Foals of 1931

Photos of Singing Wood, ca. 1936

Just a few photos of the multiple stakes winning/placing Royal Minstrel (GB) horse Singing Wood, winner of $126,090 in five years of racing (1933-1937).

Photo of then 5-year-old Singing Wood at Santa Anita Park taken shortly after he won the Santa Margarita Handicap (7f) in January 1936. Photo: Los Angeles Daily News Negatives Collection, Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive, Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

Photo of then 5-year-old Singing Wood at Santa Anita Park taken shortly after he won the Santa Margarita Handicap (7f) in January 1936. Photo: Los Angeles Daily News Negatives Collection, Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive, Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

Undated photo of Singing Wood as published in John Hervey’s Racing in America, 1922-1936, privately published for The Jockey Club.

First Minstrel (126 lbs.) tops the 1933 Experimental Handicap

While The Jockey Club’s Experimental Free Handicap (or “Experimental Handicap” as it was initially known) originated in 1933 and has been released annually since 1935, there’s a dearth of easily accessible information on the internet with lists of horses weighted in the earlier years. It’s not difficult to locate the highweights, or weights assigned to notable horses, but it can be challenging to easily find lists of all horses who were weighted each year.

For that reason, I’ve decided to start a series listing all horses weighted in the Experimental Handicap/Experimental Free Handicap on a year-by-year basis from its inception in 1933 through possibly 1965 or so.


Weights assigned by Walter S. Vosburgh for the 1933 Experimental Handicap (2-year-olds of 1933):

126 lbs. – First Minstrel
125 lbs. – Cavalcade
124 lbs. – Singing Wood; High Quest
122 lbs. – Soon Over (GB); Mata Hari (f); Spy Hill
121 lbs. – Elylee
120 lbs. – HadagalBazaar (f)
119 lbs. – Red Wagon; High Glee (f)
118 lbs. – Wise Daughter (f); Far Star (f); Sir Thomas
117 lbs. – Discovery; Roustabout; Jabot (f); Slapdash (f); Black Buddy; Observant; Chicstraw
116 lbs. – Trumpery; Sgt. Byrne; Glendye; Peace Chance
115 lbs. – Kawagoe; Revere; Gay Monarch
114 lbs. – Blue Again; Collateral; Rhythmic (f); Domino Player; Blue for Boys (f)
112 lbs. – Trey; Bonanza; Proud Girl (f); Dreel; Chance Flight; Some Pomp (f); Fortification; Kieva (f)
111 lbs. – Sir Ten; Brown Jack; Agrarian; Holystone
110 lbs. – National Anthem; Propagandist; Bright Haven; Loggia (f); Earnings; Cuirassier; Greyglade (f); Miss Merriment (f)
109 lbs. – Hildur Prince; Moira’s Chief; General Parth; Spoilt Beauty (f); Vicar
108 lbs. – Calycanthus; R. Pinchot; Sonrisa (f)
107 lbs. – Easy Come (f); Wrackdale; Bataille (f); Speed Girl (f)
106 lbs. – Sassafras; Stand Pat; The Triumvir; Rose Cross; Kepi
105 lbs. – Sun Tempest; Front; Maine Chance; Fleam (f); Wise Nat; Hawk Moth (f)
104 lbs. – Yap (f); Dessner; Inflate (f); Kings Minstrel; Sainted
103 lbs. – Captain Argo; Flabbergast (f)

*(f) Filly

Overall, fifty-five sires were represented among the eighty-four horses weighted, with a total of fifteen stallions having sired more than one horse on the list. Sir Gallahad III lead the list with seven horses listed, with First Minstrel’s sire Royal Minstrel (GB) next with five, followed by John P. Grier with four, and Chicle (FR), Man o’ War, Sickle (GB), and St. Germans (GB) with three. Chatterton, General Lee, High Time, Pompey, Stimulus, The Porter, Wise Counsellor, and Wrack (GB) each had two horses make the list.


New York Herald Tribune, 12/17/1933.

“In the opinion of Water S. Vosburgh, official handicapper of The Jockey Club, Mrs. Payne Whitney’s First Minstrel is entitled to first rating among the two-year-old colts of 1933 and Charles T. Fisher’s Mata Hari stands foremost of the season’s juvenile fillies.

Mr. Vosburgh, generally recognized as America’s leading authority on thoroughbred form, in the December 15 issue of “The Racing Calendar,” the official publication of The Jockey Club, for the first time classified the most prominent two-year-olds that raced in the United States and Canada this year. He calls it “the experimental handicap for two-year-olds of 1933.”

Such a rating, known as the “future handicap,” has been in vogue in England for more than a century and naturally commands the respect not only of bookmakers who lay future prices on most of the English classics but also of horsemen and players generally.

Mr. Vosburgh’s handicap should be particularly interesting to the various operators who make winter books on the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, late closing spring classics for three-year-olds exclusively.

First Minstrel, which won the Sanford and the Junior Champion among other less important victories, is given the post of honor of 126 pounds. This is one pound higher than the rating allowed Mrs. Dodge Sloane’s Cavalcade, winner of the Hyde Park, and two pounds more than Mrs. John Hay Whitney’s Singing Wood, which won The Futurity. Mrs. Slone’s High Quest, which won the Futurity Trial, is rated even with Singing Wood at 124 pounds.

Yet the Dixiana filly Mata Hari, which follows at 122 pounds, the same notch at which are placed Mrs. Payne Whitney’s colts, Soon Over and Spy Hill, really ranks much higher when her sex allowance is taken into consideration. Two-year-old fillies are allowed three pounds in the scale and three-year-old fillies five pound up to September 1; three pounds thereafter. So Mr. Vosburgh’s rating on a two-year-old basis really places Mata Hari second with Cavalcade at 125 pounds, one less than the top weight, First Minstrel. With her five pounds’ allowance as a prospective candidate for leading three-year-old honors, Mata Hari would be elevated to the peak (127), one pound ahead of First Minstrel.

E. R. Bradley’s filly Bazaar, a sensation at Saratoga where she won the Hopeful, is rated two pounds below Mata Hari, but her sex allowance as a three-year-old would move her right behind First Minstrel alongside Cavalcade. Many are likely to disagree with Mr. Vosburgh on his ratings of other leading fillies, particularly of Far Star, a stablemate of Mata Hari, which her stable connections are supposed to consider the better of the two. Far Star and W. S. Burton’s Wise Daughter are both placed two pounds below Bazaar and four below Mata Hari. C. V. Whitney’s High Glee, which beat Bazaar in the Matron, is rated a pound better than these two.

In view of the disappointing performances at Belmont and in Maryland after he had won the Champagne, Warren Wright’s Hadagal seems generously treated with ninth ranking at two pounds better than Sir Thomas, which ran Singing Wood to a head in The Futurity and which would undoubtedly have won had he not lost several lengths for Tony Pascuma in jumping a path across the main track midway of the chute.” (W. J. Macbeth / New York Herald Tribune, 12/17/1933)

“Mr. Futurity” Our Count is a ringer for his dad, but can he run?

“CHICAGO, March 28 (AP) – Reigh Count, winner of the 1928 Kentucky Derby and champion three-year-old that season, has been mated with Anita Peabody, winner of the Belmont Futurity of 1927, at the Leona Stock Farm of John D. Hertz.

