Stallions

Photo of Lamplighter

Photograph of Lamplighter (1889 br. c. by Spendthrift – Torchlight (GB) by Speculum (GB)) as published in Types and Breeds of Farm Animals by Charles Sumner Plumb, 1906.

1940: Old Equipoise lives again in Carrier Pigeon

“Belmont Park, N. Y., March 23. – Up in horse heaven (wherever that may be) a liver-colored old stallion is keeping a weather eye cocked these spring days on the antics of one of his sons, and likely as not doing a powerful lot of wishful thinking.

Photo: The Michigan Daily, 04/19/1940.

He’s a battle scarred veteran of the turf wars himself – none other than the indomitable “Chocolate Solider” – and Biblical Bimelech or no he may have a hunch that this son is going to come along and freshen up pa’s famous footsteps.

Anybody with half a memory can thumb back to the racing things that counted in the early ’30s and remember how Equipoise was winning ’em the hard way coming through and around from behind, no matter what the distance his tail straight out as a tight string. A sort of flag, it was, for him to flaunt in the noses of the vanquished.

Well, this son of his, Carrier Pigeon, has the same habits (smack down to the straight out tail), and he’s the spittin’ image, so they say, of his daddy. He hasn’t been really tried as yet, starting only twice as a juvenile, but both times he put away everything that went up against him. It wasn’t any fault of his that the competition turned out to be just so-so.

The sort of talk going around now about Bradley’s Bimelech would indicate that colts and fillies of consequence which he hasn’t licked are scarcer than dollars in a panhandler’s pocket. So, speaking like a lawyer in court for the moment, we beg to take an exception – Carrier Pigeon. He hasn’t eaten any of his dust – yet.

This may come with the Derby, Preakness or Belmont, but remember, you can climb out on a limb with Bimelech, too. and have it sawed off short, just the same as with any other fragile thoroughbred.

C. V. (Sonny) Whitney owns Carrier Pigeon an even a Kentucky Hardboot or a Vanderbilt either, cant sniff at his breeding. Three generations of finding out things by experience and mistakes are behind his royal pedigree.

His isn’t any sprint breeding. All through the pedigree names of stayers stick out, horses and mares that could run all day. And don’t forget that Man o’ War came from a blending of the Rock Sand and Fairy Gold blood. It’s the type of breeding you could muse over for days.

Sonny Whitney, modest young millionaire that he is, won’t give Carrier Pigeon’s well-wishers too much comfort. He has been disappointed before this. He can’t forget, either, that he has another colt of fine promise – Flight Command – in the 3-year-old field. He’s by Peace Chance–Top Flight, by Dis Donc. Remember Top Flight? A fleet filly, she was, indeed, and she earned more money than any other member of her sex.

Flight Command started four times, was once first, once second. But Carrier Pigeon is our story. He won both of his starts with ridiculous easy, the second by eight lengths with the boy looking back and taking it easy like he was in a rocking chair.

Photo: The Washington Post, 03/24/1940.

Let Whitney tell about that second start:

“He was off last. He came around the field and won galloping. He runs with his tail straight out behind him, just like Equipoise. You know, he’s got those funny spots on him. They’re supposed to be a great thing – the bend or spots.”

There have been a good many stories about what happened to Carrier Pigeon as a 2-year-old, why he never went to the post after the two outings at Saratoga.

The answer, simply, is this: He bruised a heel in the second start.

“I’ll tell you what happened,” said Whitney. “He apparently stepped on a stone in that last race. It would be the same as a stone bruise on the heel of a human being. I was pointing him for the hopeful (Bimelech won that one) and we felt he needed a hard work first. A veterinarian was there, the best one I could find, and all of us thought the bruise hadn’t healed enough. I could have got him ready for the futurity (Bimelech won that one, too), but decided to just put him aside. I thought it best to let up on him.”

The reason for the concern and careful handling?

“He is prospectively too valuable as a stallion to me,” Whitney continued. “In my way of thinking he is the right size for a 3-year-old. He stands about 16 hands.”

This chestnut colt with the funny spots and liver-colored coat is like his famous daddy in another respect. John Hervey, who writes as “Salvator,” once said that Equipoise required little strong work or severe training and never once before his 50-odd starts ever ran a trial in any way remarkable.

The young sportsman who owns him must have been thinking of something like that when he talked about Carrier Pigeon, for a faint and fleeting smile of pleasure softened his face. “He (Carrier Pigeon) isn’t a good morning horse,” he said, nibbling at the stem of his pipe, “and he only gives what is wanted. He’s very much like his sire, and he’s going to look just like him.”

This, then, is the story to date of the best son “The Chocolate Soldier” has sent to the races, and only two more crops remain, for Equipoise died suddenly in 1938.

It’s no simple task to touch his record: Fifty-one starts in six years, 29 wins, 10 seconds and 4 thirds. Winnings: $338,610. He went a mile once at Arlington in Chicago in 1:34 2-5, packing 128 pounds. Nothing was within three lengths of him at the finish line.

