Thoroughbred Influences on the Quarter Horse Racing Industry
Pharos – 1920 (Great Britain)
Phalaris x Scapa Flow (Chaucer)
A full brother to Fairway, Pharos was a very good horse winning 14 of 30 races. This was an unduly large number of starts for a top class English horse of Pharos’ era. Pharos had just failed to win the English Derby and his connections left him in training in the hopes that he would win a race commiserate with his ability. Their patience was well rewarded because in the last start of his career Pharos was victorious in the Champion Stakes. This race, run at Newmarket in October, is a Group 1 race* this writer’s opinion a good performance in this race forecasts an adaptability by a horse’s descendants to the American style of race more so than any race in Europe. The Champion Stakes has often been the last race of a horse’s career and at one and one•fourth mile is shorter than the more prevalent European distance of one and one• half miles. The ability to revert successfully to a shorter distance tends to indicate first class speed. At stud first in England, Pharos spent much of his career in France. It was in this latter country that Pharos had his best success, as he sired Nearco and Pharis while there. Perhaps it is also worthy of note that Pharos sired EI Greco, the maternal grandsire of Ribot. As stated earlier Pharos was a full brother to Fairway. In no other instance in history have two brothers been so successful at racing and at stud and their influence so far reaching. -Hal K. May, ELEMENTS OF SPEED
*AUTHORITIES REPRESENTING MAJOR RACING COUNTRIES MEET PERIODICALLY TO DESIGNATE THE MOST IMPORTANT RACES. GROUP 1 RACES ARE USUALLY CLASSICS AND TOP WEIGHT FOR AGE RACES. DESIGNATED GROUP II ARE RACES REGARDED AS VERY IMPORTANT BUT SUB-CLASSIC. GROUP III CONSISTS OF OTHER VALUABLE AND IMPORTANT RACES. A VERY SMALL PERCENTAGE OF RACES ARE DESIGNATED AS GROUP RACES.
Man O’War- 1917 (United States)
Fair Play x Mahubah (Rock Sand)
Legend, fact and disbelief become one when reviewing the career of the horse which is still regarded as America’s best. His speed and stamina were extraordinary – few horses have combined these attributes in a more spectacular manner. Man O’War won twenty of twentyone starts. His one loss can be attributed to the American style of racing in that he was boxed in between the rail and outside horses. Contemporary reports stated that Man O’War was fully extended only once in all his races. Though a top sire, the stud career of Man O’War was compromised because he stood as a private stallion and the few outside mares he received were usually of inferior credentials. Man O’War sired Triple Crown winner War Admiral and his influence today is carried on mainly by In Reality and Olden Times. Through his daughters, the name of Man O’War appears in the internal parts of many pedigrees. In fact, in 1973 his name appeared in the pedigree of four of five divisional champions. Man O’War, of course, has had a phenomenal impact upon the Quarter Horse. Two direct descendants have won the All American Futurity, namely Timetothinkrich and Hot Idea, both by Aforethought. Man O’War is also in the pedigree of Top Deck and Moolah Bux, which has made a significant contribution to the Quarter runner through his daughters, is out of a mare by Man O’War. -Hal K. May, ELEMENTS OF SPEED
Phalaris- 1913 Great Britain
Polymelus x Bromus (Sainfoin)
Most effective at around a mile, Phalaris won sixteen of twenty-four races. As witnessed by the fact that he was the number one sire in England on two occasions, Phalaris was a good sire of winners. However it is the strength of Phalaris’ male line which places him among the elite horses in history. In fact, Phalaris has founded the strongest male line of any horse of this century. The strength of the male line of Phalaris is exemplified by the fact that in the 1970’s the United States had three Triple Crown winners, Secretariat, Seattle Slew and Affirmed. In the same decade Nijinsky 11 won the Triple Crown in England. All four horses can be traced in direct descent from Phalaris. Many of the direct descendants of Phalris will be discussed under their own heading in this work.-Hal K. May, ELEMENTS OF SPEED
Teddy- 1913 (France)
AjaxoRondeau x Bay Ronald