Reigh Count ran second to Anita Peabody in the 1927 Futurity in the colors of Mrs. John D. Hertz. Reigh Count made a dazzling record in 1928 and last year was shipped abroad for several important English stake events.

The mating of the pair of racers is rated as one of the most important events in American horse breeding.” (New York Herald Tribune, 03/29/1930)


PHOTO - Our Count (NYT 1931.04.05)

The New York Times, 04/15/1931

“The long anticipated heir of Anita Peabody and Reigh Count, first and second in the $120,000 Futurity at Belmont Park in 1927, has arrived at John Hertz’s Leona farm near Cary. It’s a boy and his name will be Mr. Futurity.

The young fellow, almost an exact picture of his famous daddy, who was the American champion in 1928, was foaled on Monday. He has a coat of rich, deep sorrel, there is a star in his forehead, and he has the short quarters and straight legs of a natural distance runner, the same build, color, and markings of his sire.

No thoroughbred has been produced in American racing with a more picturesque background.”
(French Lane / Chicago Daily Tribune, 02/12/1931)


PHOTO - Our Count (CST 1932.10.23)

Our Count as a yearling (Chicago Sunday Tribune, 10/23/1932).

“Mr. and Mrs. John Hertz debated a long time before they picked the name of Our Count for the first son of Reigh Count–Anita Peabody. Their friends suggested that he be called Mr. Futurity or Futurity King or some other name that would have the word Futurity in it because his mother and father finished first and second in the richest Belmont futurity of 1927.

“What if he should be a bad horse or a bum, as the racegoers would say?” they asked one another. In that case the name Futurity should not be flaunted around by such an animal, they decided. Finally they struck on the name of Our Count, which is proof enough that he is a son of the champion Reigh Count. He possibly will be good enough to be worthy of the name Futurity.” (French Lane / Chicago Daily Tribune, 12/14/1932)


PHOTO - Our Count-Reigh Count (CDT 1932.12.01)

Our Count alongside his sire Reigh Count (Chicago Daily Tribune, 12/01/1932).

“The best looking thoroughbred yearling in America has just arrived in Chicago and will soon begin to dig in for the winter out at the John Hertz farm near Cary, Ill.

His name is Our Count, the first son of Reigh Count and Anita Peabody. For real turf romance the young fellow has something on any young thoroughbred ever produced in the country.

Turn back the pages of the history of the turf. Go back to the great Futurity at Belmont Park in 1927. Thundering down the straightaway at the end of seven furlongs came Anita Peabody in first place and Reigh Count to finish second. Both ran in the Hertz yellow and black jacket and when they finished one-two they accounted for more than $110,000, the richest prize won by one stable out of one horse race.

It was Anita Peabody’s supreme effort. Some months later she was retired. Reigh Count went on to become the American champion in 1928. He invaded England in 1929 and while beaten by a narrow margin for the Ascot gold cup after he had won the Coronation cup, demonstrated that he was one of the great horses of the world.

But this isn’t a story about Reigh Count nor Anita Peabody. It’s about their first son, Our Count, a big upstanding chestnut who looks so much like daddy that in a couple of years not even the shrewdest judges of thoroughbred flesh may not be able to say which is which.

Reigh Count and his son, Our Count, stood side by side out at the Hertz Leona farm yesterday for the first time. Our Count had returned from a summer and fall in Kentucky where blue grass and water from the limestone country in the noted cradle of the thoroughbred were the main dishes on the menu at every meal.

The resemblance was remarkable. Our Count, in color, shape, and size, looked like a chip off the old block. Their heads and necks are almost exactly the same. Their withers and shoulders look alike and some of the horsemen who compared them yesterday said Our Count had more perfect and powerful withers and shoulders than his illustrious daddy.

Both have the same sloping rump which indicates an ability to run fast and over a great distance of ground. Their front and straight hind legs are shaped alike and the back ankles on each have similar white markings. When Our Count quits growing he possibly will stand slightly higher than Reigh Count and may be a trifle longer.

On looks Our Count has passed the test. In his sleek coat of chestnut he looks better than Reigh Count. It might have been the case of a perfectly groomed young fellow outdoing the old man as far as personal dress and appearance is concerned. Our Count paid little attention to Reigh Count, but Reigh Count could hardly keep his eyes off the son, it being the first time they had ever been brought together.

But good looks do not mean so much when a struggle on the race track starts. Reigh Count could run fast and far. Our Count may be able to do it, but he has not been tried for his running ability. Being in Kentucky, he missed the trials of the yearlings from Leona farm more than a month ago.

He was on C. C. Van Meter’s farm in Kentucky at the time, thriving in the climate and on blue grass. “He looks like he can run,” Van Meter wrote when he shipped Our Count back to Leona farm a few days ago. Van Meter is a good judge of horses. He seldom compliments a young horse that much. Until next spring when he gets his first running test under fire very little will be known of Our Count’s running ability.” (French Lane / Chicago Daily Tribune, 12/01/1932)


PHOTO - Our Count Illinois Owners H. (CST 1937.09.26)

Our Count wins the Illinois Owners’ Handicap at Hawthorne, 09/25/1937 (Chicago Sunday Tribune, 09/26/1937).

Amassing a record of (97) 17-16-10 and $37,215 in earnings over a five year career (1934-1938), Our Count’s life would come to an end on September 24, 1938, when he would break down in the right foreleg during the Frank J. Donovan (claiming) purse at Hawthorne. It was reported after the fact that this leg had been giving him trouble for several years.

Our Count’s record included:

1934: 1st Ferndale H. (DET, 8.5f), Dallas H. [November edition] (Arlington Downs (TX), 8.5f), Pontiac H. (DET, 8.5f); 2nd Au Revoir H. (DET, 9f); 3rd Governor’s H. (DET, 8.5f)

1935: 1st Sallan Cup H. (DET, 8.5f), Fort Worth H.-NTR (Arlington Downs (TX), 9f), Governor’s H.-NTR (DET, 8.5f), Dallas H. [April edition] (Arlington Downs (TX), 9f); 2nd Wyandotte H. (DET, 1 mi 70 yds); 3rd Waggoner Memorial H. (Arlington Downs (TX), 9f)

1936: 2nd Jim Hogg H. (Epsom Downs (TX), 8.5f)

1937: 1st Hawthorne H. (HAW, 8.5f), Illinois Owners’ H. (HAW, 8.5f)

NTR at Arlington Downs (03/30/1935): 8.5f in 1:43 ⅗  in the Fort Worth Handicap.
NTR at Detroit (09/02/1935): 8.5f in 1:44 in the Governor’s Handicap.


On August 26, 1934, following a ten-day illness which began as a sore throat and grew progressively worse, the nine-year-old Anita Peabody (in foal to Reigh Count) would pass away at Leona Stock Farm. She would produce four foals prior to her premature death:

Our Count (1931 (Feb. 9) ch. g. by Reigh Count): Record aforementioned.

Our Reigh (1932 (Jan. 16) br. g. by Reigh Count): Upon the birth of Our Reigh, the Daily Racing Form of March 16, 1932 reported that Frank S. Hackett, trainer for the Hertz string, stated the colt “is the finest looking youngster he has seen in thirty years’ connection with the sport” and “surpasses in appearance his year older brother.”

