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Most thoroughbred folk know about the great Exterminator. But who on earth is Bob Dorman?

 

I have been a collector since I was a little girl.

It started with rocks and model horses. There was a brief flirtation along the way with old quilts. And then about twenty-five years ago, I went back to thoroughbreds and horses, in the form of original photographs and press photographs. I began with photos of Secretariat and Terlingua, his daughter by Crimson Saint and dam of Storm Cat, then expanded to include Northern Dancer and his descendants. Then I branched out to North American thoroughbred champions.

I’ve been lucky: I got into the market before prices for original press photographs went through the roof. And along the way, I not only satisfied a passion for photography but also learned about thoroughbred racing history and the photographers who recorded it, men like C.C. Cook, L.S. Sutcliffe, Bert Thayer and “Skeets” Meadors, to name but a few.

C.C. Cook's great shot of EXTERMINATOR, whom he once described as "the beautiful and the glorious." Copyright KEENELAND-COOK.

C.C. Cook’s great shot of EXTERMINATOR, whom he once described as “the beautiful and the glorious.” Copyright KEENELAND-COOK.

Sometimes I get lucky, finding a “gem” that is not only a great addition to my collection but also provokes me to question, and to research its provenance.

A few days ago, during a woeful hockey game, I turned on my cell phone and was trawling through EBAY when I came upon this photo (below), for the unlikely sum of $24.99 USD (Buy It Now):

EXTERMINATOR. Copyright The Estate of Bob Dorman.

EXTERMINATOR. Copyright The Estate of Robert Paine Dorman.

As a collector (of anything) you need to learn pretty fast how to recognize what’s rare and what’s fake. Marked up as it was, the photo was nevertheless stamped 1922 on the back and carried Exterminator’s name, neatly typed, in one corner. This was no fake. Photos of Exterminator are excessively rare, for reasons that simply may have to do with the state of photography of the day. Accordingly, an Exterminator photo can go as high as $500.00 USD in an EBAY auction. I had purchased from this seller over the years, one of a handful of enterprising people who have bought the photo archives of newspapers like the Chicago Tribune or The Baltimore Sun and are selling them on various sites on social media.

Naturally, I bought the photograph and I’m still flushed with delight about defining a photo of Exterminator at a price I can afford. Just before I bought it, I examined the back of the photo again:

Back of the 1922 photo of EXTERMINATOR.

Back of the 1922 photo (shown above) of EXTERMINATOR.

 

There, neatly stamped in the centre was the following: “Photo by/Bob Dorman/Newspaper Enterprise Ass.”

This is one of the best-known shots of EXTERMINATOR, with C. Fairbrother up.

This is one of the best-known shots of EXTERMINATOR, with C. Fairbrother up.

After collecting, researching, reading and writing for over two decades I’ve learned a great deal about press photographs in general, thoroughbred photographs in particular and the photographers who took them. I knew the photo I had just scored at a ridiculous price was rare because I’ve never seen it anywhere before.

Exterminator is an American thoroughbred legend. The gelding raced 99 times and did one exhibition run before his retirement, winning the Kentucky Derby and thoroughly surprising his owner, horseman Willis Sharp Kilmer. Kilmer had purchased “The Goat” (as he sometimes called him) as a three year-old, on the advice of his trainer, Henry McDaniel.

But it was the fancy Sun Briar on whom Kilmer placed his hopes for the 1918 Kentucky Derby. McDaniel and the big, leggy gelding soon developed a relationship based largely on Old Bones’ intelligence and the trainer’s skill at noticing it. Exterminator was a hard-working colt who seemed to know that his job was to get Sun Briar ready for Derby honours. According to some reports, “Old Shang” (his stable name) was intelligent enough to cope with Sun Briar’s mood swings and knew exactly what to do to get his workmate to put in a really good run.

EXTERMINATOR and SUN BRIAR work at Saratoga in 1918.

EXTERMINATOR (outside) and SUN BRIAR work at Saratoga in 1918, after the former’s win in the Kentucky Derby. Copyright KEENELAND-COOK.

 

But when Sun Briar was scratched, and after some powerful convincing by Churchill Downs’ President, Colonel Matt Winn, Kilmer finally agreed to enter Exterminator in the Derby as a replacement. The result was a decisive win by a colt his owner didn’t much like. (The silent footage below shows Exterminator winning the 1918 Derby and is the only live footage of this superb champion.)

After his Derby victory, the chestnut was to race until he was nine, taking HOTY in 1922. His victories at eight and nine were probably unprecedented and many would say that Exterminator was the greatest of them all — including Man O’ War. By the time he had retired, this courageous and gritty campaigner had amassed thousands of fans and even today, all these decades later, there are many of us who still adore him.

EXTERMINATOR and his best buddy, PEANUTS, lead horses to the post at Pimlico for the Exterminator Handicap.

EXTERMINATOR and his best buddy, PEANUTS, lead horses to the post at Pimlico for the Exterminator Handicap. Date unknown. Photo and copyright, THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE.

I am one of those who loves Exterminator. C.C. Cook’s beautiful shot of him hangs above my bed, where his great heart dusts my dreams.

Images of Exterminator tend to be restricted to a few of the greatest equine photographers of the day, making it natural to be intrigued by this new photo I had just acquired by a photographer whose name meant nothing to me.

“Who was Bob Dorman?” I wondered — and what was his connection to Exterminator?

The search was on.

ROBERT PAINE DORMAN. Passport photo.

ROBERT PAINE DORMAN. Passport photo.

As it turns out, Robert “Bob” Paine Dorman was not only a very fine photographer, but he was a “Battle Photographer Extraordinaire,” according to Benjamin David “Stookie” Allen, a cartoonist best-known for his nationally syndicated series, “Mugsey.” Allen also created the cartoon series “Men of Daring” and “Women of Daring” for Argosy magazine and it is within its pages, on January 19, 1935, that the cartoonist portrayed the career of Robert Paine (spelled “Payne” in the issue) Dorman.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1885, Dorman’s obituary describes him as “a news photographer, 73,[who] had a varied career, covering the Mexican Revolution led by Pancho Villa, the Dempsey-Gibbons fight in 1923 and the first round the world flight of a U.S. Air Corps squadron in 1924.” As it turns out, this is a rather tame description of Dorman’s career.

According to “Skookie” Allen, in 1911 at twenty-six years of age, Dorman “…armed with a camera” set out for Mexico and what he imagined as the excitement of the Mexican Revolution. There, he joined the army of Francisco I. Madero as a Private. He earned no salary in this role, and so became a self-dubbed “unofficial” war correspondent and “sidelines” photographer. One assumes “sidelines” means exactly what it says: accompanying the Mexican revolutionaries into battle and trying not to get yourself killed in the process. But, maybe not…..because Dorman took part in at least two battles (Casa Grande and El Valle) and a number of minor skirmishes with “gun and camera in-hand,” according to Skookie Allen. Dorman may have known and partnered with another American photographer, Otis A. Aultman, who was also there recording the revolution.

Robert Dorman photo from The Mexican Revolution. Published in "The Wind That Swept Mexico" by Anita Brenner. Copyright The Estate of Robert Dorman.

Robert P. Dorman photo, taken during the Mexican Revolution. Published in “The Wind That Swept Mexico” by Anita Brenner. Copyright The Estate of Robert Paine Dorman.

 

Robert Paine Dorman photo taken during the Mexican Revolution. Copyright The Estate of Robert Paine Dorman.

Another Dorman photo taken during the Mexican Revolution. Also published in Anita Brenner’s book, “The Wind That Swept Mexico.” Copyright The Estate of Robert Paine Dorman.

 

Allen continues, “Because of his expert battle photographs, his first-hand reports to American papers, his fighting ability and his sage military advice to Madero, the Federals placed a large reward on his head. He taught Madero the trick of curling up rails …thus hampering the movement of Federal troops.”

By 1915, Dorman had risen to Colonel in Pancho Villa’s forces. He was, reputedly, one of “the few gringos that Villa ever trusted.” Once again, Dorman took gun and camera into combat, fighting in the battles of Tierra Blanca, Ojinaga, Monterey, Torreon, Leon and Zacarecas. While serving with Villa, “Don Roberto” (as he became known) photographed and reported scores of executions. One of these was carried out by “El Carnicero” (“The Butcher”) purely for Dorman’s benefit, since the executioner so respected El Roberto’s skills as a fighter he wanted to demonstrate his own ability to obliterate the enemy.

Fierri (The Butcher) in black with Pancho Villa. Possibly taken by Dorman, but source unknown.

Fierri (El Carnicero:The Butcher) in black with Pancho Villa. Possibly taken by Dorman, but source unknown.

By 1923 Dorman had moved on, this time to another bloody conflict in Honduras. He clearly had returned to the USA before the Honduras spate, however, since the photo of Exterminator was taken in 1922.

The story of Dorman’s coverage of the first world-flight by the U.S. Air Corps (1924) is colourful, although it doesn’t quite compare with being a Colonel in Pancho Villa’s army.

The Air Corps had landed in Labrador at the end of their mission, and Dorman, then employed by ACME Newspictures, needed to get his glass slides and negatives to New York City as fast as he could manage it if he wanted to be the first to scoop the story.