Teddy founded a male line that appeared to be in position to dominate, especially in the United States through the brothers Sir Gallahad III and Bull Dog. A son of the latter, Bull Lea, was a tremendous sire during and shortly after World War II. However Bull Lea was not a sire of sires, Citation, one of America’s great horses, was a son of Bull Lea. The failure of Citation at stud and the arrival of Nasrullah to the United States combined to bring about the decline of the male line of Teddy. The Teddy line demonstrates how precarious the existence of a male line can be. It can be strong only to find its very survival threatened. It can be dormant and then ascend once more. Possibly this is what is happening today with the lineage of Teddy. This is due to Damascus, a very good sire and a promising sire of sires. The male line of Teddy personifies another interesting aspect in regard to aptitude. Some sire lines take on different aptitudes in different parts of the world and this can be discerned in the influence of the lineage of Teddy to a large degree. In the United States the name of Teddy and his descendants imply early speed. But in Europe, descendants such as Tantieme, Relko, Reliance and Match are synonymous with stamina inclinations and as such often lack the pace to be effective at distances shorter than one and one-half miles. Regardless of the strength of his male line or the aptitudinal inclinations of his descendants, Teddy has influenced the Quarter Racehorse at the highest level of competition. In fact, his son Bull Dog can be found in the pedigree of All American Futurity winners Hot Idea, Three Oh’s, Timetothinkrich and Savannah, Jr. In direct descent Teddy has influenced the Quater Horse through Jackstraw, Spotted Bull, Everett, Jr. and others. -Hal K. May, ELEMENTS OF SPEED
Tetrarch- 1911 (Great Britain)
Three quarters of a century have passed since this big grey called ‘The Rocking Horse” went undefeated in seven races, all as a two year old. But even today, for pure speed, his name remains in the front ranks of all racing. The racing ability of The Tetrarch is best gauged by the margin of his victories, his great weight concessions and the later successes of his beaten adversaries. All his races were at sprint distances, yet his victory margin, except for one race, ranged from three to ten lengths. In his one close race he was facing the wrong way at the start, yet he caught the field and won by a neck. As a two year old The Tetrarch had given thirteen pounds and a six length beating to Princess Dorie. The next year Princess Dorie won The Oaks, which remains the top English Classic for fillies. The Tetrarch had been nominated for the classics but an injury to a foreleg as a two year old had impeded his training for the 2000 Guineas. Nevertheless, in a trial race, The Tetrarch had defeated Land of Song by six lengths while conceding twenty-one pounds. A week later, Land Of Song narrowly missed placing in the 2000 Guineas. Just before the English Derby The Tetrarch was reinjured and retired. Thus he never had the opportunity to become a Classicist. From a physical standpoint The Tetrarch must have been one of the most imposing of the great racehorses. His straight hind leg, strong hocks, short back, powerful, well-sloped shoulder and an exceptionally long rein gave The Tetrarch a unique profile which suggested unusual balance. As The Tetrarch was trained just prior to the English Derby, which is run on the first Wednesday of June, he did not enter stud until 1915. When he was the leading sire when his first foal crop was just three years old it appeared that The Tetrarch was destined for a most successful stud career. Unfortunately this was not the case. As a sire he was sporadic with his foals having greatly varying aptitude and ability. At one end of the aptitudinal spectrum were Tetretema and Mumtaz Mahal, animals of absolute first class speed. On the other end of the scale were Caligula, pole· March and Salmon-Trout, horses devoid of first class turn of foot, but each with stamina and class enough to win the classic St. Leger, at over one and three-quarter miles. All but sterile after the age of twelve, the male line of The Tetrarch today hangs by a thread. To the knowledge of this writer no direct descendant of The Tetrarch is at stud at a major breeding establishment anywhere in the world. Instead his influence is mostly through the above mentioned Mumtaz Mahal, one of the really fast fillies in racing history. First class racehorses and sires such as Gallant Man,Nasrullah, Mahoud and Royal Charger are among the members of her family. The Tetrarch also appears in the pedigree of Count Fleet and Depth Charge. In direct descent The Tetrarch has influenced the Quarter Horse through Gray Dream. Gray Dream is, of course, the maternal grandsire of Lena’s Bar, the dam of Easy Jet.,” –Hal K. May, ELEMENTS OF SPEED
Domino- 1891 (United States)
