Arlington Park

Chart of the week: Triple dead heat at Arlington, Aug. 1963

On August 19, 1963, Livingston (Oil Capitol), Royal Redress (Princequillo (IRE)), and Mr. S. Chance (Some Chance) scored a triple dead heat for the win in the second race at Arlington Park, a one mile claiming race for horses 4-years-old and up.

This was the seventh triple dead heat for the win in North American history (approx. 19th triple dead heat overall since introduction of the photo finish camera), the first triple dead heat in Illinois history, and the first triple dead heat involving a daily double (Royal Redress’ win paid $95, Livingston paid $43, and Mr. S. Chance paid $24.20).

CHART - Triple dead heat Arlington (CT 1963.08.20)

Chicago Tribune, 08/20/1963

PHOTO - Triple dead heat Arlington (NYT 1963.08.20)

The New York Times, 08/20/1963

Stretch Drive runs away at Arlington

Stretch Drive, a 2 year old son of Chatterton-Chemulpo, engaged in the wildest runaway of the year on a Chicago track just before the start of the Lamont purse, the fourth race at Arlington yesterday.

The colt, ridden by Jockey Ayraud, broke away from the field as the 14 juveniles were lining up at the barrier. He wheeled and ran back to the head of the seven furlong chute. Just before he cleared the fence and leaped down a ten foot embankment and across the hard road leading to the Post and Paddock club. Jockey Ayraud fell out of the saddle. Once clear of the track, the colt ran for four miles in the meadows which adjoin the stables at Arlington with the lead pony right at his heels.

Ald. Coughlin, owner of the colt, joined in the chase on foot. The colt, apparently exhausted from his long run, was led back to his stall apparently uninjured, but the race had been run before he was captured. Who Win was coupled with Stretch Drive as the Coughlin entry.”
(Chicago Daily Tribune, 07/20/1929)

Nashua breaks world record in workout at Arlington, July 1955

Nashua - WR headline (NYT 1955.07.14)On July 10, 1955, Nashua arrived at Arlington Park in advance of the Arlington Classic (1 mi.) on July 16. Three days later (July 13), he would head to the track for a routine six furlong workout that would ultimately be anything but routine.

While Nashua’s six furlong time was recorded in 1:09 ⅘ (only one second off the track record of 1:08 ⅘ set by Hill Gail on June 22, 1953), his five furlong time was clocked in :56 ⅗ – a time which would take ⅖ of a second off the official world record time of :57, set by Encantadora at Centennial Race Track in Denver, CO on August 9, 1951.

“Said Arcaro after he dismounted: ‘If I’d known he was going that fast I would have tried to slow him down. He fooled me, completely, for I didn’t even have to cluck at him.

My orders, however, came from Mr. Fitzsimmons, his trainer, and he told me to let him roll, that he wasn’t sending me 1,500 miles just to breeze the horse.’

Arcaro, who has ridden Nashua in 13 of his 16 starts, declared the colt is better than he was in the Kentucky Derby. ‘We had no excuses when Swaps beat us that day, but Nashua now is a great horse.’ “ (Maurice Shevlin / Chicago Daily Tribune, 07/14/1955)

Nashua - WR photo (NYT 1955.07.14)

AP Wirephoto as published in the New York Times, 07/14/1955

When Arlington Classic day arrived, the race wouldn’t come as easy for the Nasrullah (GB) colt as his workout three days prior. After trailing by two lengths going into the stretch, Nashua would defeat the high-class Alibhai (GB) colt Traffic Judge by only a half-length for the win. His winning time of 1:35 ⅕ was almost a second off the track record of 1:34 ⅖, set by Equipoise in 1932.

After the race jockey Eddie Arcaro said, “This was not Nashua’s best effort, to say the least. He was not himself. He was all out and doing his best at the end.” (Chicago Daily Tribune, 07/17/1955)

Photo - 1955 Arlington Classic (CDT 1955.07.17)

Chicago Daily Tribune, 07/17/1955

Nashua - Arlington Classic chart (CDT 1955.07.17)

Chicago Daily Tribune, 07/17/1955

Theen (1935)

Theen – 1935 br. f. by Sickle (GB) – Potheen by Wildair
Breeder/Owner: Warren Wright, Sr. (Calumet)
Trainer: Frank (F. J.) Kearns
Family 8-c

Record: (5) 2-1-0 / $16,680
1st: Arlington Lassie S. (6f,AP)


Referred to as “a tomboyish looking filly,” Theen was a first generation Calumet homebred by Sickle (GB) out of the Wildair mare Potheen, a daughter of the champion mare Rosie O’Grady, whom Warren Wright of Calumet had purchased at auction from H. P. Whitney in 1930.