As his plane was flying over Manhattan’s East River, the photographer threw his slides and negatives overboard. Waiting in a boat on the river was another ACME photographer of merit, Frank Merta, who recovered the bag. The slides had smashed to bits on impact, but the negatives were intact. So Robert Dorman’s images went to press well-ahead of any of the legion of photo journalists who had covered the event.

One of Robert P. Dorman's shots of the first world-flight by the U.S. Air Corps.

One of Robert P. Dorman’s shots of the first world-flight by the U.S. Air Corps. Taken in Labrador, the shot shows the remaining planes coming in for a landing with dignitaries in the foreground, readying to greet them. Copyright UPI.

 

Robert Dorman also got the call to cover the Dempsey-Gibbons fight in Shelby,

Dorman also got the call to cover the Dempsey-Gibbons fight in Shelby, Montana in 1923.

 

Did Robert Dorman take these photos? Very possibly, but no photographer was named in the article.

Did Robert P. Dorman take these photos? Very possibly, but no photographer was named in the article.

 

In 1951 when Dorman retired, he had become the General Manager of ACME Newspictures. Throughout his career, he had somehow found time to marry Mary McConnell and they had two children, Dorothy and Robert G., both of whom are now deceased.

EXTERMINATOR (hi)

EXTERMINATOR meets visitors and enjoys a favourite snack. Photo and copyright, THE BALTIMORE SUN.

My research still can’t account for how Robert P. Dorman and Exterminator crossed paths in 1922, although it’s a fair bet that the former was assigned to get a picture of the Horse of the Year.

When the photographer came calling on this particular day almost a century ago, I’m guessing that the big chestnut knew he was among equals. You can see it in his eye.

EXTERMINATOR. Copyright The Estate of Bob Dorman.

EXTERMINATOR. Copyright The Estate of Bob Dorman.

 

 

BONUS FEATURE

Did you know that on April 26, 2016……there’s a new book about Exterminator?

http://www.amazon.com/Here-Comes-Exterminator-Longshot-American/dp/1250065690/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1452200865&sr=1-1&keywords=9781250065698

REFERENCES

Allen, Benjamin David “Skookie,” Men of Daring: Robert Payne Dorman, in Argosy magazine, January 15, 1935

Faber, John. Great News Photos and the Stories Behind Them. Dover Publications, 2nd Revised Edition, 1978

 

NOTE: THE VAULT is a non-profit website. (Any advertising that appears on THE VAULT is placed there by WordPress and the profit, if any, goes to WordPress.) We make every effort to honour copyright for the photographs used in our articles. It is not our policy to use the property of any photographer without his/her permission, although the task of sourcing photographs is hugely compromised by the social media, where many photographs prove impossible to trace. Please do not hesitate to contact THE VAULT regarding any copyright concerns. Thank you.

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Together,we saved over 20 horses from going to slaughter in Canada or Mexico in 2015. And every donation counted in this effort because no donation is too small. Hale, Trendy Cielo, Maya Littlebear, Felicitas Witness and 16 others, including two mares and their foals, thank you.

Please consider making a donation to a worthy cause so that we can help more rescue efforts in 2016.

Thank you.

https://www.gofundme.com/8d2cher4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sending each of you who have supported THE VAULT over the years with commentary, donations, questions and insights my very warmest wishes this holiday season. To those who have sent donations for horse rescue: we have saved over 20 horses from going to slaughter in Canada or Mexico in 2015. And every one of your donations counted in this effort because no donation is too small. As well, my portrait of American Pharoah helped to raise funds for our very worthy cause. Hale, Trendy Cielo, Maya Littlebear, Felicitas Witness and 16 others, including two mares and their foals, thank you. And I thank you from the heart. Abigail Anderson, Montreal, Canada

https://www.gofundme.com/8d2cher4

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Ireland has her Galileo, but almost a decade before he came along, A.P. Indy was born. His courage on the track dazzled us. And his contribution to the development of the North American thoroughbred has been beyond brilliant.

This article is dedicated to one of A.P.’s greatest fans, Sue F., and to Louise H. and the wonderful folks at Lane’s End. And, of course, to The Great One himself.

 

1989: A baby A.P. Indy at Lane's End.

1989: A baby A.P. INDY at Lane’s End.

 

A.P. INDY tops Keeneland summer sale, August 4, 1990. Billed as a brother to the great SUMMER SQUALL, A.P. was purchased by

A.P. INDY tops Keeneland summer sale, August 4, 1990. Billed as a half-brother to the great SUMMER SQUALL, A.P. was purchased by Tomonori Tsurumaki for 2.9 million.

 

The bay colt was breeding royalty: the son of Triple Crown winner and prepotent sire, Seattle Slew, and Weekend Surprise, a daughter of Secretariat who had already produced the champion Summer Squall. Named A.P. Indy after his owner’s Formula One-style racetrack in Southern Japan, the ridgeling went to HOF trainer Neil Drysdale following his highly publicized purchase by BBA Ireland on behalf of Japanese businessman, Tomonori Tsurumaki, who was also a lover of the arts and had spent $51.3 million the year before on a painting by Picasso, Les Noces de Pierrette.

As we all know, perfect bloodlines aren’t always rewarded. But in the case of A.P. Indy, the genes — and a touch of fairy dust — all came together to bless a perfect thoroughbred.

And I followed his progress, as did thousands of horse racing fans, from cradle right up to today. During his racing career, with the exception of wins in the 1992 Belmont Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup Classic, both of which were televised in Canada, and in the absence of social media as we know it today, it was Blood-Horse magazine that kept me in the loop. And I’m amazed I didn’t rip at least one cover right off as I tore into each new issue, looking for news about my beloved “A.P.”

Santa Anita Derby (1992):

But the A.P. Indy Express was de-railed on its way to Kentucky. A blind quarter crack in his left front foot was announced the morning of the Derby. I, of course, didn’t know this until later in the day. There I was, all keyed up with snacks and Chardonnay, waiting to see “my boy” in real time right in front of me on my television set for the very first time.

I was devastated — and that’s all I remember about the 1992 Kentucky Derby (won by the gutsy Lil E Tee). That, and the thought that A.P.’s hoof issue was like another thoroughbred champion I adored: Northern Dancer.

Drysdale called in the farrier, who rebuilt the hoof wall, and a mere three weeks later, A.P. won the Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont in devastating fashion.

And then it was off to the Belmont Stakes, where the gritty colt put in a workmanlike performance that left me in a teary heap, because I knew what I was looking at. Seeing him “in the flesh” was the height of my year in 1992. But the heart that carried him home was a heart so deep, so strong, that it blazed across the television screen.

Picasso was a genius of a painter but he was also a tough, resolute personality. He was, after all, the man who painted Guernica at a time when he could have been assassinated for even saying the name of a town devastated by the Germans during the Spanish Civil War. And throughout WWII, Picasso let it be known how he felt about intimidation, retiring to his Paris studio to paint and cast sculptures in bronze, despite the fact that bronze casting had been outlawed by the Germans (who had taken over Paris). The great man had died in 1973.

Woman On Horse by PICASSO. Although he was deeply devoted to the bull, Picasso featured horses in many of his paintings throughout his career. One sculpture, "Little Horse" is in the collection of

Woman On Horse. Although he was deeply devoted to the bull as a subject, Picasso featured horses in many of his paintings throughout his career. One sculpture, “Little Horse” is in the collection of MoMA.

According to his accomplished trainer, A.P. was as strong-willed as Picasso: “…he had his own mind. But once he got the hang of things…he was exceptional.”

If Vaslav Nijinsky had, indeed, returned as a horse (the incomparable Nijinsky II), then as far as I was concerned, Picasso had returned to win the Belmont Stakes:

The Belmont victory was followed by a poor showing at Woodbine in the Molson Export Million and a disastrous run in the Jockey Gold Cup, where A.P. fell to his knees and ripped the shoe off his front foot coming out of the gate. As trainer Drysdale was to note after the race, “There wasn’t much foot left…”

So the colt you see finishing third here is also showing you what that heart inside him was really all about. (Analysis of A.P. Indy’s fall and the result comes after the race footage.) :

Again, a front hoof was rebuilt with acrylics and again, a mere three weeks later, A.P. made his start in the 1992 BC Classic. And again, that great heart and determined mind shone through:

Following this, his final start, the champion colt — beloved by a nation of sportsman and racing fans — was retired to stand at Lane’s End, where he was bred and born, after being crowned the 1992 Horse of the Year and Champion 3 year-old colt. One of the big questions was whether A.P. was fertile, since the undescended testicle that had plagued him as a 2 year-old had been surgically removed that same year. Happily, not only was he fertile but he went on to become one of the greatest American sires ever, while providing an important alternative to the dominance of Northern Dancer and Mr. Prospector sire lines for breeders. A.P. hails from the Nasrullah sire line and since 1984, when Seattle Slew crowned the leading sire list, only A.P. Indy and his grandson, Tapit, have represented Nasrullah at the top of the heap. Significant because the Nasrullah sire once dominated American breeding. From 1955-1984, either Nasrullah or one of his male-line descendants led the sire lists a total of 18 times.