Our Reigh raced for seven years (1934-1940), concluding his career with a record of (108) 19-15-19 and $20,675 in earnings. His wins included the Pontiac H. [Class C] (BEL, 8.5f) as a 3-year-old and the Palatine Bridge H. [Class D] (SAR, 10f), Ordinance H. [Class D]-NTR (AQU,11f), Heno H. [Class C] (BEL,9f), and Pimlico Graded H. [Class A] (PIM,8.5f) as a 4-year-old.

Our Reigh would set a new track record at Aqueduct on September 12, 1936, running 11 furlongs in 2:18 ⅖ in the Ordinance Handicap.

Unnamed filly (1933 (Jan. 23) br. f. by Reigh Count): Following a tour of Leona Stock Farm in the spring of 1934, the Chicago Sunday Tribune of April 15, 1934 reported: “The daughter, now a yearling, is just about the best looking bit of horse flesh on the Hertz farm.”

Count Gallahad (1934 (Jan. 16) dkb/br. c. by Sir Gallahad (FR)): A highly regarded juvenile who reportedly “displayed exceptional speed,” Count Gallahad would suffer an injury as a 2-year-old and despite attempts to get him on form, would never make it to the races. He was officially retired at the end of his 4-year-old year, entering stud for the 1939 season at Charles A. Asbury’s Hedgewood Farm in Lexington, KY.

In the breeding shed, Count Gallahad would sire 158 total foals, of which he had 130 starters and 98 winners totaling $1,409,943 in earnings.

A mating with the well-bred Reigh Count mare Risque Reigh, a descendant of the influential Diadumenos (GB) mare Risky, in Count Gallahad’s first season at stud would produce the stakes winning mare La Reigh. Later named a Reine-de-Course, La Reigh would produce, among others, the stakes winning Mahmoud (FR) mare Happy Mood, who was also later named a Reine alongside her stakes winning Northern Dancer daughter Cool Mood. Cool Mood would continue the family tradition, producing the Reines and Canadian Broodmares of the Year Shy Spirit (by Personality), herself the dam of Izvestia, and Passing Mood (by Buckpasser), herself the dam of Daijin, Touch Gold, With Approval, etc.

PHOTOS - Anita Peabody with Our Reigh-Count Gallahad

At left: Anita Peabody with Our Reigh (Chicago Daily Tribune, 01/21/1932).
At right: Anita Peabody with Count Gallahad (Chicago Sunday Tribune, 04/15/1934).

April 1934: An interview with Mata Hari

Mata Hari - DRF 05.23.1934

Photo of Mata Hari as published in the Daily Racing Form, 05/23/1934

“LOUISVILLE, Ky., April 29. – Arriving in Louisville for our annual chats with Kentucky Derby candidates whom we ask to give their own reactions to the impending event for the benefit of Wake readers, we dropped our baggage at the hotel and taxied at once out to Churchill Downs, according to our usual routine.

Because trains from Chicago get in so early, devastating sleep, we felt somewhat seedy and in need of relaxation. Therefore, we chose for our first interview a lady, Mata Hari, favorite in the future book betting, risking her uncertain moods as shown in her 2 year old career.

Mata Hari had finished breakfast. She was seated before the Dixiana barn submitting to a manicure, covered by a kimono of solverino, buff and scarlet trimmings. This rather striking combination reflects the stable racing colors.

‘Good morning, Miss Hari,’ we ventured, wondering what was her mood on this particular day.

‘Why good morning, Mr. Wake, my old friend from Arlington Park. Only please don’t call me Miss Hari. Just call me Mata, because you’re going to get much better acquainted this season through my winnings. If you do,’ she said, arching her eyebrows, ‘perhaps I’ll call you Harvey.’

During this greeting Mata’s kimono had slipped slightly apart showing her shapely legs which in conformation, however, tend a bit more to the masculine than did those of Top Flight, a belle of two years ago. Blushing slightly but with pseudo-modesty, Mata gave the kimono a wide sweeping swish of the Sally Rand revealing type, back into place, remarking roguishly ‘Body by Fisher, you know.’

This playful reference to her ownership by Charles T. Fisher of the Detroit automobile family proved her in a good humor, so we launched at once on our mission.

‘Mata,’ we said cordially yet a bit paternally, befitting our years, ‘you’re a dear, sweet girlie, but you gals just don’t win Derbies. How about it?’

‘Now Harvey, don’t be an old fogey,’ she replied, again adjusting the kimono. ‘I’m part of the New Deal, you know. Of course, I try to be ladylike, but I’m a tomboy at heart. I’ve always played with boys on the farm. And I like them too,’ she added frankly.

‘Take a look at my 2 year old record, 8 starts with 5 brackets and earnings of $55,364 – largest of my sex, second only to Singing Wood of my age, and fourth largest of all ages for the year – and three times unplaced, of which more later. You saw me In that 2 year old race before the Derby last year. Wasn’t I winging? And you saw me towrope my field in the Arlington Lassie stakes worth $21,670, with my stablemate, Far Star, two lengths back, and the rest nowhere. Well, I won my first three races just about as I pleased and they called me a wampum, not Wampas, baby, because I brought home the money.’

At this point we looked up expectantly. Mata Hari caught it at once, and said: “Now, Harvey, if we’re to be friends, don’t bring up those next three races where I ran outside the money. I don’t like to talk about it but sometimes I’ll let you read my diary. Fact is my governess didn’t approval of some of my boy friends and was unduly severe about it. So I sulked. Foolish, of course, but I was just a young girl. As a punishment, they wouldn’t let me start in the Belmont Futurity which Singing Wood won.’

‘So I decided boys weren’t worth all those heartaches anyway, and promised not to think anything more about them. And how I did finish the season, winning the Breeders Futurity and Kentucky Jocky [sic] club stakes. In the former, Discovery, Hadagal, Time Supply, and Prince Pompey were behind me. I attach more importance to the Jocky [sic] stakes, however, because it is at a mile. I won by more than two lengths eased up in 1:39 4-5, with Discovery, pretty highly thought of for Saturday, in second position. Now brush up your memory and recall the great horses which have won this race: Wise Counsellor, Master Charlie, Valorous; also Reigh County, Clyde Van Dusen, Twenty Grand, three Derby winners in the last six years.’

‘Naturally I’m terribly anxious to win. I’m promised a new party gown if I make good, but that’s not it. In the first place, there’s my sex and even your friendless quib that gals don’t win Derbies hurts. Then there’s my Man o’ War blood on my mother’s side of the house. Here’s one gal, Harvey, who is going to win the Derby.’