Sickle (GB), out of the Chaucer (GB) mare Selene (GB), thereby making him a full brother to Pharamond (GB) and a half-brother to the yet-to-be-foaled Hyperion (GB), would spend his formative years in England, accruing a record of (10) 3-4-2 including three stakes wins before being imported to the United States in 1929 for stud duty at Joseph E. Widener’s Elmendorf Farm.

Rewarded with a stellar book of mares from the beginning, Sickle would immediately have success in the stud, with his first U.S. crop producing the outstanding mare Jabot, herself later becoming the dam of champion Counterpoint.

Sickle’s 1935 foal crop would have remarkable success, as in addition to the stakes winning Theen, he would produce stakes winner Cravat (a full brother to Jabot), Champion 3-Year-Old Stagehand, and English stakes winner Unbreakable, himself the sire of Champion Sprinter of 1947 and sire Polynesian. Sickle would ultimately lead the North American sire lists in 1936 and 1938.

At the time of Theen’s birth in 1935, the 7-year-old Potheen was merely a young, promising broodmare. However, by the end of the next decade, Potheen would end her career as the 1947 Broodmare of the Year, as in addition to the stakes winning Theen, she would foal major stakes winner Pot O’Luck (by Chance Play) in 1942 and champion and Hall of Fame filly Bewitch (by Bull Lea) in 1945.

Potheen (alongside immediate family members Cherokee Rose, Erin, Liz F., Rosie O’Grady, Rowes Bud, and Royal Rose (GB)), were later named Reines-de-Course for their contributions to the breed.


JUNE 1937
Theen’s racing career would be abbreviated, encompassing five starts across 6 ½ weeks from June 30 to August 14. Based at Arlington under the tutelage of Calumet’s trainer Frank Kearns, Theen was entered in a five furlong maiden race at Arlington on June 30. She would finish second in her debut to the Jean Valjean filly Mighty Sweet, having been “all but left” at the start.

JULY 1937
Racing back one week later, Theen would win a five furlong maiden event at Arlington on July 7 by six lengths in :58 ⅘. The chart notes read: “Theen, away well and sent into command with a rush, sustained throughout and was only mildly shaken up in the stretch.”

Theen maiden chart (CDT 1937.07.08)

Chicago Daily Tribune, 07/08/1937

Theen Lassie workout headline (CDT 1937.07.15)Following her decisive maiden win, Theen was pointed towards the Arlington Lassie Stakes (6f) on July 17. In preparation for the race, she would work six furlongs in 1:13 ⅘ on July 14, leading trainer Kearns to proclaim “Theen is the little lady to beat in the Lassie” (Chicago Daily Tribune, 07/15/1937).

Theen’s backers were compensated for their confidence when she defeated Inhale in the Arlington Lassie by a half-length in 1:11 ⅘. In third was another Sickle filly, Well Rewarded.

Theen’s win in the Arlington Lassie was the merely the first in a series for the matriarchal line of Rosie O’Grady, as Theen’s half-sister Bewitch would capture the race in 1947, with Thunder Bertie doing the same in 1998.

Theen Arlington Lassie chart (CDT 1937.07.18)

Chicago Daily Tribune, 07/18/1937

Theen Arlington Lassie photo 1 (CDT 1937.07.18)

Chicago Daily Tribune, 07/18/1937

Theen Arlington Lassie photo 2 (CDT 1937.07.18)

Chicago Daily Tribune, 07/18/1937

AUGUST 1937
Following her win in the Arlington Lassie, Theen would travel to Saratoga in preparation for the major eastern juvenile stakes. She would make two starts at Saratoga in the month of August – the Schuylerville Stakes (5.5f) on August 5 and the Spinaway Stakes (6f) on August 14. Failing to improve upon her form shown at Arlington, she would finish fourth of eleven behind Creole Maid, Jacola, and Merry Lassie in the Schuylerville and ninth of fifteen in the Spinaway, won by Merry Lassie.

In addition to their on track fortunes, Theen’s opponents in the Schuylerville and Spinaway would ultimately carry that good luck on to the breeding shed.

Creole Maid, by Sickle’s full brother Pharamond, would win the Coaching Club American Oaks (11f) of 1938, later foaling major stakes winner/track record setter Natchez (by Jamestown) in 1943.