BOLD RULER, the sire of the incomparable SECRETARIAT, was the son of NASRULLAH. BOLD RULER is represented in A.P. INDY'S pedigree on both the top and the bottom.

BOLD RULER, the sire of the incomparable SECRETARIAT, was the son of NASRULLAH. BOLD RULER is represented in A.P. INDY’S pedigree on both the top and the bottom.

And top the heap A.P. Indy most certainly did, whether colts or fillies. Here are a few of the most prominent of his sons and daughters: Belmont Stakes winner, Rags To Riches, millionaires Mineshaft, Bernardini and Aptitude, and the outstanding Steven Got Even, Marchfield, Friends Lake, Got Lucky, Hotep, Symboli Indy, Golden Missile and Girolamo. BC winner Eldaafer, a gelding son, resides — with his goats — at Old Friends in Kentucky. Pulpit was arguably A.P.’s best son to date at stud and was, sadly, gone far, far too soon. However, Pulpit’s son,Tapit, is proving an absolute monster as a sire and has been the leading American-based sire by gross earnings for the last three years.

TAPIT, a grandson of A.P. INDY, has been the leading American-based sire for the last 3 years.

TAPIT, a grandson of A.P. INDY, has been the leading American-based sire for the last 3 years.

Most recently, the millionaire-earner Honor Code, who hails from A.P. Indy’s final crop, has been retired to stand at Lane’s End.

Here is Honor Code winning the 2015 Metropolitan Handicap. His style — reminiscent of the great Zenyatta — was to come from behind and he accomplished some astounding feats despite it. The way he ran is A.P. Indy all over again, in terms of the look of him on the track. This is a very, very nice colt and it will be so exciting to see how he does as a sire.

HONOR CODE shortly after arriving at Lane's End, posing in front of the statue of his sire, A.P. INDY.

HONOR CODE shortly after arriving at Lane’s End, posing in front of the statue of his sire, A.P. INDY.

 

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"PONY!" I exclaimed, trying to hold back my tears. "Here you are. I've loved you forever."

“PONY!” I exclaimed, trying to hold back my tears. “Here you are. I’ve loved you forever.” Copyright protected. Used by permission of Liz Read.

Here I was, about to meet one of my greatest loves of all time: A.P. Indy. And as I walked toward him, I had what my friend, photographer and artist, Liz Read, has since described as ” a complete meltdown.”

It was early summer and my very first visit to Kentucky. Liz and I were privileged to be welcomed at Lane’s End (LE) and given a private tour by the lovely and knowledgeable Louise Hatfield, the Executive Assistant to Farm Manager, Mike Cline. Louise is a soft-spoken horsewoman who rode thoroughbreds at Newmarket and she knows her LE thoroughbreds down to the last detail.

Lane’s End is a place staffed by people who truly love what they do. And that was evident from the expression of Louise, Stallion Manager Billy Sellers and groom attendant, Antonio Villalobo, as I tearfully approached A.P.

 

Louise, Antonio and "my boy" share in my delight of A.P. INDY. Copyright protected. Used by permission of Liz Read.

Louise and Antonio share in my delight at finding myself a few feet away from the great A.P. INDY. Copyright protected. Used by permission of Liz Read.

As I drew closer, A.P. watched me out of the corner of one eye. It was a kind, relaxed eye. Gleaming in the early summer light, he waited patiently for me to come closer while I struggled to comprehend what was actually happening. Of course, I was equipped with LE peppermints and Louise had assured me that “A.P. does love his mints.”

"A.P. does love his mints" Copyright protected. Used by permission of Liz Read.

“A.P. does love his mints” Copyright protected. Used by permission of Liz Read.

I was around horses as a youngster and had learned that you don’t just rush up to strange horses and pat their noses. Horses tolerate that, but they don’t like it. So, with Louise close by and Antonio at his head, I chatted with A.P. and then proffered the much-adored peppermints. I don’t know how long we stood there before I actually placed my hand on his proud head. A.P. is one of those individuals who talks to you in a horse’s way of talking — making eye contact for long moments, ears forward and head drawing ever closer. I could feel his warmth right down in my solar plexus. I knew when to pat, when to kiss, following the stallion’s lead.

First touches. Copyright protected. Used by permission of Liz Read.

First touches. Copyright protected. Used by permission of Liz Read.

 

THE KISS. The making of a lifetime memory. Photo protected by copyright. Used by permission of Liz Read.

THE KISS. The making of a memory that will live inside me forever. Photo protected by copyright. Used by permission of Liz Read.

As I kissed him, A.P. studied me with a kind and understanding eye, as though he somehow knew how much I loved him. His face, warmed by the sun, smelled like honey.

Horses learn what they are taught and the people of LE treat all of their thoroughbreds with great kindness and respect and, if possible (because not every horse will encourage it) with affection. It was eminently clear that A.P.’s relationship with those who knew him best was deep and abiding. I saw it in the trust with which he greeted me, a total stranger.

As we chatted, I told A.P. all the reasons why I loved him and how I had followed his career from birth to track to breeding shed. I thanked him for his sons and daughters, and for his grand babies too. I told him he had the bravest heart (after his run on a battered hoof in the Jockey Gold Cup) and that I had loved his daddy, his dam and his grandaddy, Secretariat.

 

How do I love thee? Oh let me count the ways! Photo is copyright protected. Used by permission of Liz Read.

How do I love thee? Oh let me count the ways! Photo is copyright protected. Used by permission of Liz Read.

A.P. chomped thoughtfully on his peppermints, giving me the impression he was indeed taking it all in. A strikingly expressive individual, A.P. showed a full range of feeling as we quietly interacted. This is an “old soul” who bespeaks first meetings between horse and humankind, Arabian forefathers and an ancient wisdom.

A.P. surrounded by love. Photo is copyright protected. Used by permission of Liz Read.

A.P. surrounded by love. Photo is copyright protected. Used by permission of Liz Read.

Finally, it was time for A.P. to enjoy a romp in his paddock and off he went with Antonio, Liz Read and her camera in hot pursuit. I remained outside the barn with Louise. Together we watched him prance at the gate and, once released, he was off. Louise turned to Billy Sellers, “Just look at him. He looks like a colt.”

Turned loose in his paddock, A.P. was gone in a flash. Copyright protected. Used by permission of Liz Read.

Turned loose in his paddock, A.P. was gone in a flash. Copyright protected. Used by permission of Liz Read.

 

A coltish A.P. INDY turned out in his paddock. Copyrighted photo. Used by permission of Liz Read.

A coltish A.P. INDY. Photo protected by copyright. Used by permission of Liz Read

 

Copyrighted photo. Used by permission of Liz Read.

Photo protected by copyright. Used by permission of Liz Read.

 

This photo was such a hit with Lane's End that it appeared on FB and in the TDN. Photo protected by copyright. Used by permission of Liz Read.

This photo was such a hit with Lane’s End that it appeared on their FB page and in the TDN (below). Photo protected by copyright. Used by  permission of Liz Read.

 

AP by LIZ in TDN_unnamed

 

On that day, back in August 1990, I wonder if Tomonori Tsurumaki knew he was buying Picasso? Probably not. But in this great, great thoroughbred’s career there has been abundant evidence that if Picasso could indeed return to us, A.P. Indy would be a perfect embodiment.

Pablo Picasso. Watering Hole (1906)

Pablo Picasso. Watering Hole (1906)

Some who visit A.P. Indy note the swayed back of a pensioner, but I’ll never remember him that way. What will stay with me is “my boy’s” expressiveness, all wrapped up in a beautiful head, with wide dark eyes that flicker and soften when you speak to him. That, and the scent of honey on a warm day in early summer.

To Louise and the other folks we met that day, I express my eternal gratitude: you made the little girl inside the woman joyous. Coming head-to head with a horse I have loved forever was as overwhelming as it was precious.

And to my darling boy: I send you all my love. You already own my heart — and that’s forever.

 

A.P. Indy

 

 

NOTE: THE VAULT is a non-profit website. (Any advertising that appears on THE VAULT is placed there by WordPress and the profit, if any, goes to WordPress.) We make every effort to honour copyright for the photographs used in our articles. It is not our policy to use the property of any photographer without his/her permission, although the task of sourcing photographs is hugely compromised by the social media, where many photographs prove impossible to trace. Please do not hesitate to contact THE VAULT regarding any copyright concerns. Thank you.

 

 

On November 2, Team Pharoah gave their boy away. 

 

Bob Baffert says goodbye. Photo and copyright, TDN.

Bob Baffert says goodbye. Photo and copyright, TDN.

The great horse stopped twice on his way to the van that would take him to Coolmore-Ashford, where the second chapter of his life begins.

The first time, trainer Bob Baffert could be heard saying, “He doesn’t want to go.”

The second time — which brought tears to my eyes — he looked all around. A long, slow look — at the crimson trees, the roof of the barn, the field stretching beyond. In that moment, I felt American Pharoah saying goodbye to everything that he had ever known.

The Zayat and Baffert families, Jimmy and Dana Barnes, Eduardo Luna, George Alvarez and Smokey the pony now live in another world, a world in which the colt who took them on the ride of their lives is no longer there.