‘I noticed most of the boy colts with whom you talk promise to throw a party out at Charlie’s in Chicago if they win. I don’t suppose it would be proper for me to invite you anywhere, but I’ll let you and French Lane take me to dinner at Charlie’s, then afterwards to the Edgewater Beach to dance. Now, Harvey if you happen to think you ought to go, it’s all right, for in a few minutes I have my hair washed and take a finger wave.’”
(“In the Wake of the News” with Harvey T. Woodruff / Chicago Daily Tribune, 04/30/1934)

Riskulus (1931)

Riskulus – 1931 ch. c. by Stimulus – Risky by Diadumenos (GB)
Breeder: A. B. Hancock
Owner: Northway Stable (Norman W. Church), Los Angeles, CA
Trainer: E. L. “Woody” Fitzgerald

Riskulus - photo (CT 1935.02.17)

Out of the Diadumenos (GB) mare Risky, Riskulus was a full-sibling to major stakes winner Risque (1928 f.) and a half-sibling to Risk (1929 b. f. by Sir Gallahad (FR)), the dam of stakes winning Sky Larking and of Beaugay (Champion 2-Year-Old Filly of 1945). Risky was named a Reine-de-Course in 2001.

[META: I actually have had a biography on Sky Larking completed on here for something like a year now; it’s probably time to post it.]

Through Risque descends 1980 Broodmare of the Year Key Bridge (1959 f. by Princequillo (IRE)), dam of Key to the Mint, Key to the Kingdom, and Fort Marcy, among others and 1989 Canadian Broodmare of the Year Passing Mood, the dam of With Approval, Touch Gold, and Daijin (1992 f. by Deputy Minister), among others. Daijin would foal stakes winner Handpainted (2000 f. by A.P. Indy), 2009 Canadian Champion Older Mare Serenading (2004 f. by A.P. Indy), and the unraced Speed Succeeds (2001 f. by Gone West), herself the dam of stakes winners Brilliant Speed (2008 c. by Dynaformer) and Souper Speedy (2009 c. by Indian Charlie)

Other selected stakes winners descending from Risky include La Reigh (1940 f. by Count Gallahad), Happy Mood (1951 f. by Mahmoud (FR)), Am-a-Cutie (1965 f. by Ambiopoise), Madam Gaylady (1973 f. by Sir Gaylord), Madam Forbes (1980 f. by Bold Forbes), The Happy Hopper (1996 f. by El Prado (IRE)), Pine Dance (1997 c. by Pine Bluff), Shilla (2005 f. by Marquetry), and Mulrainy (1999 f. by Star de Naskra).


Record: (41) 9-6-6 / $31,540
1933: 1st Burlingame H. (6f,TAN); 3rd Juvenile S. (170 ft. less than 6f,TAN)
1934: 1st Agua Caliente Derby (1 1/8 mi.,AC), Arlington H. ( 1 1/4 mi.,AP), Columbia Purse (1 mi.,AP); 2nd Derby Trial H. (1 mi., AC), Agua Caliente H. (1 1/4 mi.,AC); 3rd Texas Derby (1 1/8 mi.,Arlington Downs); Christmas S. (1 mi.,SA)
1935: 1st Los Angeles H. (NTR-1 1/8 mi.,SA), Santa Clara H. (6f,BM), Penn A. C. Handicap (1 mi. 70 yds.,HDG), Cumberland H. (1 1/16 mi.,LRL); 2nd San Carlos H. (1 1/16 mi.,SA), Laurel S. (1 mi.,LRL), Somerset Purse (1 1/16 mi.,LRL), Fort Worth H. (1 1/16 mi.,Arlington Downs); 3rd Cavalcade Handicap Purse (6f,WAS), Stars and Stripes H. (1 1/8 mi.,AP), Arlington H. (1 1/4 mi.,AP)

NTR at Santa Anita (01/26/1935): 1 1/8 mi. in 1:49 3/5 in the Los Angeles Handicap


1933: (7) 2-0-1 / $2,500
1st Burlingame H. (6f,TAN); 3rd Juvenile S. (170 ft. less than 6f,TAN)

While gaining a reputation as a “far west” horse during the course of his career, Riskulus would make at least the first four starts of his career in Michigan at the Detroit Fair Grounds.

Debuting on September 20 in a 5.5 furlong maiden claiming event, Riskulus would run unplaced in the muddy going. Returning for the Essex Golf Club Purse (6f) on September 30, he would again run unplaced. His first win would come in his third start – a six furlong allowance on October 4. Following the win, he would run unplaced in the all age Au Revoir Handicap (1 mi.) on October 7.

Moving to the West Coast following his time in Detroit, Riskulus, now based at Tanforan, would then finish third in the Juvenile Stakes (170 ft. less than 6f) over the A. B. Spreckels course on November 4 and win the Burlingame Handicap (6f) at on November 11.

One unplaced start in 1933 is missing from his record – this race likely occurred at either Detroit or Tanforan.


1934: (11) 3-2-2 / $16,940
1st Agua Caliente Derby (1 1/8 mi.,AC), Arlington H. ( 1 1/4 mi.,AP), Columbia Purse (1 mi.,AP);
2nd Derby Trial H. (1 mi.,AC), Agua Caliente H. (1 1/4 mi.,AC);
3rd Texas Derby (1 1/8 mi.,Arlington Downs); Christmas S. (1 mi.,SA)

Riskulus and his highly regarded multiple stakes winning stablemate Gallant Sir arrive at Agua Caliente on February 16. Riskulus is being pointed towards the Agua Caliente Derby on March 4, with Gallant Sir towards the defense of his title in the Agua Caliente Handicap on March 18. Riskulus’ ultimate springtime goal is said to be the Kentucky Derby on May 5.

Riskulus - photo Gallant Sir (NYT 1934.03.19)

Gallant Sir (1929 b. c. by Sir Gallahad (FR) – Sun Spot by Omar Khayyam (GB)). Photo: The New York Times, 03/19/1934

In preparation for the Agua Caliente Derby, Riskulus’ first start at Agua Caliente would come in the Derby Trial Handicap (1 mi.) on February 22, where over a track rated slow, he would finish second to the Bistouri (FR) filly Bissagos. Despite the slow track, Bissagos’ time of 1:38 would equal the track record.

Riskulus - Riskulus Nag Derby Threat headline (LAT 1934.02.23)Riskulus - Derby Trial H. results (NYT 1934.02.23)

“Beat Riskulus and win the Agua Caliente Derby. That is what they are saying this afternoon, though the Northway stable colt, a nominee for the 3-year-old stake, the Caliente Handicap, and Kentucky Derby, was beaten a half length in his first start at this course. Bissagos, a fleet filly from the stable of John D. Speckles III, equaled the track record for a mile, recently set at this course by Bonny Grafton, to win the Derby trial, feature of the Washington’s Birthday racing program here this afternoon. Riskulus got the place and Kieva the show.

Riskulus ran into plenty of trouble midway in the race, and despite this was running fastest at the end and probably would have overtaken the filly had they been doing the full derby distance of a mile and one-eighth. Running strongly in third position going down the back stretch, Riskulus’s way was closed off suddenly and Jockey Jack Pollard had to pull up sharply. He took the horse to the outside after this experience, and when the Northway colt made its second move in the stretch, he closed rapidly.

The time of 1:38 is considered remarkable for a 3-year-old, and stamps the two leaders as certain of places in fast company.” (Los Angeles Times, 02/23/1934)

While Bissagos would get Riskulus’ number in the Derby Trial H., Riskulus turns the tables on Bissagos in the Agua Caliente Derby (1 1/8 mi.) on March 4, defeating her by a nose in a final time of 1:50 4/5. Third place finisher Marceita was ten lengths back.