Jacola, a half-sister to major stakes winner and Hall of Famer Johnstown, would be named the Champion 2-Year-Old filly of 1937. From the immediate family of Gallorette and Omaha, once retired to the breeding shed Jacola would continue the family tradition of producing champions, foaling Phalanx (by Pilate) in 1944, who would become Champion 3-Year-Old of 1947. Jacola is also an ancestress of the stakes winning Jester stallion Reflected Glory, himself the sire of major stakes winner and champion Snow Chief, among others.

Merry Lassie would foal the Johnstown filly Laughter in 1941, herself the dam of the Bimelech stallion Hilarious.

DECEMBER 1937
Retired following the Spinaway, Theen was assigned 108 lbs. in the Experimental Free Handicap of 1937. Menow was named the 126 lb. highweight on the scale, with Jacola the highest ranked filly at 116 lbs.

OTHER
Bred to the Broomstick stallion Halcyon in the spring of 1938, Theen would have a long career in the breeding shed, producing fourteen foals from 1939 to 1958. Ultimately, none of her foals would show the brilliance of her siblings or granddam.

Hallie T. (1939 br. f. by Halcyon)
Record: Unraced

Sun Theen (1941 ch. c. by Sun Teddy)
Record: (12) 2-1-2 / $3,635 in 4 years of racing (1943, 1945, 1948-1949)

Sheer Luck (1942 ch. f. by Chance Play)
Record: (37) 4-7-4 / $11,750 in 4 years of racing (1944-1947)

Linwood Theen (1943 br. f. by Sun Teddy)
Record: (6) 0-0-0 / $0 in 2 years of racing (1946-1947)

Speed Play (1944 ch. c. by Chance Play)
Record: (43) 4-6-6 / $98,55 in 4 years of racing (1946-1949)

Armored (1945 dkb. c. by Sir Gallahad (FR))
Record: (8) 2-0-0 / $4,200 in 1 year of racing (1949)

Bearing Clear (1946 b. c. by Bull Lea)
Record: (33) 3-4-5 / $9,130 in 3 years of racing (1948-1950)

Bern Lass (1949 b. f. by Bernborough (AUS))
Record: Unraced

Romaneen (1951 br. f. by Roman)
Record: (11) 1-4-1 / $6,975 in 2 years of racing (1953-1954)

Herb’s Choice (1952 br. c. by Heliopolis (GB))
Record: (11) 0-3-0 / $2,200 in 4 years of racing (1954-1956, 1959)

Preen (1953 blk. f. by Roman)
Record: (33) 2-8-6 / $9,080 in 3 years of racing (1955-1957)

Queen Theen (1954 b. f. by Roman)
Record: Unraced

Bill’s Melody (1956 br. g. by Priam (FR))
Record: (33) 2-3-3 / $4,391 in 4 years of racing (1958-1959, 1961-1962)

My Best (1958 blk. c. by Cosmic Bomb)
Record: (26) 1-2-3 / $4,110 in 5 years of racing (1960-1964)

Hauca, Perida & Thingumabob

Hauca – 1936 ch. f. Wise Counsellor – Fire Boat by Big Blaze
Breeder/Owner: Glen Riddle Farm (Samuel D. Riddle)
Trainer: G. Conway

Record: (5) 3-1-0 / $2,255
ETR at Suffolk Downs (06/21/1938): 5 furlongs in :58 ⅘

Owned and bred by Sam Riddle, Hauca was a daughter of champion Wise Counsellor and the first foal out of the Big Blaze mare Fire Boat. Fire Boat was unraced, having been bred to Wise Counsellor as a 2-year-old.


Thingumabob – 1936 b. c. Boojum – Refine by Ormondale
Breeder: C. V. Whitney
Owner: Manhasset Stable (Joan Whitney Payson and Mrs. Charles S. Payson)
Trainer: William Brennan

New York Times, 08/12/1938

Thingumabob following his win in the 1938 Arlington Futurity. Photo: The New York Times, 08/12/1938.

Record: (3) 2-0-0 / $31,810
1st: Arlington Futurity (6f,AP)

Bred by C. V. Whitney and owned by Mrs. C. S. Payson’s Manhasset Stable, Thingumabob was a son of the speedy Whitney-bred stallion Boojum. Boojum, by John P. Grier, was a precocious sort who counted the Hopeful Stakes among his three wins as a juvenile, and “whose blazing speed was too much for the strength of his legs. Boojum broke down after a fine 2 year old campaign and was retired to the Whitney stud.” (Chicago Daily Tribune, 07/28/1938)

Following retirement to the breeding shed, Boojum would sire thirty-two foals at stud, one of them being the bay colt out of the young Ormondale mare Refine, later named Thingumabob.