American Pharoah isn’t in the spaces where I knew him either, where I looked for him, where I expect him to be. There is an eerie stillness in my heart. An emptiness where memories glide like chimera.

 

"How many horses would let you do that?" With Ahmed Zayat and Bob Baffert.

“How many horses would let you do that?” (Mr. Zayat) With Ahmed Zayat and Bob Baffert.

 

Today, I want it all back — the joy, the excitement, the anticipation, the thrills.

And the magic.

Most of all, the magic. And I’m not alone on that score.

 

Here’s one fan, “Lady Ruffian’s” tribute:

 

Another, “Winged Saviors Horse Rescue” said, “Made solely as a tribute to an amazing horse and athlete.”

 

The fans: “ordinary folks” — just like me — trying to articulate what it feels like to witness greatness. To see history enfold right before your eyes and know that you were a part of it:

 

And “Team American Pharoah” — so incredibly gracious and kind, sharing their colt with each one of us, even if we could only come close to him over a screen from afar. Within a year of racing triumphs came stories that buoyed the heart, such as Jill Baffert reaching out to 15 year-old Joshua Griffin, who suffers from cerebral palsy, and wanted more than anything else to meet American Pharoah. (http://www.drf.com/news/bafferts-help-dream-become-reality-one-american-pharoah-fan)

On Sunday, the day after the colt’s BC Classic victory, Joshua’s wish came true. As he reached up to pet the great horse, Pharoah lowered his head, shown here near the end of this clip:

I’m kind of surprised at my own reaction to American Pharoah’s retirement. I’ve witnessed three other Triple Crown winners during my lifetime, beginning with Secretariat. Add to that the retirement of Northern Dancer, Nijinsky, Dance Smartly, A.P. Indy, John Henry, Cigar, Kelso and, more recently, Frankel, Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra.

In the “old days,” when a horse like Secretariat retired all you got was a 3-minute television clip; then, as a living image, he was gone. There were no video clips or DVD’s, no reports from “down on the farm.” Even the death of the Big Red horse, an icon and a superstar, loved by millions, came out in the newspaper in modest articles, a few lines with a photo.

 

AMERICAN PHAROAH: running from within.

AMERICAN PHAROAH: running from within.

Today, social media allows a sense of immediate contact. In this “context of immediacy,” I have spent many, many hours with Pharoah and his team, listening intently to what Bob Baffert had to say, watching footage of workouts and fan visits, looking at an encyclopedic assembly of photographs, savouring each and every detail about him, from his love of peeled carrots to his “great mind.”

And that mind should not be underestimated. As Aidan O’Brien sees it, a thoroughbred without “mental strength” is “useless.”

For anyone wondering what a “great mind” aka “mental strength” looks like, it finds superb expression in American Pharoah. Even his by-now legendary calm is associated with superior grey cells.

That great mind chooses the softest, gentlest window on the world. Photo and copyright, Casey Phillips. Used with permission.

That great mind chooses the softest, gentlest window on the world. Photo and copyright, Casey Phillips. Used with permission.

But where that mental toughness exploded was at work or in a race. Horsemen talk about hoping their young trainees will “get it.” But you can’t train into an individual what an American Pharoah, or Ruffian, Zenyatta, Rachel Alexandra, Man O’ War or Frankel have. The ones with mental toughness just know they can do it and they accomplish pretty much anything asked of them, no matter how exacting. They’re born that way.

KEEN ICE pulls up alongside AMERICAN PHAROAH in the Travers.

KEEN ICE pulls up alongside AMERICAN PHAROAH in the Travers.

You saw incredible strength of mind in American Pharoah’s run in the Travers, coming back against Frosted and then battling Keen Ice to the wire. Even an exhausted Pharoah refused to give up the will to win.

Bob Baffert also talked about his colt’s “mechanics.” I can’t say I love the word choice — we still struggle to let go of our enchantment with the metaphor of the machine to describe efficiency and productivity — but I knew what Baffert meant. He meant this:

Balance. The perfect syncopation. The flow. The ease with which he seems to do it. The arch in his neck, giving you the impression he’s got a choreographic routine in mind, or a ballet step.

Pharoah, you made me joyous.

When I watched you come down the final stretch at Keeneland, I wept. It was as though a river of human feeling had erupted. There you were, coming home, running from within and for the sheer love of it. Extreme beauty hurts your eyes, shocks your mind and opens your heart……and so I beheld you. Startling. Greater than beautiful. A song in my heart.

 

My all-time favourite image of AMERICAN PHAROAH and Victor Espinoza just after the BC Classic.

My all-time favourite image of AMERICAN PHAROAH and Victor Espinoza just after the BC Classic.

 

Bittersweet, watching Pharoah and his team over the last day before the colt was moved to Coolmore-Ashford and into retirement. But as I watched him with Ahmed and Justin Zayat, Bob and Jill Baffert, Jimmy Barnes, Eduardo and George, the thought that came to mind was this:

 ” The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” (Pablo Picasso)

Thank you, Team Pharoah, from the bottom of my heart, for sharing a colt I love so generously. Your spirits are as great as that of your champion.

And thank you, Pharoah, for the magic you made — and then gave away to us all.

 

At AMERICAN PHAROAH's parade at Churchill Downs.

At AMERICAN PHAROAH’s parade at Churchill Downs.

With Jimmy Barnes, Eduardo Luna and George Alvarez.

With Jimmy Barnes, Eduardo Luna and George Alvarez.

With Bob Baffert at Saratoga

With Bob Baffert at Saratoga.

"SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT" Photo and copyright, Emily Gricco. Used with permission.

“SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT” Photo and copyright, Emily Gricco. Used with permission.

 

With the Baffert family.

With the Baffert family.

 

Last words go to Jim Gath of Cave Creek, Arizona:

 

American_Pharoah_BC_Classic_615_X_400_orig

 

Well, well, my son.

You did it. Yeah, you did.

When you stepped onto the track this afternoon, you not only had the eyes of the world upon you, but you had the hopes & dreams of millions on your back. Sometimes, those hopes & dreams can get a little heavy – too heavy, sometimes. And they can’t be carried a mile-&-a-quarter, especially against competitors that are, quite arguably, some of the finest on earth.

But you knew. You’ve known all along. You haven’t bragged. You haven’t stomped & strutted. You haven’t gotten headstrong. We could see it in your eyes & in your demeanor. You knew that, today, you would not only go out on top – the very top – but you would do it with authority. You would run for the love of motion, for the love of running. For the love of those to whom you mean so much.

You knew that you’d break on top. That you would go to the early lead. That you would toy with the others going down the backside & around the far turn. And you also knew that, coming out of that final turn & heading for home, you would be by yourself. All by yourself. You, running against nothing but history.

You knew that you’d take the others’ hope away.

And, then, like an earth-bound Pegasus, you began to fly. And while the others were straining every muscle in their precious bodies, you simply laughed & stretched your legs & romped your way into that rarified air that is reserved for those who have done what no other ever has.

You looked like you were having the time of your life out there. Hell, son – you didn’t even break a sweat! And seeing you & Victor giggling together, coming back after you’d galloped out – well, son – that was just about the sweetest thing I ever did see.

You are now one of a kind.

The only horse ever to have won the Grand Slam.

I’ll miss seeing you flying down the stretch & across the finish line. I’ll miss seeing you in the Winner’s Circle. I’ll miss seeing the love that surrounds you by everyone you live & work with.

But what I & many others will carry with us is your inspiration.

You’ve inspired us to remain calm & serene. You’ve inspired us to know in our hearts that we can do whatever we put our minds to – if we want it bad enough. You’ve inspired us to see, unequivocally, that actions speak louder than words. That hopes & dreams can be achieved. And you’ve inspired us to see that life is to be embraced & loved & enjoyed.

That’s right, son.

You not only ran like the wind, today.

You carried millions of us along with you.

Yes, you did that.

Yeah, you did.

And, for that, we shall be forever grateful.

 

(Author Jim Gath is a horseman who works at Tierra Madre Horse Sanctuary (http://tierramadrehorsesanctuary.org) and whose writing about American Pharoah is as moving as the feeling that drives it.)

 

 

 

NOTE: THE VAULT is a non-profit website. (Any advertising that appears on THE VAULT is placed there by WordPress and the profit, if any, goes to WordPress.) We make every effort to honour copyright for the photographs used in our articles. It is not our policy to use the property of any photographer without his/her permission, although the task of sourcing photographs is hugely compromised by the social media, where many photographs prove impossible to trace. Please do not hesitate to contact THE VAULT regarding any copyright concerns. Thank you.

 

 

She is brilliant, beautiful. bold and beloved. But she is also a living work of art, wrought over more than two centuries. 

Before the Prix Vermeille.

Before the Prix Vermeille.

 

Whereas a work of art may take a decade or longer to complete, Treve is a work of centuries.

Even a cursory glance through Treve’s pedigree reveals some of the greatest names in thoroughbred history. Within her first 5 generations are Sadler’s Wells, Danzig, Mr. Prospector, Trillion, Top Ville, Secretariat, Buckpasser, Vaguely Noble and Nasrullah. Further back still, we find Hyperion, Gainsborough, Selene, Scapa Flow, Tracery, Swynford, Fair Trial, Rustom Pasha, Sir Gallahad, The Tetrarch and the champions of their day, the incomparable Pretty Polly and Mumtaz Mahal, “The Flying Filly.”