Riskulus - AC Derby headline (2) (LAT 1934.03.05)

“In a wild, nose-and-nose battle through the closing yards of the mile-and-one-eighth test, Riskulus, the big chestnut 3-year-old from the Northway stable, scored by a nostril over Bissagos, California-bred filly running in the colors of John D. Spreckels III, to win the $2000 added Agua Caliente Derby before 18,000 roaring fans here this afternoon.

It was a two-horse race from the stretch turn to the wire, with Jockey Georgie Woolf on the winner and Apprentice Mack Winters on Bissagos, fairly pushing their mounts towards the finish. The pair had laid back during the early running, leaving the job of setting the pace to the Meadowbrook stables filly, Marceita. The latter faded, after going into a wide lead, and first Bissagos, then Riskulus, passed her at the stretch turn and fought it out the rest of the way. Marceita finally wound up a badly beaten third, ten lengths behind Bissagos.

After the race, Winters dashed to the judges’ stand to file a protest on the grounds that Woolf had kicked him just before reaching the wire and forced him to take Bissagos over against the rail. After ten minutes deliberation, during which time the official board was kept down, the stewards ruled against the protest and took no action. A sigh of relief passed through the big throng which anxiously had awaited the outcome, for despite its being a heavy favorite, Riskulus was running with a substantial sum wagered on his chances.

Spreckels was in the stand while the argument was in progress and was said to have declared he may ship his stable to Texas as a result of the decision.” (Los Angeles Times, 03/05/1934)

Riskulus - AC Derby results (NYT 1934.03.05)

“His victory definitely stamped Riskulus as one of the greatest thoroughbreds in the West and indicated he may give his stablemate, Gallant Sir, a terrific battle in the Agua Caliente Handicap here the 18th inst. It almost showed he must be considered a threat in both the Kentucky and Texas derbys, for which he has been nominated.” (Los Angeles Times, 03/05/1934)

As a result of his performance in the Agua Caliente Derby, Riskulus’ Kentucky Derby odds drop from 100-1 to 15-1 in the future book set by St. Louis betting commissioner Thomas (Tom) Kearney. The filly Mata Hari is listed as the early Derby favorite at 8-1, with Chicstraw at 10-1.

“Riskulus probably will be sent with Gallant Sir in the [Agua Caliente] handicap as a companion. The big horse is worked with a stablemate at all times and prefers a companion while running.” (Los Angeles Times, 03/13/1934)

Following a poor performance in a handicap trial race on March 11, rumors that Gallant Sir is unsound had begun to circulate; however, trainer Woody Fitzgerald says the rumors are just that: “Gallant Sir is sound and in fine shape,” Fitzgerald said. “It is just a question of finding a way to make him run. I may have to return to blinkers. He ran his last four races last fall without blinkers and we thought he had him cured, but I guess we’ll have to put them back on him. The trouble yesterday was that horse and rider got into a fight,” he continued. “It was man against beast and Gallant Sir won the argument.” (Los Angeles Times, 03/13/1934)

On March 16, the coupled entry of Riskulus and Gallant Sir are listed at 3/5 in the early betting for the Agua Caliente Handicap (1 1/4 mi.). Confidence in Riskulus’ chances has been bolstered by a monstrous work he turned in over the Agua Caliente strip, running the full 1 1/4mile handicap distance in 2:05 (:23 4/5, :47 3/5. 1:00, 1:12 3/5, 1:38).

“When reports of the brilliant showing of Riskulus reached the ears of the betting master of the border track it was reported that he rushed madly to the blackboard, eraser in hand, and set up some new “figgers” making the Northway entry odds-on.

So if Gallant Sir chooses to sulk – why let him sulk. Who cares? The Northway stable’s “in,” whether it be Riskulus or his running-mate Gallant Sir, that dashes first past the judges’ stand.” – Gerald Pidge (Los Angeles Times, 03/15/1934)

Riskulus - AC Handicap headline (NYT 1934.03.19)When handicap day arrives on March 18, Riskulus (108 lbs.) finishes second to Gallant Sir (130 lbs.) by a head, five lengths ahead of Pari-Mutuel. While Gallant Sir and Riskulus were under hand rides in the stretch, the final time was 2:02 4/5, only 1/5 of a second off of the track record set by Gallant Sir in the previous year’s running.

Riskulus’ impost of 108 lbs. in the Agua Caliente H. was the highest ever carried in the race (in both the Agua Caliente H. and its predecessor the Coffroth H.) by a 3-year-old. Sir Harry would carry 103 lbs. in his win in 1927, Carlaris would carry 100 lbs. in his win in 1926, and Naishapur would finish second in 1929, carrying 105 lbs.

Riskulus - AC Handicap results (LAT 1934.03.19)

 

“The Far West, after a long stretch of barren years, bobbed up today with a definite Kentucky Derby threat in the handsome chestnut colt, Riskulus.

The son of Stimulus out of Risky created a stir in Pacific Coast racing circles by his performance in finishing second to Gallant Sir, stable mate, in the Agua Caliente Handicap.

“If he can keep the form he showed yesterday,” said C. Bruce Head, presiding steward and steward of Churchill Downs, where the Blue Grass classic is annually held, “he’ll be hard to beat.” Other experts echoed the opinion of the veteran judge.” (The New York Times, 03/20/1934)

Riskulus - Riskulus derby threat headline (NYT 1934.03.20)

“Riskulus bears a marked resemblance to Bubbling Over, one of the derby winners of yesteryears.” – Paul Zimmerman (Los Angeles Times, 03/20/1934)

It is reported on March 20 that Riskulus and Gallant Sir will head to Arlington Downs (Arlington, TX), where Riskulus is an expected entrant in the Texas Derby (1 1/8 mi.). Following the Texas Derby, Riskulus is expected to head to Churchill Downs in preparation for the Kentucky Derby, then possibly to Chicago for the American Derby and Arlington Classic.

Riskulus - Derby favorites headline (CT 1934.04.08)

 

On April 3, Tom Kearney names Mata Hari, Chicstraw, Riskulus, and Sir Thomas the 10-1 Kentucky Derby co-favorites. He would alter his rankings four days later, naming Riskulus and Sir Thomas the 8-1 co-favorites, with Chicstraw and Mata Hari remaining at 10-1, and Cavalcade just behind at 12-1.

In the Texas Derby (1 1/8 mi.) at Arlington Downs on April 21, Riskulus would “race indifferently,” finishing third by four lengths behind Plight and Hickory Lad.

Riskulus - KD odds soaring headline (LAT 1934.04.24)

Riskulus - TX Derby results (NYT 1934.04.22)

Off of his disappointing performance in Texas, which resulted in the raising of his Kentucky Derby odds to 30-1, Riskulus arrives at Churchill Downs on April 27.