Among others, Refine would later produce the Mahmoud (FR) filly Miss Mood (1944), who is of current relevance as the 7th dam of champion and current leading 3-year-old American Pharoah (2012 b. c. by Pioneerof the Nile).


Perida – 1937 b. f. Chance Shot – Black Queen by Pompey
Owner/breeder: Joseph E. Widener
Trainer: P. Coyne

Record: (3) 2-0-0 / $4,950
1st: Fashion S. (4.5f,BEL)

Owned and bred by Joseph Widener, Perida was the second foal out of the young Pompey mare Black Queen, herself the only foal produced by the champion mare Black Maria prior to that mare’s premature death in 1932.

It was an ill-fated line, as Black Queen’s first foal, the Polymelian (GB) filly Black Polly (1936), would produce only two foals before her premature death in 1942. One of those foals was the classic winning champion Polynesian (1942 br. c. by Unbreakable).


Hauca, Perida, and Thingumabob did not share pedigree, owner, trainer, or competition, and aside from sky high expectations, at first glance may not seem to have much in common. However, all three are forever linked as a result of the circumstances of their respective demises.

Saratoga – the graveyard of favorites, indeed.

MAY 1938
Under the tutelage of trainer William Brennan, the 2-year-old Thingumabob had garnered notice for his speedy works at Belmont Park, including a four furlong work in :48. Entered in a 4 ½ furlong maiden race at Belmont on May 10, Thingumabob would cover the sloppy going in :54⅖, winning by six lengths under Eddie Arcaro. Future stakes horse T. M. Dorsett would finish seventh in the field of fourteen.

JUNE 1938
The 2-year-old Hauca would make her debut at Belmont Park on June 1 in the Graceful Purse (5f). Racing greenly, she would finish second to Sun Girl by 1 ½ lengths. Five days later at Aqueduct, she would win a maiden event on June 6 by four lengths in 1:00 ⅗.

Hauca’s third and final start for the month of June would come at Suffolk Downs, where in a winning effort on June 21 she would equal the track record for five furlongs, running the distance in :58 ⅘.

JULY 1938
After a lengthy break, Thingumabob was shipped to Arlington Park in late July in preparation for the Arlington Futurity (6f) on July 30. While at Arlington, his athleticism in the mornings caused the maiden winner’s bandwagon to continue to grow.

“That he will be the favorite was made evident yesterday morning when he turned in the most sensational trial of the Futurity training period on the Arlington Park Course. Apparently as much at home in this going as he is over a fast track, he splashed mud in all directions while he breezed a half mile in the spectacular muddy track time of 48 seconds. He had stepped the first quarter in :22 ⅖ and the three-eighths in 35 seconds.” (Chicago Daily Tribune, 07/29/1938)

Now at Saratoga, Hauca would win a 5 ½ furlong allowance on July 29 by four lengths, clocking a time of 1:07 in the muddy going.

Thingumabob, again under the guidance of Eddie Arcaro, would take the Arlington Futurity on July 30 by five lengths in 1:12. No Competition would finish second, with Hants third.

“Not once during the race did Arcaro use his whip. Soon after he passed the finish line he hit Thingumabob one crack with it just to keep the bay son of Boojum-Refine from pulling up too suddenly. Thingumabob not only scored one of the easiest victories in the history of the Futurity but many horseman acclaimed him as the best looking juvenile ever to win it.” (Chicago Daily Tribune, 07/31/1938)

Chicago Daily Tribune, 07/31/1938

Thingumabob winning the 1938 Arlington Futurity. Photo: Chicago Daily Tribune, 07/31/1938.

Thingumabob - 1938.07.30 A Futurity chart (NYT 1938.07.31)

The New York Times, 07/31/1938

AUGUST 1938: SARATOGA, THE SANFORD STAKES
Following his win in the Arlington Futurity, Thingumabob would make a quick turnaround for the Sanford Stakes (6f) at Saratoga on August 11. Rumors swirled about Thingumabob, with railbirds saying that not only had insurance on the promising juvenile had been upped from $10,000 to $50,000, but that the Paysons had turned down a $200,000 offer for the colt.

“Classed with El Chico and Ariel Toy as one of the nation’s foremost juveniles, Thingumabob broke well and was coming up fast on the inside when the field went into the far turn. Here Ariel Toy swerved over. Suddenly the favorite faltered and the leg snapped. Jockey Eddie Arcaro took him around the bend and dismounted. Examination showed the leg had broken clean just above the ankle and there was no hope of saving the colt.” (Chicago Daily Tribune, 08/12/1938)

Los Angeles Times, 08/12/1938

Ariel Toy would finish first by a length over Birch Rod. He was later disqualified “partly because of what happened on the back stretch, and partly because of Ariel Toy’s bearing out just at the finish. …He was handled by Eddie Arcaro, who stated after the accident that he was not bothered by Ariel Toy. This makes the disqualification the more mysterious. Wayne Wright, rider of Birch Rod, lodged no claim.