This huff-puff about Carrier Pigeon may be just so much whistling in the dark, but a wise old man who sits back in the necessary seclusion of a racing secretary’s office backs us up. There isn’t a partisan or biased opinion in John B. Campbell’s mind. He handicaps for the jockey club and weight goes on for merit, not fancy theories.

Even Sonny Whitney was ore than a mite surprised by what this sage veteran of the turf thought of Carrier Pigeon. The jockey club’s experimental handicap for 2-year-olds in which juvenile form is the sole guide had Bimelech on top, of course, with 130 pounds to pack. But in the second hole, and rated at 126 pounds, was the son of Equipoise.

Through the years that Campbell has rated the coming 3-year-olds he never once has put a colt over 126 pounds, with the exception of Bimelech. To our way of thinking that would make Carrier Pigeon the equal of any top 2-year-old of other seasons.

Perhaps Campbell doesn’t figure that he didn’t beat much. He saw how he did it, and it’s better than even he remembered “The Chocolate Soldier” charging up from behind with his tail straight out, winning with his ears pricked.

Carrier Pigeon, Flight Command and Whitney’s highly regarded juvenile colt, Sky Raider, a son of Man o’ War–Top Flight, came in the other day from Kentucky where they spent the winter resting up for the campaign ahead. Trainer E. L. Snyder has been legging them up for some weeks with long gallops, either on the outside mile track when weather permitted, or inside on cold, snowy days.

Not many days will pass before the horse parks will be bubbling over with gossip from the regulars on how fast this colt or that one worked in a trial. Carrier Pigeon probably will keep on about his business, and let Andy K and Bimelech and the others crack watches for the clockers. Maybe he knows you don’t pick up any cash money in the misty morning hours, and that the cash register rings only in the afternoon.” (Max Hill / The Washington Post, 03/24/1940)

December 1902: Articulate’s parentage in question

Articulate parentage headline (CDT 1902.12.28)“The running of the Christmas day handicap was responsible for a bit of turf gossip leaking out that will interest Chicago racetrack followers, because it relates to Articulate. The statement is made on authority that Articulate is in all probability not a son of St. Andrew, as he is registered, and as he is believed to be by all but a few persons, but is really a son of Barney Schreiber’s noted young sire, Sain.

Colt Looks Like a Sain
As the story goes, Utter, the dam of Articulate, was first bred to Sain and afterwards, under the impression she was not in foal, was sent to the stable of St. Andrew. For some reason W. C. De Lopez, who bred the colt, did not think it worth while to register Articulate as by “Sain or St. Andrew,” as colts in such cases usually are registered, but accredited the youngster to St. Andrew. The facts in the case, however, are known by some horsemen, and now most of those so informed feel convinced that the colt which won so many successive races at Washington park last summer is in reality a Sain, and that his successful career should go to swell the brilliant list of performers that carry the blood of the imported Australian horse.

The thing in the Christmas day handicap that brought the story to the surface was the remarkable resemblance presented by Articulate and Corrigan as that pair came down to the wire together leading the field at the end of the first quarter of that mile and a quarter race. If ever two horses looked alike in actions and markings these two did upon this occasion, as they strode along side by side, and a turfman of national prominence who had heard the story of Articulate’s breeding said:

“There is not a particle of doubt in my mind that Articulate is by Sain. His resemblance to Corrigan is sufficient to establish that fact.”

The horseman refused, however, to allow his name to be used in connection with the story, explaining:

“If the mistake made in registering Articulate should become known it would vitiate all the earnings of the horse up to the present time.”

It may be stated that the horseman was not Barney Schreiber and that he was not speaking in the interests of Schreiber’s breeding farm. For that matter, Schreiber has more than 100 mares on his farm in Missouri and he is probably not looking for outside engagements for his most successful stallion.” (Chicago Daily Tribune, 12/28/1902)

August 1930: Visitors barred from seeing Man o’ War, Bubbling Over, North Star (GB) due to fire risk

“LEXINGTON, Ky., Aug. 2 (AP) – The most popular horse in the world, Man o’ War, will receive no more visitors until Kentucky’s drought is ended. Danger of dried grass in the famed thoroughbred’s pasture being ignited from carelessly thrown cigarette stubs was given as the reason for the order, issued by Miss Elizabeth Daingerfield, manager of Faraway Farm.

A recent fire at Colonel E. R. Bradley’s Idle Hour Farm, which destroyed a barn, caused a similar rule to go into effect there. Bubbling Over, Derby winner, and imp. North Star 3d, leading sire until Man o’ War captured his laurels, have been permitted no callers for a week.”
(The New York Times, 08/03/1930)

Brief notes on Adam (FR) (1902), full brother to Ajax (FR)

Photo of Adam (FR) as published in Bit and Spur (Vol. 4, No. 6), 12/15/1906.