Following a work over the Churchill surface on April 29, confidence in Riskulus continues to wane, “Thumbs down on Riskulus – Riskulus didn’t make such a good impression. He was asked to gallop a mile and an eighth. He went to the quarter in :25 2-5, the half in :51 3-5, the six furlongs 1:17 3-5, the mile in 1:43, and the mile and an eighth in 1:56. Wise old Kentuckians puffed clouds of smoke out of their pipes, shook their heads and returned a verdict to the effect that this cold is going to disappoint his many followers out in Hollywood and in other parts of California.” – French Lane (Chicago Tribune, 04/30/1934)

However, within the week it appears he has begun to turn the corner, “Another sparking training move this morning which caused some of the clockers to get so excited they almost dropped their watches was turned in by Riskulus. He sailed over the mile-and-a-quarter route in 2:06 1/5 and appeared to be breezing for the entire trip. This was the finest showing he has made since he left California and everybody around the Norman W. Church barn was pleased.” – French Lane (Los Angeles Times, 05/08/1934)

Riskulus - Churchill fire headline (DRF 1934.05.07)

On the evening prior to the Kentucky Derby, a large fire on the backside of Churchill Downs resulted in the destruction of the “U” and “W” barns. While no horses perished (some minor injuries were reported) approximately 400 horses were endangered by the fire and had to be evacuated, including Riskulus.

“The Derby choices, Cavalcade and Mata Hari, also Cavalcade’s stablemate, Time Clock, were stabled close to 200 yards away from the fire. They were not disturbed, but Riskulus, N. W. Church’s Agua Caliente Derby winner, was among the many horses led from barns endangered. After “blowing out” a quarter mile through the stretch, Riskulus suffered an attack of colic, probably induced by last night’s excitement.” (Daily Racing Form, 05/07/1934)

As the events of the prior night would result in Riskulus suffering an attack of colic, reportedly accompanied with a 102 degree fever, he would be scratched from the Kentucky Derby on the day of the race. With scratches reducing the potential eighteen horse field down to a modest eleven starters, Cavalcade would defeat Discovery by three lengths for the win, with Agrarian third.

“Mae West promenaded up and down the clubhouse lawn with Clark Gable and was almost unnoticed until she registered a loud complaint when the California horse Riskulus was scratched. She, too, had gone along with the native sons and backed this colt, whose price in the future books dropped from 80 to 1 to 10 to 1 a few weeks ago.” (Chicago Tribune, 05/06/1934)

“Riskulus was scratched and reports came up of a woman who fainted. She had bet $4,000 in the winter books on Riskulus and he was scratched just before the race. Her money was gone. Without a run. The stables reported a touch of colic made it inadvisable to start the California horse.” – Ralph McGill (The Atlanta Constitution, 05/06/1934)

Riskulus - Preakness to run in headline (DRF 1934.05.10)

As the colic episode proved to be minor, Riskulus would rebound quickly and in time for the Preakness Stakes (1 3/16 mi.) at Pimlico on May 12. He would finish last in the field of seven, being “always far out of things,” with winner High Quest’s time of 1:48 1/5 setting a new stakes record. High Quest, stablemate to Cavalcade, would defeat the Derby winner by a nose.

Riskulus - Preakness S. chart (DRF 1934.05.14)

Following an aborted attempt at the Kentucky Derby and the worst showing of his career in the Preakness, Riskulus moves to Arlington Park in Chicago, where he would win the Columbia Purse (1 mi.) on July 4 by one length over Signalman. Prior to the start of the Columbia Purse, Signalman would become fractious at the post, unseat jockey Don Meade, and run off for more than two miles before being captured, delaying the start of the race by more than fifteen minutes.

Pointing toward the Arlington Classic (1 1/4 mi.) on July 14, Riskulus would turn in a fantastic workout on July 11, “Riskulus, California’s hope in the Classic, went a mile in 1:42 and pulled up at the end of a mile and an eighth in 1:57. This colt looks better now than at any time since he left California early last spring.” – French Lane (Chicago Tribune, 07/13/1934)

“Riskulus, after sensational performances on the Pacific coast early last spring, has not raced brilliantly since moving east. A training injury kept him out of the Kentucky Derby. Then an attack of sickness halted later attempts to prove his greatness. He has scored one impressive victory at Arlington lately and appears to be the Riskulus of last spring, when no task appeared to be too great for him.” – French Lane (Chicago Tribune, 07/14/1934)

However, as had been (and would continue to be) a continual theme throughout his career, Riskulus’ form in the mornings would not translate over to the afternoon, and he would finish fourth behind Cavalcade, Discovery, and Hadagal in the Arlington Classic Stakes (1 1/4 mi.) on July 14.

Riskulus - Arlington Classic photo (CT 1934.07.15)

Start of the 1934 Arlington Classic (click to enlarge). Riskulus is #5.
Photo: Chicago Tribune, 07/15/1934

Riskulus - Arlington Classic chart (LAT 1934.07.15)

However, the Arlington Handicap (1 1/4 mi.) on July 21 would mark a return to winning ways for Riskulus. Defeating Watch Him by a head, his time of 2:02 2/5 in the Arlington H. was 3/5 of a second off the track record set by Sun Beau in the 1931 edition of the race. Hadagal was third.

“Riskulus, a temperamental colt which turned out to be nothing but a losing risk since he left his happy hunting grounds at Agua Caliente, ran the race of his life today to beat out Mrs. John D. Hertz’s Watch Him in the $10,000 Arlington Handicap.” (The Washington Post, 07/22/1934)

Riskulus - Arlington H. finish photo (CT 1934.07.22)

Finish of the 1934 Arlington Handicap (click to enlarge).
Photo: Chicago Tribune, 07/22/1934

Riskulus - Arlington H. chart (DRF 1934.07.23)

At the end of July, the Northway horses are sent to Norman Church’s Mira Monte Ranch near Los Angeles, CA for a rest. Church states he intends to enter both Riskulus and Gallant Sir in the first ever running of the Santa Anita Handicap (1 1/4 mi.), to be held on February 23, 1935 at the soon to be reopened Santa Anita Park. While still seven months out, the excitement and publicity for February’s “hundred grander” is growing by the day.

“The Santa Anita Handicap will truly be the greatest horse race ever run – actually the “Race of the Century.” Project this image before you – Cavalcade, High Quest, Discovery, Riskulus, Gallant Sir, and possibly the great Equipoise at the barrier together. Colossal is the word that best describes it – and colossal it is.” (Los Angeles Times, 08/05/1934)

“The Australian horse Winooka is to be sent to California, and will potentially contend the 1935 Santa Anita H. “If the plans of the Australian sportsmen materialize the Santa Anita handicap should develop into what may be the greatest international race of all time.” – Gerald Pidge (Los Angeles Times, 08/07/1934)

“Announcement that Admiral Drake, winner of the Grand Prix in Paris last June, may be shipped here to compete in the $150,000 Santa Anita Handicap at the new Los Angeles Turf Club plant on Feb. 23, was made today by Gwynn Wilson, assistant club manager.” (The New York Times, 08/12/1934)

In August, it is announced that Church will build private stables at both Bay Meadows and Santa Anita.

After spending the summer at Mira Monte, the Church horses (including Riskulus and Gallant Sir) head to Bay Meadows during the month of October. Having been away from the races since July, Riskulus had been working well in the mornings and would make his first start at Bay Meadows in the San Francisco Handicap (1 1/16 mi.) on December 8. He would run unplaced behind winner Top Row, whose final time of 1:42 was a new world record for 1 1/16 miles.