Thingumabob started a trifle slowly, well back of the flying Ariel Toy, and was rushed up along the rail by Arcaro in an effort to save ground. Arcaro then ran into what is known on the race track as “an open switch.” Hardy, rider of Ariel Toy, “closed the switch” by bearing over toward the fence. This forced Arcaro to take back. In snatching Thingumabob back out of full stride, when the colt was just getting up steam in earnest, he may have stepped in a hole.

It is a fact that Thingumabob did not break down until after Ariel Toy had gone completely over to the fence and begun to draw off. Whether or not Ariel Toy actually bumped Thingumabob is a matter for the patrol judge on duty at that point. He made no such statement that could be gained by the press.” (The New York Times, 08/12/1938)

New York Times, 08/13/1938

The next day, the Saratoga stewards rendered the following verdict placing blame solely on Ariel Toy’s jockey, Lee Hardy.

“The racing stewards at Saratoga, after a long and detailed investigation, today charged Lee Hardy, veteran jockey, with causing the accident which resulted in the destroying of Mrs. C. S. Payson’s highly regarded two-year-old Thingumabob, during the running of the Sanford Stakes yesterday.

As the result the 30-year-old Lexington, Ind., rider was suspended for the remainder of the meeting, which ends August 27, and an additional ten racing days and his case referred to the Jockey Club for further action.

On the report of the patrol judges stationed at the point of the accident, the stewards charged Hardy with deliberately crossing in front of Thingumabob and causing interference. Eddie Arcaro, up on Mrs. Payson’s colt, was forced to take up sharply, which is believed to have caused Thingumabob to break his leg.

In their ruling the stewards said an inspection revealed marks on the rail where the accident occurred. A subsequent examination of the body of the horse showed a shoe to have been pulled half off the left fore foot, a severely-grabbed left quarter and badly torn ligaments in the right fore leg.

Ariel Toy, Hardy’s mount, also was disqualified from first money for swerving in front of Trailer and Birch Rod, ridden by Raymond Workman and Wayne Wright, respectively, in the stretch run. Birch Rod, a rank outsider, was awarded the purse.” (The Washington Post, 08/13/1938)

AUGUST 1938: SARATOGA, THE SPINAWAY STAKES
On August 13, two days after the Sanford, Hauca would make her stakes debut in the Spinaway Stakes (6f). With three wins in four starts and a track record equaling effort to her name, she was instilled as the favorite for the race.

New York Times, 08/14/1938

“Thanksgiving won the historic Travers before 20,000 at Saratoga today as tragedy struck for the second time within three days. Samuel D. Riddle’s Hauca, favorite for the Spinaway, secondary feature, suffered a broken leg at the far turn, and had to be destroyed. The accident happened at almost the precise spot where Thingumabob suffered a broken leg on Thursday.

The stewards grounded [Jocky] Lee Hardy following the Thingumabob accident and this afternoon issued the following statement in the Hauca case: “Jocky [sic] Samuel Renick is suspended for the remainder of the meeting and ten additional racing days, effective Tuesday, Aug. 16, and his case referred to the jocky [sic] club. Renick’s suspension was the result of crossing over and causing Hauca to fall.” (Chicago Daily Tribune, 08/14/1938)

MAY 1939
Perida would debut at Belmont Park in a 4 ½ furlong maiden event on May 11, defeating Small World and future Reine-de-Course mare Thorn Apple by 1 ½ lengths in :53 ⅗.

Perida - Fashion (NYT 1939.05.14)

Wasting no time, she would return to the starting gate two days later in the Fashion Stakes (4.5f), winning her stakes debut by three lengths over Us in :52.

AUGUST 1939: SARATOGA, THE SPINAWAY STAKES
After an extended break following her win in the Fashion S., Perida’s next start would not come until the Spinaway Stakes (6f) at Saratoga on August 19. Despite having been away from the starting gate since mid-May, she would be named the favorite for the race.

Perida - Spinaway (NYT 1939.08.20)

“In the $10,000 Spinaway, Perida, the favorite, broke her leg and was destroyed. The accident occurred soon after the start of the six furlong sprint and near the spot where the fleet filly Hauca met her end in the same race last year. Other two year olds have come to grief at approximately the same spot, notably Thingumabob, another casualty of 1938.” (New York Times, 08/20/1939)

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.