MUMTAZ MAHAL, his daughter, is one of the most important of all thoroughbred broodmares.

THE TETRARCH (left) and his daughter, MUMTAZ MAHAL (right) are a distinguish pair in TREVE’S bloodlines.

 

HYPERION with LORD DERBY after his Derby victory.

HYPERION (here with LORD DERBY after his Derby victory) is another “jewel” in TREVE’S pedigree.

 

PRETTY POLLY, one of TREVE'S distinguished ancestors, ruled the turf in the 1920's.

PRETTY POLLY (in the lead), one of TREVE’S distinguished ancestors, ruled the turf in the 1920’s.

 

VAGUELY NOBLE, shown here before his sale to , was the sire of champions

VAGUELY NOBLE, shown here before his sale in 1967, was the sire of champions EXCELLER, DAHLIA, ESTRAPADE, LEHMI GOLD and EMPERY. He appears in TREVE’S female family in the fifth generation.

 

TRILLION was a champion in her day, winning the Prix ganay, the Prix Foy and the Prix d"Harcourt for owners Nelson Bunker Hunt and Edward L. Stephenson. Retired, she foaled the great race mare TRIPTYCH. The great mare appears in TREVE'S female family in the fourth generation.

TRILLION was a champion in her day, winning the Prix Ganay, the Prix Foy and the Prix d”Harcourt for owners Nelson Bunker Hunt and Edward L. Stephenson. Retired, she foaled the great race mare TRIPTYCH. TRILLION appears in TREVE’S female family in the fourth generation.

 

Canadian Michael Burns' fine shot of SECRETARIAT and Ronnie Turcotte working at Woodbine, in Toronto, before the colt's final race.

Canadian Michael Burns’ fine shot of SECRETARIAT and Ronnie Turcotte working at Woodbine, in Toronto, before the colt’s final race. He appears in TREVE’S sire line in the fifth generation.

However, if we go even further back in time to 1882, we find a name that appears on both sides of Treve’s distinguished pedigree: Plaisanterie. Although she stands very far back in Treve’s pedigree — too far to have had a decisive hand in the making of the mighty Treve — her influence remains incontrovertible. Had Plaisanterie not added her “colours” to Treve’s bloodlines, there would have been no Treve at all. Distant in time as she may be, Plaisanterie, like any of the other names in Treve’s pedigree history, played a fundamental role in sculpting one of the best thoroughbreds that we have ever seen.

A late nineteenth century print of PLAISANTERIE, born in 1882, by WELLINGTONIA out of POETESS by TROCADERO.

A late nineteenth century print of PLAISANTERIE (1882) by WELLINGTONIA (1869) out of POETESS (1875) by TROCADERO (1864).

In Plaisanterie, we have an absolutely brilliant runner and an important broodmare — a kind of home run in development of the breed.

The filly was owned in part by the influential Carter family:

“The Carters had a dominating effect on French Racing not only because they were so numerous, but also because they had talent. Other racing families came to France in imitation, such as the Cunningtons, Jennings and Watsons, with whom they intermarried, but perhaps none were so pervasive. The Carters were the founders of the English colony in Chantilly and instrumental in the future racing success of the town and nation. Members of this family have an unparalleled racing record; they won the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe 5 times, the Prix du Jockey Club on no less than 27 occasions, the Grand Prix de Paris on 16 runnings and the Prix de Diane 23 times.” (Excerpt from Thoroughbred Heritage, “Les Anglais in France,” @ http://www.tbheritage.com/TurfHallmarks/Trainers/Fr/Anglais3.html)

The Carters were a very large clan and Thomas Carter, who trained Plaisanterie, followed in the footsteps of his father, Thomas Carter Senior, who was known at Chantilly by his nickname, “The Genius.” Thomas “The Genius” Senior had been invited to train in France by Lord Seymour in 1831; subsequent members of the Carter family so dominated horse racing for the next 131 years (1831-1964) that some still think of Thomas Senior as the “father of the French turf.” In 1836, Thomas Senior took on a pair of apprentice trainers, John and Tom Jennings. As fate would have it, the Jennings and Head families are related by marriage: Tom Jennings is a direct ancestor of Criquette Head-Maarek, Treve’s brilliant trainer.

Trainer Tom Jennings (shown here with GLADIATEUR) is a direct ancestor of the Head family.

Trainer Tom Jennings (shown here with GLADIATEUR) is a direct ancestor of the Head family.

 

It was Thomas Carter Junior who purchased Plaisanterie, in whom he maintained a half ownership until his partner died, at which point he bought her outright. And that was a good thing, too, since the filly went on to win 16 (14) of her 18 (15) starts in Europe and England. (Note: The bracket indicates that there is some disagreement about how many times Plaisanterie actually raced, although no source states more than 18 starts, and her second places are either 1 or 2. However, during her turf career, the filly was never worse than second.)

So brilliant was Plaisanterie — and so pervasive and numerous were the members of the Carter family in Chantilly by this time — that Thomas Junior became known as “Carter Plaisanterie.” Racing almost always against colts, Carter’s filly won some very big races, including Germany’s most prestigious — the Grosser Preis von Baden. In October 1885, the 3 year-old was sent to England to contest the “Autumn Double” at Newmarket, the Cesarewitch and Cambridgeshire Handicaps. Carrying 98 pounds into the 2 1/4 mile Cesarewitch, Plaisanterie took the lead in the closing stages to win by two lengths, becoming the first French-trained thoroughbred to ever win the Cesarewitch.

1885: the running of the Cambridgshire Handicap.

1885: the running of the “Cambridgeshire,” which may or may not be the Handicap, since there was also a Cambridgeshire Stakes. At any rate, this is how PLAISANTERIE’S win would have “hit the press.”

But the win also landed Plaisanterie an extra fourteen pounds for the 9f Cambridgeshire, run two weeks later. Undaunted, the courageous filly disputed the lead from the start and was never in danger of defeat. In fact, she won “very easily” from the 5 year-old Bendigo; the favourite, St. Gatien, finished far back.

Plaisanterie became the second of only three horses to complete the “Autumn Double” since its inauguration in 1839. In fact, so decisive were her wins that Lord Falmouth appealed to the (English) Jockey Club to disallow French thoroughbreds from being entered into either race!

By the time she was retired, Plaisanterie had a full race record, including wins in G1’s in France in the Prix du Cedre, Grand Prix de Chantilly, Prix de la Seine and the Prix Du Prince Dorange. As a broodmare, she was equally successful. Bred to St. Simon and Orme, her best offspring were Childwick (1890), Raconteur (1892) and the filly, Topiary (1901).

CHILDWICK, by ST SIMON, was PLAISANTERIE'S first foal and figures in TREVE'S sire line, as well as her female family.

CHILDWICK, by ST SIMON, was PLAISANTERIE’S first foal and figures in TREVE’S sire line, as well as in her female family.

Through Childwick’s sire line comes the filly, Sega Ville (1968), whose son Top Ville (1976) is the maternal grandsire of Treve’s sire, Motivator (2002). In Treve’s female family, Childwick again plays a role. Bergamasque (1969) — the grandam of Balbonella (1984), the dam of Treve’s BM sire, Anabaa(1992) — descends from him.

The exquisite BALBONELLA is TREVE'S maternal grandam and descends from CHILDWICK.

The exquisite BALBONELLA is TREVE’S maternal grandam and descends from CHILDWICK. She is the dam of ANABAA, BM sire of TREVE.

 

ANABAA (foreground) is TREVE'S BM sire. This wonderful runner and sire, who holds a very special place in the hearts of the Head family, is also the sire of the great GOLDIKOVA, among other champions.

ANABAA (foreground) is TREVE’S BM sire. This wonderful runner and sire, who holds a very special place in the hearts of the Head family, is also the sire of the great GOLDIKOVA, among other champions.

 

TOP VILLE, owned by the Aga Khan III, appress in TREVE'S sire line in the fourth generation. He descends from PLAISANTERIE'S son, CHILDWICK.

TOP VILLE, owned by the Aga Khan III, appears in TREVE’S sire line in the fourth generation. He also descends from PLAISANTERIE’S son, CHILDWICK.

 

MONTJEU, who died at only 16 years of age, is TREVE'S maternal grandsire.

MONTJEU, who died at only 16 years of age, is TREVE’S grandsire. The 1999 winner of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, MONTJEU’S BM sire is TOP VILLE.

 

Plaisanterie’s “bloodedness” runs in Treve’s veins from two centuries ago, one of a huge number of thoroughbreds who have helped to “colour” a champion. We wonder, too, if something of Treve’s “strength of mind” owes to her champion ancestress. In a world where everything is so immediate, it is a comfort to behold Treve, the work of generation after generation of thoroughbreds.