Domino lived long enough to sire nineteen foals, but no horse less of longevity or number of foals has affected the modern Quarter Racehorse to the degree of Domino. By the early 1950’s two Thoroughbred stallions had already begun their ascension within the Quarter·Three Bars and Top Deck. The dam of Three Bars was by a horse descending from Domino, Top Deck was himself a direct descendant. Thus such great influences as Rocket Bar, Go Man Go, Three Oh’s, Jet Deck, Easy Jet, Rocket Wrangler and Top Moon and many others owe much of their heritage to Domino. He was one of the best racehorses in the United States during the previous century. Winning 19 of 25 races Domino had great speed and even today the name of Domino remains synonymous with early maturation and devastating speed. Though seldom affecting classic or international racing, the male line of Domino still exists within the Thoroughbred. The last classicist descending directly from Domino was Youth, winner of the 1976 French Derby and Washington D.C. International, both at one and one·half miles. Historically, fate has been no kinder to many of his descendants than it was to Domino himself as witnessed by the following: Commando, an outstanding son of Domino died after siring only four foal crops. 3. Equipoise, the last direct descendant of Domino to lead the sire list died after siring only four foal crops. Perhaps the true strength of Domino within the Thoroughbred is his compatibility with the other lineages of various aptitudes. Descendants of Domino such as Blue Larkspur, Ultimus, Stimulus and others appear with regularity in the pedigree of many of the United States most prominent stallions of the 1960’s and 1970’s.2. Colin, a son of Commando and one of America’s few undefeated horses (15 of 15) was a complete failure at stud.1. Commando, an outstanding son of Domino died after siring only four foal crops.In all probability, never again will so many owe so much as that owed by the modern Quarter Racehorse to Domino and his nineteen foals.” -Hal K. May, Elements of Speed
St. Simon- 1881 (Great Britain)
Undefeated in ten races St. Simon in all probability is the greatest horse of all time. Unfortunately St. Simon was not tested in the classic races of England because rules in effect at the time stipulated that if the person who had nominated a particular horse to a classic died before the race, the horse was ineligible to run in the race. As the breeder of St. Simon had died the horse was denied the opportunity to become a classicist. Nevertheless he did run against some very good horses and dealt with them summarily. Perhaps the men who were closest to St. Simon gave a better insight to his ability than does his race record. Ridden by the tragic fated *Fred Archer, it is said that the great jockey believed St. Simon was in a class by himself. Archer’s opinion is to be taken at face value because he had ridden several classic horses and two years later was to ride Ormonde. Ormonde was undefeated in sixteen races, including the English Triple Crown. Thus Archer was in a position to compare the ability of St. Simon with that of other top class horses.
Matthew Dawson trained many classic horses as well as St. Simon. St. Simon was thought by Dawson to be far superior to any other horse he had ever seen. Going further, Dawson said that St. Simon was as good at one furlong as he was at three miles. Dawson’s claims can be substantiated by reviewing a few of the performances of St. Simon. As a two year old St. Simon had a matched race of six furlongs against Duke of Richmond which ranked among the best of his age. The jockey of Duke of Richmond had been instructed to break in front and attempt to make all the running. Yet at the end of a quarter mile St. Simon was ahead by fifty yards. Later St. Simon won the Ascot GoldCup at two and one-half miles. After the Ascot Gold he was able to successfully revert back to a mile. Both Dawson and Archer had a predilection against allowing a horse to exert any more energy than that necessary to win. Yet St. Simon won races by twenty lengths while under severe restraint. Conformationally St. Simon had an appearance which was almost as unique as his great record. Higher at the croup than at the withers, powerful quartered, stout backed and a head and neck which gave him exceptional balance, the conformation of St. Simon lent itself to what was called cat-like movement.
As a sire the superiority of St. Simon has seldom been approached. He was the leading sire nine times and he was the leading broodmare six times. He sired ten classic winners of seventeen classic races. The stud career of St. Simon peaked in 1900 when all five of the English classics fell to his sons and daughters. Diamond Jubilee won the Triple Crown consisting of the 2000 Guineas, The Derby and St. Leger and his daughters, Winifreda and La Roche, won the 1000 Guineas and the Oaks respectively. St. Simon stamped his foals as all except his last, a grey, were bays and closely resembled him. Like their sire they could adapt to differences in distance exceedingly well.The author could find little evidence that Quarter Horse breeders had attempted to incorporate the lineage of St. Simon into their operation. However, Rocket Bar is out of a mare whose sire goes in direct decent to St. Simon. Stallions of his lineage which have influenced recent breeding in this country include Ribot, Round Table, and Gallant Man.” -Hal K. May, ELEMENTS OF SPEED
*IN 1886, FRED ARCHER VISITED THE GRAVE OF HIS WIFE ON THE SECOND ANNIVERSARY OF HER DEATH. A DAY LATER HE SHOT HIMSELF. THE GREATEST JOCKEY OF 19TH CENTURY ENGLAND WAS DEAD AT AGE 29.