A stakes winner in his native France, Adam (FR), foaled 1902, by Flying Fox (GB) out of the Clamart (FR) mare Amie (FR), was a full brother to noted racer/sire Ajax (FR) and a third generation homebred for breeder Edmond Blanc.

Ajax (FR), full brother to Adam (FR).
Photo as published in Country Life (Vol. XV, No. 386), 05/28/1904.

Adam would go undefeated as a juvenile in 1904, counting the Prix de la Forêt and Prix Eclipse among his wins. As a three-year-old, he would place in the Prix Royal-Oak, Prix du Conseil Municipal, and Grand Prix de Deauville before retiring to stud at Blanc’s Haras de Jardy as a four-year-old, covering a select number of mares during the 1906 breeding season.

During the summer of 1906, Adam was acquired by Francis R. Bishop of the Newcastle Stable/Millstream Stud for $75,000 and sent to the United States, where an unsuccessful attempt was briefly made during the spring of 1907 to return the then five-year-old horse to training.

Amie (FR), dam of Adam (FR).
Photo as published in Country Life (Vol. XV, No. 385), 05/21/1904.

Ultimately retired to stud in time for the 1907 breeding season, Adam would stand at stud in the U.S. for only two seasons (1907, 1908), during which time he covered thirty-six mares in 1907 (resulting in twenty-two living foals) and forty-two mares in 1908. The Adam foals were well-received from the beginning, and from his lone crop foaled in France in 1907 came the multiple stakes winning filly Marsa (FR), while his two U.S. crops would produce the champion filly Bashti (1908) and multiple stakes winning colt Zeus (1908), among others.

Flying Fox (GB), sire of Adam (FR).
Photo as published in Country Life (Vol. XV, No. 385), 05/21/1904.

In late 1907, the Millstream partners of Bishop, Andrew Miller, Blair Painter, and Thomas Welsh made the decision to downsize their breeding stock over the course of the next year. During the summer of 1908, Bishop, feeling that the weak thoroughbred market in the United States resulting from the recently passed Hart-Agnew Law would not allow for Adam to attain his full market value, decided to send Adam and twenty-three of the Millstream broodmares (twenty of which were in foal to Adam) to France to sell at public auction.

Shipped to France in September 1908, Adam (who had been insured for $50,000 for the voyage) and the mares went before the auction hammer that October, with Adam selling for $58,000, and the mares bringing a combined total of $39,400. While rumored at the time back in the U.S. that Adam had been sold to H.B. Duryea, he was instead purchased by the Kisber Stud in then Austria-Hungary, where he later commanded a stud fee of 1,000 kronen (USD $200).

While Ajax may be the best remembered of the two brothers today, due mostly in part to the success of his son Teddy (FR) in the stud, Adam’s contribution to the North American thoroughbred continues to be seen today in extended pedigrees.

As a very limited example of Adam’s influence: the aforementioned Marsa would foal Met Mile winner Trompe La Mort (FR) in 1915, himself the sire of stakes winner Galetian, who was himself the sire of the broodmare Flying Hour, from which descends the Reines-de-Courses Ace Card, Adile, Cinegita, Furlough, Starlet Storm, and Tananarive.

Additionally, through daughter Adana (1908) (herself out of Domino’s full sister Mannie Himyar), Adam shows up in the pedigrees of Ariel, Bold LadCarry Back, Deputy Minister, Evening JewelFoolish PleasureGeneral Challenge, Grey Flight, Honest PleasureLea LarkLeallah, Misty Morn, One Hitter, Pleasant Colony, Southern Halo, Successor, Targowice, and What a Pleasure, among others; while through stakes winning son Seth (1908), Adam shows up in the pedigrees of PalestinianPromised Land, Skip Away, and Spectacular Bid, among others.

Chart(s) of the week: Princequillo’s 2-year-old struggles

While Princequillo (IRE) would become a solid stakes performer in his later years as the distances increased, nine out of ten of his starts as a 2-year-old were in the claiming ranks.

Racing at distances from 5 ½ furlongs to 1 mile, Princequillo’s lone non-claiming appearance did not come until his final start of the year – a last place finish in the Sporting Plate Handicap (6f) at the United Hunts Racing Association’s Belmont Park meeting in November 1942. He would conclude his juvenile season with a record of (10) 3-2-3 and $3,575 in earnings.

*Note: This Sporting Plate Handicap was a 2-year-old race held over the years as part of the United Hunts at Belmont meeting, and is an altogether different race from the Sporting Plate Handicap run from the late 1970s to late 1990s at Aqueduct.


The New York Times, 07/24/1942


Princequillo chart (NYT 1942.07.30)

The New York Times, 07/30/1942


Princequillo chart (NYT 1942.08.07)

The New York Times, 08/07/1942


The New York Times, 08/21/1942


The New York Times, 08/28/1942


The New York Times, 09/15/1942


The New York Times, 09/29/1942


The New York Times, 10/08/1942


The New York Times, 11/11/1942


The New York Times, 11/15/1942