Riskulus - San Francisco H. WR headline (LAT 1934.12.09)Riskulus - San Francisco H. results (CT 1934.12.09)

Entered in the $25,000 Bay Meadows Handicap (1 1/8 mi.) on December 16, Riskulus would show early speed while ultimately finishing fifth behind winner Time Supply. Run over a course said to be comprised of “mist and mud,” Time Supply’s win was surprising to most, as he was not considered to be a mudder.

On Christmas Day, Santa Anita reopens after a 25-year absence. Riskulus would finish third in the Christmas Stakes (1 mi.) behind the filly High Glee and Chictoney.

Riskulus - Christmas S. results (NYT 1934.12.26)

“Riskulus was the horse that really appeared best in the race. “Risky” was almost left at the post and did a powerful lot of running to finish third. He appears to like this track and should be tabbed for future reference by that element of our population which is interested in cashing pari-mutuel tickets at a later date.” – Oscar Otis (Los Angeles Times, 12/26/1934)

Riskulus - Christmas S. photo (LAT 1934.12.26)

Finish of the 1934 Christmas Stakes (click to enlarge).
Photo: Los Angeles Times, 12/26/1934

Riskulus - photo High Glee (NYT 1934.12.26)

High Glee (1931 br. f. by Pharamond (GB) – Beaming by Whisk Broom).
Photo: The New York Times, 12/26/1934


1935: (19) 4-4-3 / $12,100
1st Los Angeles H. (NTR- 1 1/8 mi.,SA), Santa Clara H. (6f,BM), Penn A. C. Handicap (1 mi. 70 yds.,HDG), Cumberland H. (1 1/16 mi.,LRL);
2nd San Carlos H. (1 1/16 mi.,SA), Laurel S. (1 mi.,LRL), Somerset Purse (1 1/16 mi.,LRL), Fort Worth H. (1 1/16 mi.,Arlington Downs);
3rd Cavalcade Handicap Purse (6f,WAS), Stars and Stripes H. (1 1/8 mi.,AP), Arlington H. (1 1/4 mi.,AP)

NTR at Santa Anita (01/26/1935): 1 1/8 mi. in 1:49 3/5 in the Los Angeles Handicap

After running off the board at Santa Anita in the New Year’s Day Stakes (1 1/16 mi.) on January 1 and in the San Felipe Handicap (1 mi.) on January 19, Riskulus would win the Los Angeles Handicap (1 1/8 mi.) on January 26 by two lengths over Wacoche. As it is early days at “new” Santa Anita, the track records are in a constant state of flux, and Riskulus’ time of 1:49 3/5 in the Los Angeles H. becomes the fastest time for the distance so far in the track’s young history, lowering the previous record of 1:51 4/5 held by Rowdy Boy.

Riskulus - Los Angeles H. results (NYT 1935.01.27)

“Bogart Rogers, moompitchur tycoon, ex-aviator, ex-athlete, always puts a dime on Riskulus. “The only time I didn’t he won at 10 to 1,” Mr. Rogers explains. When the Northway stable’s pride and joy came to life last Saturday after several miserable races, Mr. Rogers disgraced himself with bloodcurdling yelps rooting Riskulus in.” – Bill Henry (Los Angeles Times, 01/30/1935)

Making a quick return for the San Carlos H. (1 1/16 mi.) on February 1, Riskulus would finish second by a half-length to the Whitney filly Jabot. Jabot’s (who would later foal Horse of the Year Counterpoint) time of 1:42 4/5 was not only a new track record, but was just off the world record of 1:42 set by Top Row at Bay Meadows the previous December.

“One of the bad boys of the race track, Jovius, won the seventh and last race of the day at one and one eighth miles – his second in a row. And around Jovius’ bay hide the story of an interesting comeback has developed. Two weeks ago his former owner and trainer, Clyde Phillips, dropped Jovius into a $1,200 claiming race. The horse, a full brother to Riskulus, ran last and was claimed by C. E. Graham. Phillips was glad to get rid of the animal. Despite his fine breeding, a son of Stimulus-Risky, Jovius had been running like a pig for Phillips. … In two races Jovius has returned his new owner $1,300 in prize money, more than the claiming price. He won my won and one-quarter lengths from Crystal Prince yesterday. Phillips stood in the stands and watched the performance. “What a headache this horse (game?) is. “It makes you feel ninety years old sometimes.”” – Paul Lowry (Los Angeles Times, 02/12/1935)

Attention soon turns to the upcoming Santa Anita Handicap (1 1/4 mi.), to he held on February 23. With $109,500 to the winner, the Santa Anita H. will be the richest horse race in history, eclipsing the previous record of $105,730 to Whichone in the 1929 Futurity Stakes.

Riskulus - Riskulus hoof test headline (LAT 1935.02.21)

“Riskulus, the only California owned contender in the list of nineteen likely starters considered to have much chance at the $100,000, became a dubious starter tonight when Trainer E. L. [Woody] Fitzgerald announced that he had spread a hoof. A bar plate was put on the ailing heel, and it was announced Riskulus would take a gallop tomorrow, and might still start in the handicap if the workout went off with no trouble.” – Harvey Woodruff (Chicago Tribune, 02/21/1935)

Riskulus - 100k to winner headline (LAT 1935.02.23)

“The thud and thunder of the thoroughbred, which came back to Southern California after a lapse of twenty-five years, will be climaxed today with the running of the world’s richest handicap race – the $100,000 added Santa Anita Handicap.

The drum of hoof beats, the music of the track, will be sung to the tune of $109,500 for the winner, $10,000 for second place horse, $5,000 to third and $2,500 to fourth.

When twenty-one horses accepted today’s issue in the one and one-quarter mile feature to be run over the site of Lucky Baldwin’s old potato patch the previous money standard was topped. Nineteen of these horses, paying $1,000 each for the privilege, are virtually certain starters.” – Paul Lowry (Los Angeles Times, 02/23/1935)

Twenty starters would ultimately take the field in the Santa Anita Handicap (1 1/4 mi.) on February 23. Despite his promising morning works and repaired hoof, Riskulus would finish twelfth of twenty. Azucar (IRE) wins, with Ladysman and Time Supply taking the place and show. Equipoise, running with a “burr” in his bit for the first time, and hoping with a win to eclipse Sun Beau’s all-time money winning record, would finish seventh.

Riskulus - photo Azucar (NYT 1935.02.24)

Azucar (IRE) (1928 ch. g. by Milesius (GB) – Clarice (GB) by Picton (GB).
Photo: The New York Times, 02/24/1935

Riskulus - Santa Anita H. chart (NYT 1935.02.24)

Back at Bay Meadows following his poor performance in the Santa Anita H., Riskulus wins the Santa Clara Handicap (6f) on April 13, defeating Top Row by 1 1/4 lengths.