And although we can only imagine Plaisanterie’s triumphs on the turf, just perhaps, it looked something like this ………

 

BONUS FEATURES

1) Treve’s Theme Song:

2) Training Treve (with English subtitles — Please DON’T CLICK when “ENGLISH VERSION” comes up. The subtitles are right after it & continue throughout):

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If you love THE VAULT, please accept my heartfelt thanks. I have set up a charity for donations for horse rescues. Please consider making a donation.

http://www.gofundme.com/8d2cher4

Together we can make a difference.

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NOTE: THE VAULT is a non-profit website. (Any advertising that appears on THE VAULT is placed there by WordPress and the profit, if any, goes to WordPress.) We make every effort to honour copyright for the photographs used in our articles. It is not our policy to use the property of any photographer without his/her permission, although the task of sourcing photographs is hugely compromised by the social media, where many photographs prove impossible to trace. Please do not hesitate to contact THE VAULT regarding any copyright concerns. Thank you.

 

 

 

My idea to collect photographs of the progeny of Northern Dancer, our King of Thoroughbred Racing here in Canada, led to the discovery of just how influential this tiny thoroughbred stallion really was — and continues to be today, particularly in Great Britain, Ireland, Europe and Australia.

NORTHERN DANCER QUOTE by SANGSTER_$_57

It was the last Kentucky Derby my ailing grandfather and I watched together. He sat, wrapped in blankets, in his favourite armchair and I sat cross-legged near him on the carpet, the rest of the family ranged in chairs around the black and white television console. When the little colt hit the wire, the room erupted with gasps, followed by delight. Here he was, the very first Canadian bred and owned 3 year-old to win the Kentucky Derby and he had done it in record-breaking time.

As we watched EP Taylor leading his fractious champion into the winner’s circle at Churchill Downs, my grandfather exclaimed, “Well I never……just look at him ….he’s only a pony!”

I had been born with Grandpa’s “horse gene,” as my mother liked to say. Shortly after the Derby win, I bought a copy of Sports Illustrated magazine, carefully removed a photo of “The Dancer” winning the Florida Derby and glued it onto a sturdy sheet of blue cardboard, under which I wrote: ” ‘He’s all blood and guts and he tries hard.’ Northern Dancer: first Canadian owned-bred horse to win the Kentucky Derby. Time: 2:00:00 flat.”

The photo and the memory stuck. Today, as I write this, the faded blue cardboard with The Dancer’s photo and my round printing sits in a frame just above the computer.

This SI shot of Northern Dancer winning the Florida Derby has come down through the decades with me. Once the prized possession of a 14 year-old girl, it now sits in a frame above my computer.

This SI shot of Northern Dancer winning the Florida Derby has come down through the decades with me. Once the prized possession of a 14 year-old girl, it now sits in a frame above my computer.

Punctuated as he was by the love of a grandfather who was gone only a year later, as well as that festering horse gene of mine, it was predictable that by 1990 I had decided to collect original press photos of Northern Dancer and some of his progeny. What I had in mind was a project: to collect some photos and then mount them in an album, together with a little research on The Dancer’s most prominent progeny.

Lester Piggott and NIJINSKY, the last British Triple Crown winner.

Lester Piggott and NIJINSKY, the last British Triple Crown winner.

I started out in earnest, shopping on places like the newly-opened EBAY. But little did I know what I was going to uncover. The search for original photos of Nijinsky and The Minstrel connected me to a number of UK sellers — and it was here that the proverbial “floodgates” flew open. My career and family had necessitated a lengthy sabbatical from all things thoroughbred, leaving me somewhat amazed to discover that through the aegis of the great trainer and horseman, Vincent O’Brien, Canada’s tiny Dancer had, in fact, gone viral. 

NORTHERN DANCER by Brewer, Jr.

NORTHERN DANCER by Allen F. Brewer, Jr. The artist’s exquisite portrait belies the temperament of Canada’s King of Thoroughbreds which was, to quote E.P. Taylor’s daughter, “Not very nice at all.”

 

I had bought a few albums to house the photos and had started mounting them together with text. But as the sheer number of photos mounted, I could see that I was making myself a project that would take a lifetime to complete. It wasn’t that I had no criteria for acquiring a photo…..it was that truly great thoroughbreds kept coming and coming, like an enormous tidal wave, prompting the question: Where do I draw the line?

Think about it. Out of the “Danzig connection” alone, another galaxy of superstars in England, Ireland, Europe and Australia have emerged. And this is only one of many Northern Dancer sire lines.

DANZIG pictured here at Claiborne Farm in Kentucky where he stood for the whole of his career at stud.

DANZIG pictured here at Claiborne Farm in Kentucky where he stood for the whole of his career at stud.

 

DANZIG'S best son, DANEHILL.

DANZIG’S best son, DANEHILL.

 

DANEHILL'S son, DANEHILL DANCER, a sire of sires.

DANEHILL’S son, DANEHILL DANCER, a sire of sires.

 

DANSILI, another son of DANEHILL who is making a huge impact on the breed worldwide.

Juddmonte’s DANSILI, another son of DANEHILL who is making a huge impact on the breed worldwide.

 

Among the remarkable thoroughbreds who descend from a bewildering galaxy of Northern Dancer sire lines and families, and who have recently retired are the champions: Rachel Alexandra (USA), America’s sweetheart and 2009 Horse of the Year, is a daughter of Medaglia d’Oro and granddaughter of Sadler’s Wells; Black Caviar (AUS) whose sire, Bel Esprit, is the grandson of Nijinsky and whose dam, Helsinge, is the granddaughter of the late Green Desert (by Danzig); the incomparable Frankel (GB) a son of Galileo (by Sadler’s Wells) whose dam, the Blue Hen, Kind, is a daughter of Danehill (by Danzig); America’s two-time Horse of the Year and turf star, Wise Dan (USA), who carries Storm Bird (by Northern Dancer) and Lyphard (by Northern Dancer) on both sides of his 4th generation pedigree; the 2014 and 2013 Investec Derby winners Australia (IRE) by Galileo and Camelot (IRE) by Montjeu; Arc winner Danedream (GER), whose sire Lomitas is a grandson of Nijinsky and whose dam, Danedrop, is a daughter of Danehill (by Danzig); the brilliant Nathaniel (IRE), a son of Galileo and only one of two horses to seriously challenge Frankel, the other being Zoffany (IRE) by Dansili, a son of Danehill and grandson of Danzig; the mighty Igugu (IRE), winner of the SA Triple Tiara and a daughter of Galileo; the immortal Hurricane Fly (IRE) whose sire Montjeu is a son of Sadler’s Wells; the undefeated Arc winner Zarkava (IRE) whose sire, Zamindar, is a grandson of The Minstrel and whose dam, Zarkasha, is by the superb Kahyasi, a grandson of Nijinsky; the ill-fated and brilliant St. Nicholas Abbey (IRE) a son of Montjeu; the Australian champion All Too Hard (AUS), the half-brother of Black Caviar, and a grandson of Danehill (by Danzig); the wonderful mare, The Fugue (IRE), a daughter of Dansili (by Danehill) whose dam, Twyla Tharp, is by Sadler’s Wells; Canada’s Inglorious, winner of the 2011 Queen’s Plate, who is a granddaughter of Storm Bird (by Northern Dancer); and last but hardly least, Goldikova (IRE) whose sire, Anabaa is a son of Danzig and whose dam, Born Gold, is a granddaughter of Lyphard (by Northern Dancer).

It’s impossible to think of thoroughbred racing or the National Hunt without these individuals — but even they are the tip of the proverbial iceberg in the ongoing genetic dance of The Dancer.

Below, a video of the American turf superstar, Wise Dan, winning the 2013 Breeders Cup Mile for the second straight year:

“The bird has flown” — the fabulous Nathaniel winning the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot:

The “sensational” Canadian filly,Inglorious, winning the 2011 Queen’s Plate at Woodbine, Toronto, Canada:

Stallions — so many names that one gets dizzy just trying to keep them in a kind of chronological order. Among the best-known: Giant’s Causeway, Medaglia d’Oro, Elusive Quality, Animal Kingdon, Big Brown and War Front in the USA; Galileo, Sea The Stars, Yeats, Invincible Spirit, Cape Cross (sire of Sea The Stars, Ouija Board and Golden Horn), New Approach, Oasis Dream, Kingman, Mastercraftsman, Dansili and Dubawi in Great Britain, Ireland and Europe; So You Think, Exceed and Excel, Sepoy, Redoute’s Choice, Fastnet Rock, More Than Ready, Bel Esprit and Snitzel in Australia; and in Japan, the great Empire Maker and leading sires by earnings, Deep Impact and King Kamehameha ( a son of Kingmambo who is inbred 2 X 4 to Northern Dancer through his sons, Nureyev and Lyphard, and carries Nijinsky’s son, Green Dancer, in his 4th generation).

A look back at the late Bart Cummings’ great champion, So You Think:

And in 2015?

Well, let’s see.

There’s America’s first Triple Crown winner in 37 years, American Pharoah (whose brilliance, I will continue to insist, owes at least as much to Empire Maker and his Blue Hen dam, Toussaud, a daughter of Northern Dancer’s El Gran Señor as to any other in his pedigree), the Investec Derby winner Golden Horn, Shadwell’s brilliant Muhaarar, Coolmore’s Gleneagles, the up-and-coming sire, Mastercraftman’s The Grey Gatsby and Amazing Maria in Great Britain. And it’s impossible to overlook the incomparable Treve, who now has her own theme song!

