The Daily American (Nashville, TN), 04/26/1890)


Grave of Enquirer on the grounds of Belle Meade Stud. Photo: Tennessee State Library and Archives.

Grave of Enquirer on the grounds of Belle Meade. Photo: Tennessee State Library and Archives.

“Enquirer and Great Tom were not sold, the managers of the sale refusing to allow them to be bid on, after the crowd had shown no disposition to start them for $1,000. This was owing to their advanced years. Gen. Jackson said that he would take them himself at that price, keep them until their death, and then lay their bones beside those of Vandal, Bonnie Scotland, and other dead heroes of Belle Meade.” (The New York Times, 04/26/1890)