“Riskulus came back to the races here this afternoon with astonishing success. He turned in one of the most impressive races of his career to win the $5000 Santa Clara Handicap from a crack field of sprinters, including Top Row, which finished second, and Percy M. Pike’s Indiantown, a well beaten third.” – Oscar Otis (Los Angeles Times, 04/14/1935)

Riskulus - Santa Clara H. chart (DRF 1935.04.16)

In late May, Riskulus is shipped to Washington Park in Chicago, where he would have a relatively unsuccessful time – finishing third behind Cloud D’Or and Slim Rosie in the Cavalcade Handicap Purse (6f) on June 22 and last behind winner Late Date in the Washington Park Championship Handicap (1 1/4 mi.) on June 29. He had been listed as an expected starter in the Blue and Gray Memorial Handicap (1 1/8 mi.) at Washington Park on May 29; however, it is uncertain as to whether he made the start.

Moving to Arlington Park, Riskulus would then finish third behind Discovery and Chief Cherokee in the Stars and Stripes Handicap (1 1/8 mi.) on July 4, and third behind Discovery and Stand Pat in the Arlington Handicap (1 1/4 mi.). Carrying 135 lbs., Discovery’s time in the Arlington H. (2:01 1/5) lowered the track record set by the 3-year-old Omaha (2:01 2/5) the week prior and became the second fastest 1 1/4 miles ever run in America with the amount of weight (behind Whisk Broom’s 139 lb. impost and debated final time of 2:00 in the 1913 Suburban Handicap).

Riskulus - Stars and Stripes H. results (NYT 1935.07.05)Riskulus - Arlington H. results (NYT 1935.07.28)

Riskulus would then make his first trip to the East Coast, winning the Penn A. C. Handicap (1 mi.,70 yds.) at Havre de Grace on September 19 by a half-length over Stocks and then run unplaced in the Havre de Grace Handicap (1 1/8 mi.) in late September.

Following his time at Havre de Grace, he would move to Laurel Park, where he would win the Cumberland Handicap (1 1/16 mi.) by a head over Stocks on October 2, run second to Psychic Bid in the mud plagued Laurel Stakes (1 mi.) on October 12, and finish second by a nose to Tabitha in the Somerset Purse (1 1/16 mi.) on October 23.

Riskulus - Cumberland H. results (NYT 1935.10.03)Riskulus - Laurel S. results (NYT 1935.10.13)
Riskulus then possibly ran unplaced in the Laurel Handicap at Laurel Park on October 25 or the Riggs Handicap at Pimlico in early November, but this is unconfirmed.

Heading southwest to Arlington Downs following his time in Maryland, Riskulus would run unplaced in the Waggoner Memorial Handicap (1 1/8 mi.) on November 16 and second by a head to Ariel Cross in the Fort Worth Handicap (1 1/16 mi.) on November 20.

Riskulus - Waggoner Memorial results (LAT 1935.11.17)Riskulus - Fort Worth H. results (NYT 1935.11.21)

Riskulus - Au Revoir H. results (CT 1935.12.15)

Following their time in Texas, the Church horses would move to Bay Meadows in Northern California for the remainder of the year, where Riskulus would run unplaced in the Au Revoir Handicap (1 1/16 mi.) on December 14.


1936: (4) 0-0-0 / $0

Riskulus would finish fifth in the New Year’s Day Stakes (1 1/16 mi.) at Santa Anita on January 1. He is reported to have grabbed a quarter during the race.

Riskulus - New Year's Day results (NYT 1936.01.02)

Following some time away from training due to the quarter injury, Riskulus would next run in the Santa Anita Handicap on February 22, turning in a lackluster effort with a thirteenth place finish behind winner Top Row.

Riskulus - photo Top Row SA H. win (NYT 1936.02.23)

Top Row (1931 b. c. by Peanuts – Too High by High Time).
Photo: The New York Times, 02/23/1936

Riskulus - Santa Anita H. chart (LAT 1936.02.23)

Riskulus reportedly arrived at Arlington Park on June 11 and ran unplaced in two unknown races during the rest of 1936 – possibly in Chicago.


1937: (0) 0-0-0 & Retirement

While an expected contender for the Santa Anita Handicap (1 1/4 mi.) on February 27, trainer Woody Fitzgerald apparently had other plans. Back on January 1, following a win in a six furlong race, the Church/Fitzgerald horse Proclivity reportedly tested positive for alkaloids. Upset at the allegations, Church would boycott the remainder of the Santa Anita meeting.

Riskulus - Santa Anita H. out headline (LAT 1937.02.11)

“Riskulus was officially declared from the $100,000 Santa Anita Handicap yesterday by E. L. (Woody) FitzGerald, trainer for Norman W. Church. FitzGerald made out an official scratch blank yesterday morning, will load his former handicap threat with his other horses this morning en route for the Church ranch in San Jose.

When FitzGerald made out the scratch blank, he was asked why, so that the space provided might show the reason.

“Shall I say because you are mad at us?” queried Racing Secretary Webb Everett.

“Yes!” said FitzGerald, as he stomped out of the office.” (Los Angeles Times, 02/11/1937)

Riskulus would subsequently be retired and enter stud at Tollie Young’s Creekview Farm the same year.


Riskulus - North Shadow filly (LAT 1939.07.24)

AT STUD
Riskulus initially entered stud in 1937 at Tollie Young’s Creekview Farm (KY), before reportedly (according to scant internet evidence) being eventually purchased by Dr. John C. Burnett for $30,000 and retired to his Wild Horse Island in northwest Montana. This is unconfirmed, and accounting for inflation, would have been a wildly high price (approx. $250,000-$400,000 depending on the year of sale) to pay for horse as unsuccessful and unproven to that point in the stud as Riskulus; however, he does have at least two reported foals who appear to have been foaled in the state of Montana (Montana Risk (1951), Hayne’s Risk (1952)).

Riskulus was the sire of 52 reported foals, with 42 starters (81%) and 31 winners (60%) totaling $317,883 in earnings. His highest earner was Sorisky (1941 b. c. o/o Sobieha by Sir Gallahad (FR)), earner of $42,419 and a record of (102) 19-11-12 over nine years of racing (1943-1951).

His 1938 filly out of North Shadow (later named Risky Lady) is pictured at right as a yearling in 1939. She would race for four years (1940-1943), retiring with a record of (26) 5-3-2 / $2,355.

Chart: 1933 Richard Johnson Stakes (Laurel Park)

The below is a chart of the 1933 Richard Johnson Stakes (6f) for 2-year-olds at Laurel Park, won by the Chicle (FR) colt Chicstraw (name misspelled twice in chart below) by a half-length over Wise Daughter, with Discovery and Cavalcade not far behind.

While the names of Wise Daughter, Discovery, and Cavalcade are the ones which immediately stick out, the multiple stakes winning Chicstraw himself was of a high-blooded pedigree, being a half-sibling to the (yet to be born at the time) Reine-de-Course mare Thorn Apple (by Jamestown).

Richard Johnson S. 1933 (Wash Post 1933.10.08) The Washington Post, 10/08/1933

As no one could know at the time what the then 2-year-old Cavalcade’s future held, the crowd at Laurel that day was unknowingly treated to two Kentucky Derby winners in residence, as in the race immediately following the Richard Johnson, the reigning Derby winner Brokers Tip would finish last in a 1 1/16 mile claiming race. The 1933 Kentucky Derby would be the only victory in a fourteen race career for Brokers Tip.

Brokers Tip LRL claiming 1933 (Wash Post 1933.10.08) The Washington Post, 10/08/1933