This year, they all look like him, carrying his bay coat and dark mane and tail into a future he never saw. But the familiar colours of my “tiny Dancer” always take me back to that last Kentucky Derby my grandfather and I watched together. And as for my collection of photographs, it’s tailed off considerably since it arrived at 500 + images. I’m well behind in recording them all, so the considerable overflow are now housed in an archival file.

But then along came 2015.

And I can see that my collecting is not yet done…….

 

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UPDATE

Since I began THE VAULT’S rescue fund, $1,542.00 CAD has been raised, allowing THE VAULT readers and yours truly to rescue Hale, as well as a Standardbred gelding and a beautiful blue roan QH mare, in foal, from slaughter. Too, donations have been made to Our Mims and RR Refuge. I continue to work to save horses, one horse at a time: this week, it was a granddaughter of Secretariat.

This blue roan mare, in foal, was rescued from slaughter by VAULT readers the week of August 31, 2015

This blue roan mare, in foal, was rescued from slaughter by VAULT readers the week of August 31, 2015

Here’s some footage of Hale, a mere month after VAULT readers, his new owner and yours truly rescued him:

If you love THE VAULT, please accept my heartfelt thanks. I write it for you.

And please consider making a donation:

http://www.gofundme.com/8d2cher4

Together we can make a difference.

 

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NOTE: THE VAULT is a non-profit website. (Any advertising that appears on THE VAULT is placed there by WordPress and the profit, if any, goes to WordPress.) We make every effort to honour copyright for the photographs used in our articles. It is not our policy to use the property of any photographer without his/her permission, although the task of sourcing photographs is hugely compromised by the social media, where many photographs prove impossible to trace. Please do not hesitate to contact THE VAULT regarding any copyright concerns. Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1920, an American legend and a Triple Crown winner met in Canada to decide who was the best thoroughbred of the year. On August 29, 2015 — 95 years later — another Triple Crown winner goes to the post in Saratoga to annex a victory in the historic Travers Stakes to his already impressive track record. And the connections between these two events weave still another narrative where past punctuates present.

Technically, there wasn’t an American Triple Crown the year Sir Barton won it. However, by 1923 the term starts to show up in occasional press releases. But it took until 1930, when Gallant Fox won it, for the term to be popularized by the Daily Racing Form’s Charles Hatton. By 1950, the Triple Crown had its own trophy and a tradition was well-entrenched in the sport; too, Sir Barton became the first “official” winner, the title being given to him posthumously in 1948.

SIR BARTON_10e491c5c80b8df5290e897afcbf47f7

When Man O’ War met up with Sir Barton for their match race, those present would have probably described the two as “Might be the greatest ever ?” and “The Greatest Ever ! ” respectively. The Kenilworth Park Match Race was the last race the mighty Man O’ War ran and, although he outran Sir Barton handily, it must be stressed that the latter — who suffered from foot problems throughout his racing career — was a great thoroughbred in his own right. In acknowledgement of his accomplishments, Sir Barton was inducted into the National Museum and Racing Hall of Fame in 1957, and was among the first thirteen thoroughbreds to be inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1976.

The good people of Kenilworth Park spared nothing in preparing for “The Race of the Century” which it indeed was. In 1920, Man O’ War was likely viewed as a brilliant upstart. Beating the incomparable Sir Barton would determine his true merit. In addition, special stables, complete with around the clock guards, were built to house the two champion thoroughbreds.

A new grandstand some 800 feet long was built, a special train was booked to transport race goers from Toronto to Windsor and the dirt track was made ready with a special attention to detail. Tickets were sold at an astronomical $5.00 each.

An old postcard depicting the former Kenilworth Race Track. Note the Canadian Emblem -- it would be another 44 years before Canada had its present flag.

An old postcard depicting the former Kenilworth Race Track. Note the Canadian Emblem — it would be another 44 years before Canada had its present flag.

 

Preparing the track at Kenilworth on April 11, 1920, the day before "The Race Of The Century" was run.

Preparing the track at Kenilworth as it was pictured in April of 1920.

 

"THE TICKET" -- at $5.00 a head, it was a pricey item.

“THE TICKET” — at $5.00 a head, it was a pricey item.

MAN O' WAR and his retinue on their way by train to Canada for the race.

MAN O’ WAR and his retinue on their way by train to Canada for the race.

MAN O' WAR coming on to the Kenilworth track.

MAN O’ WAR coming on to the Kenilworth track.

By the afternoon of Thursday October 7th, 1920 both horses arrived in Windsor, Ontario by train, Man O’ War shipping from New York and Sir Barton from Laurel, Maryland. The atmosphere in Windsor was on the weekend before the race at a fever pitch.

One can only imagine the excitement that gripped Windsor from the arrival of Man O’ War and Sir Barton to October 12. However, the race itself proved something of a disappointment since Sir Barton, now a 4 year-old, was foot sore and not the blazing 3 year-old of 1919 who had won a Triple Crown as well as the Withers in a space of 32 days. The Ross Stables’ champion led initially, but about sixty yards into the mile and a quarter distance, Man O’ War took the lead and won by 7 lengths in a new track record.

As he crossed the finish line, Man O’ War must have heard the din of the crowd, many of whom knew that they had witnessed one of the greatest historical markers of the sport. And it was, arguably, this last race against another great horse that saw Man O’ War take the throne of thoroughbred racing in North America.

To the continued chanting and applause of the crowd, Big Red was led into the winners’ circle, where he drank from a gold cup that had been specially designed by Tiffany and Co. for Abe Orpen, the owner and manager of Kenilworth, at a cost of $5,000.

Mr. Samuel Riddle and trainer, Louis Feustel, hold the gold cup while Man O' War takes a long drink.

Mr. Samuel Riddle and trainer, Louis Feustel, hold the gold cup while MAN O’ WAR  takes a long drink.

And it is this very same cup, affectionately known as the “Man O’ War Cup” that will be presented to the winner of the 2015 Travers at Saratoga, NY on August 29, 2015.

Following his death, the widow of Samuel Riddle presented Man O’ War’s solid gold cup to Saratoga, where it became officially known as the Travers Trophy. The cup is presented every year by a descendant of the Riddle family, together with a host of other dignitaries. A gold-plated replica is given to the winning owner.

MAN O' WAR'S Gold Cup, aka the Travers Trophy.

MAN O’ WAR’S Gold Cup, aka the Travers Trophy.

 

Man O’ War won the Travers in 1920. On August 29 his descendant, American Pharoah, will step onto the track at Saratoga with the same intention.

We wish this great colt only the best but must add the fact that America’s newest Triple Crown winner also carries Upset in his pedigree……and Upset was the only horse to ever beat Man O’ War, in the Sanford at Saratoga.

But, then again, Man O’ War put paid to his nemesis in the Travers:

Man o'War (1) passes the Saratoga stands for the first time leading his only competitors from the powerful Harry Payne Whitney stable, John P. Grier (3) and Upset (2). Man o’ War won “under restraint through the stretch” as Upset passed his tiring stablemate to gain second place at the finish.

MAN O’ WAR (1) passes the Saratoga stands for the first time in the 1920 Travers, leading his only competitors from the Whitney stable, John P. Grier (3) and Upset (2). MAN O’ WAR won “under restraint; UPSET (third horse) finished second.

 

 

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Do you love THE VAULT? If you do, please consider joint other VAULT readers in contributing to THE VAULT’S fund to support professional horse rescues.

No donation is too small and all are appreciated. Thank you, from the heart. AA

HALe is in his forever home, thanks to the readers of THE VAULT and Abigail Anderson.

HALE is now safe in his forever home, thanks to the readers of THE VAULT and Abigail Anderson.

http://www.gofundme.com/8d2cher4

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BONUS FEATURES

1)Another look at The Race of the Century” with new footage:

2) From Steve Haskin, North America’s pre-eminent turf writer:

http://cs.bloodhorse.com/blogs/horse-racing-steve-haskin/archive/2015/08/27/travers-stakes-high-anxiety.aspx

3) Announcement that American Pharoah will run in the Travers, with the “decisive” workout (red cap on rider):

4) American Pharoah schools at Saratoga (TVG)

Dear VAULT reader: As you know, THE VAULT published its very first article in 2011 and now enjoys a readership of over 280,000 worldwide. I cannot thank you all enough for your support and enthusiasm.

THE VAULT is a non-profit endeavour written out of love for the horses and the sport.

I felt it was time to find a way to give ‘payback,’ to use my efforts as a means of making a permanent contribution to the welfare of horses. Accordingly, I inaugurated a fund, in the name of THE VAULT, which will collect monies to be contributed towards organisations who specialize in horse rescue.

THE VAULT will feature the link below from this time on. Every few months I will post the monies that have been collected.

http://www.gofundme.com/8d2cher4

I thank you all for taking part in this endeavour. No donation is too small — every penny will help.

Finally, I give you the story behind my decision to create the VAULT fund. It is very personal and written from the heart.

And, of course, THE VAULT will continue in its tradition of bringing you great stories of great racehorses past and present from around the world, beginning with my next article.

Thank you.

 

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“I am only one,
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything,
But still I can do something;
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something
that I can do.”
Edward Everett Hale (1822-1909) American author, historian and minister

 

 

Like so many of you, I try to avoid looking at listings of doomed dogs, cats and horses because it overwhelms me with grief and a sense of helplessness.

But this time, for some reason, I looked. There were live videos of each horse and I suspect that was what did it. It’s easier (don’t know why) to “black out” a photo of a doomed animal in your head than it is to ignore a video, where, in this case, the horses being led or ridden by the camera trust that they are simply in a new home. Among the listings was a QH mare and her filly foal (above) — and I broke down.

You see, I live in Quebec and it is to Quebec that this particular group of unwanted horses are coming. First stop for them will either be OLEX (Ontario Livestock Exchange) in Toronto, where most will be bought by kill buyers for the current rate of $50 USD a pound. Or they will come directly here, to my home province, to either VIANDE RICHELIEU or the recently re-opened LES VIANDES DE LA PETITE-NATION.

I have stood with protesters outside the VIANDE RICHELIEU facility to no avail. Alanna Devine, our fabulous SPCA Director (Montreal), who was instrumental in getting a law passed here declaring animals as sentient beings (with penalties of 5 years in prison and more) made a run at trying to close this place down. To no avail. Brilliant advocates for horses, ponies of all breeds, wild or domestic, as well as donkeys and mules, the Canadian Horse Defense Coalition (CHDC) have been unstinting in their vigilance, reporting and communication with government. But even though Canada was responsible for the slaughter of 80,000 horses in 2011 alone, our federal government has done little (if anything) to regulate horse slaughter facilities or the industry itself.

I’m not naive. I know that even if I were a millionaire, I couldn’t save the draft horses, ponies, Arabians, donkeys, mules, Thoroughbreds, Quarter horses, Saddlebreds, Paints, Standardbreds and mixed breeds that go through kill buyers every single day here and all over the world. According to a 2013 report appearing on Pedigree Query, one North American kill buyer alone is responsible for over 7,000 horses going to slaughter annually.

Conceptually hard to grasp, but if you take a pen & paper and start making dots until you get to, say, 100, you begin to see what 7,000 represent pretty clearly:

100 dots.

100 dots.

The woman who photographs and films these particular horses is tireless in her efforts, going to the farm each and every week to photograph “new arrivals,” posting them to her FB page and helping those who are trying to rescue them with everything she’s got, from responsible shippers to those willing to quarantine a horse at a reasonable cost. But the prices on the heads of each of them is high (from about $650 – $1500 USD) and she only has until 9 p.m., exactly a week later, before she must call to give the kill buyer a list of horses, ponies, donkeys or mules who have been rescued.

As the deadline approached (August 8 @ 9 p.m.) for this particular group, literally hundreds of people on the site tried to reach out to work cooperatively to save a pony, a horse or Molly the piebald mule. Some had the space but no funds. Some had funds but no space. Some had part of the bail money and needed help to raise the rest. GoFundMe sites sprang up: places where individuals could go to contribute funds to save a particular individual.

In the meantime, I was attached by anxiety to the site — for them all, but particularly for the mare and her filly, the Belgian mare (above), a Tennessee Walking horse filly (below) and a 10 year-old mixed breed gelding. These five “spoke” to me. Fighting back rage and a sense of helplessness as the clock ticked on, I first decided to start posting these five on FB and Twitter.

Then, on the evening of August 7, I decided to establish a GoFundMe for horse rescue and to connect it to THE VAULT.

Why do human beings persist in thinking that talk IS action? It isn’t. I assume there’s some kind of “wiring” in the human brain that makes this error repeatedly, even unconsciously. We all do it. Yours truly as well. But using FB and Twitter takes a human foible and turns it into a strength. I kept updating every 6 hours or so, making it clear that the deadline was looming. In the meantime, several VAULT readers stepped up to the plate and made a donation to GoFundMe.

People exclaiming “So beautiful” on the rescue site were about as numerous as those struggling to find a way to help. And, as much as I wanted to blast the former group, I knew that they were struggling too.

The ones who pronounced those “So beautifuls” were making a doomed pony or horse significant by naming them in this way.

As was true in concentration camps, POW camps and other sites of incarceration, giving an individual — be it a horse or a human being — a number rather than a name has the immediate impact of marginalizing them, of placing them outside the classification of living beings. The human mind names things in order to store and make meaning of them. In fact, the act of naming marks the beginning of human consciousness. When people or animals are denied a name, the brain doesn’t know what to do with them. And so it moves them out of the sphere of human consciousness, and drops them out of mind.

As though they knew it, several on the site were going after the identities — the names — of those horses who carried a tattoo.

Registration for one of the Quarter Horses in this group who was saved by a family.

Registration for one of the Quarter Horses in this group, who was saved.

I immediately went back to THE VAULT’S GoFundMe and gave the little Tennessee Walking horse filly the name “HOPE” and, to the mixed breed gelding, I gave the name “HALE,” after the great teacher quoted at the beginning of this narrative.

By the morning of August 8 — the last day for the horses left — the QH mare and her filly, together with the Belgian mare, the two Shetland ponies and HOPE, as well as Molly the piebald mule, and several other horses had been rescued. The remaining dozen included HALE (below), who, priced at $1,128.88 USD, was likely to be left to slaughter.

I frantically posted and tweeted everywhere I could think of and that may have helped. Or maybe not. Because taking solitary aim at a problem this enormous is pretty much useless.

As I waited for something miraculous to happen, I reflected upon how obliterating any living thing that is not essential to our survival not only speaks to our loss of an intimate relationship with the Earth/earth, but also — quite literally — kills a part of us too. We live in a web of living particles that are interwoven like a spider’s web, even though we can’t see them. Disrupting any part of that web affects each living entity on our planet. That’s physics, but it’s also at the core of every world faith I know.

Here is a perceptible example of how this web works:

In the meantime, the hours ticked away. One group was within $100.00 USD of saving this standardbred gelding (below). We had raised $400.00 CAD/$304.78 USD on THE VAULT’S fund site.

I paid, on our behalf, the balance.

This nameless standardbred gelding was saved in part by VAULT donations. He is going to be retired by a loving teenage boy and his family.

This nameless standardbred gelding was saved in part by VAULT donations. He is going to be retired by a loving family who will also attend to his medical needs.

I kept checking HALE’s profile. I just could not turn my back on him.

Finally, in the afternoon of what was his last day before being shipped to slaughter, I re-posted THE VAULT’S fund site on my personal FB page and on Twitter. A few more wonderful VAULT readers stepped up to the bat. THE VAULT fund now stood at $555.00 CAD/ 422.90 USD. Fantastic response in a very short time. But not nearly enough to save “HALE.”

HALE.

HALE.

With less than an hour to go before the 9 p.m. deadline, a young woman from New Hampshire (“NH lass”) posted that she would love to have him. Her uncle had a large farm where “HALE” would have the company of another horse, together with fields and forest to roam.

But she couldn’t make his bail.

We started to talk online. I called Jen, who runs the rescue FB page, to get all the information I needed to post bail. “NH lass” also spoke to Jen, to see what shipping would cost. We exchanged fast posts. “NH lass” and her family could cover shipping, another $600.00+ (USD).

With fourteen minutes to go, I paid “HALE’S” bail with the remaining VAULT funds and by emptying my own pocket. Seconds later, “SAFE” appeared above his listing.

As tears dripped splashed onto my phone just minutes later, I managed to tell “NH lass” how happy I was that Hale was going to her, where I knew that he would be loved and cared for forever.

“I’ve never done this before,” she confessed.

“Neither have I,” I replied.

“But, you know, there was just something about him. He spoke to me.”

“Yup. He spoke to me, too. I just couldn’t look away. ‘Couldn’t forget the look in his eyes. Of all the horses paraded in front of that video camera, he was one of the few who seemed to know that something was terribly, terribly wrong, ” I added.

HALE as he appeared the week of August 3, before "NH lass," VAULT readers and yours truly saved him.

HALE as he appeared the week of August 3, before “NH lass,” VAULT readers and yours truly saved him.

As it turns out, his new owner is officially naming the gelding HALE, in honour of THE VAULT, those of you who donated and myself. Apparently, other than her own considerable courage and compassion, it was Edgar Everett Hale’s words on THE VAULT fund site that had moved “NH lass” to take action. And, in one of those magical moments of synchronicity that are very difficult to explain away, Hale’s new owner’s name is the same as that of my late mother, whose ninety-six birthday was the very next day.

….. Over the next ten days, because of the courage of a number of families, individuals (including teenagers), horse rescues,notably HIDDEN POND FARM HORSE RESCUE, “NH lass” and her family, VAULT readers and myself, Molly the Mule, a Belgian mare, a ageing Standardbred, 2 Shetland ponies, a Quarter horse mare and her filly foal, the Tennessee Walking horse filly that I had named “HOPE,” a crossbred gelding who was # 547 but is now named HALE and another 15 horses will step into lives of love and respect, to which they are entitled.

 

 

 

NOTE: VAULT funds collected from today (August 10, 2015) forward will go to horse rescues only.