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Famous racehorses - part two


DAHLIA by Vaguely Noble — Charming Alibi. Foaled 1970. Bred by her owner, Nelson Bunker Hunt in Kentucky, U.S.A., and then trained by Maurice Zilber at Chantilly, France.

This truly great international racehorse became the biggest money earning mare of all time. Her European winnings totalled £552,045 and her career ended in 1976 as a six-year-old in California with earnings of 1,543,139 dollars.

As a three-year-old she won three races in France, but really took the eye when beating dual British classic heroine Mysterious for the Irish Oaks. She quickly followed up by beating Rheingold in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes at Ascot and she was still recovering from an injury when unplaced in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp. She ended the season on a high note with a comfortable win over Big Spruce in the Washington Intemational at Laurel, U.S.A.

In 1974 she won the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud, returned to Ascot for a notable double in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes, won the Benson and Hedges Gold Cup at York and had tremendous success in North America, winning the Man O’War Stakes at Behnont Park and the Canadian International Championship at Woodbine, before finishing third to Admetus in the Washington International.

  • Famous racehorses - part one
    Be sure to read Famous Racehorses part one which includes Man O'war, Bold Ruler, Ribot, Vaguely Noble, Nijinsky, Brigadier Gerard and Mill Reef among others.
Dahlia: She became the biggest earning mare of all time

Dahlia: She became the biggest earning mare of all time

The following season she triumphed again in the Benson and Hedges Gold Cup at York, while her lone major success in 1976 was the 12 furlong Hollywood Turf International at Hollywood Park.

This wonderful race mare was retired to her owner’s farm in Kentucky where it is planned for her to be mated with the 1976 French Derby winner Youth.


GRUNDY by Great Nephew — Word From Lundy. Foaled 1972. Bred at the Overbury Stud, Gloucestershire. Bought by bloodstock agent Keith Freeman for 11,000 Guineas at the 1973 Newmarket Yearling Sales on behalf of Milan industrialist Dr. Carlo Vittadini.

He was trained by Peter Walwyn at Lambourn. He won all his four two-year-old races, but early in his three-year-old career suffered a setback when he was kicked full in the face by a stable-companion. This held up his preparation for the first classic, the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket, in which he was beaten half-a-length.

Grundy, left, chases Bustino in the King George VI in 1975

Grundy, left, chases Bustino in the King George VI in 1975

He quickly made up for this by winning the Irish 2,000 Guineas easily. Stable hopes were high for the Epsom Derby and again ridden by his regular jockey, Pat Eddery, this good horse stormed clear in the last furlong to beat the French filly Nobiliary by three lengths, Grundy went on to score an unusual double by winning the Irish Derby by two lengths from the Lester Piggott-ridden King Pellinore.

The biggest test of his career was to come in July when he took on his elders in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes at Ascot. The race developed into a tough contest between Dr. Vittadini`s colt and Lady Beaverbrook’s 1974 St. Leger winner, Bustino, who had two pacemakers to try to break the champion three-year-old's stamina.

But at the finishing post, after an epic duel, it was Bustino who had to concede defeat by half-a-length. Trainer Peter Walwyn said of Grundy, who, during his career won a British-trained record of £326,422, 'He was a smasher, a hell of a horse’.


PAWNEESE by Carvin — Plencia. Foaled 1973. Bred by Dayton Ltd. In the United States. Owned by Paris millionaire M. Daniel Wildenstein and trained by Angel Penna, in France. Pawneese opened her three-year-0ld campaign with three impressive victories including a success in the Prix Cleopatre at Saint-Cloud in which she made all the running to beat Elise MaBelle.

Her chances for the Oaks had been enhanced by her stable companion Flying Water winning the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket and by the time Friday, june 4th had arrived her connections were very optimistic for another French triumph. Yves Saint-Martin rode her to the front fully a mile from home and she cruised clear to beat Roses For The Star by five lengths.

She followed this up by taking the French equivalent, the Prix de Diane, at Chantilly from the highly-regarded Riverqueen. This lightly-framed filly came back to Britain to face her biggest test so far in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes at Ascot where she lined up against such stars as French Derby winner Youth, Irish Derby victor Malacate and seniors, Bruni and Orange Bay, She was very much at home on Ascot’s fast ground and set out to make all the running.

Despite several strong challenges up the straight she held on well to beat Bruni a length with Orange Bay a short head away third.


YOUTH by Ack Ack - Gazala. Foaled 1973. Bred at Mr. Eddie Taylor's Windfields Farm in Maryland, U.S.A. Owned by Texan oil millionaire Nelson Bunker Hunt and trained in Chantilly, France, by Maurice Zilber.

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After two promising successes at Longchamp as a juvenile this bay colt emerged as a really fine top class performer and stood up well to a long three-year-old campaign in 1975, winning seven of his nine races. After impressive wins in the Prix Greffulhe and Prix Darn Freddie Head rode him again in the Prix Lupin in which he beat Arctic Tern and stable companion Empery. Then came his biggest test so far — the French Derby (Prix du jockey-Club) — which he passed with flying colours beating Twig Moss by three lengths.

After a disappointing display in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes at Ascot in which he finished ninth, he regained his winning form in the Prix Niel at Longchamp. He later ran a gallant third to Ivanjica in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

He then set his sights on the big United States prizes and won the Canadian International Championship at Woodbine, Toronto, beating Improvisor by four lengths before turning the Washington International at Laurel into a procession, beating On My Way by 10 lengths. He was later acclaimed Maryland’s ’Horse of the Year’ and was given a record—equalling weight of 9 st 9 lb in Canada’s Free Handicap. Youth and Empery were syndicated for 12 million dollars at the end of their three-year-old careers.


BUCKPASSER by Tom Fool — Busanda. Foaled 1963. This magnificent horse became a dollar millionaire during his racing career by winning 25 out of his 31 races. He made his owner, Ogden Phipps, a total of $1,462,000 £851,000).

His record in three years of racing is unique. As a two-year-old he started in 11 races, winning nine, among them the Hopeful, the Nation Stallion and the Champagne Stakes. Then in his third year he started in 14 races and carried off an unbelievable 13 wins, headed by the American Derby, the jockey Club Gold Cup (over two miles), the Arlington Classic and the Flamingo Stakes. Then as a four-year-old he raced in six races, winning three, before he retired to stud.


SECRETARIAT by Bold Ruler — Something Royal. Foaled 1970 in Virginia. Bred at the Meadow Stud by his owner, Mrs. Penny Tweedy, daughter of the late Mr. Christopher Chenery of Meadow Farm.

This impeccably bred, good-looking chestnut with three white stockings and a star on his forehead was to become in the space of two seasons the most valuable horse in the history of racing in the United States.

Secretariat is fully stretched as he wins the  Preakness Stakes in 1973

Secretariat is fully stretched as he wins the Preakness Stakes in 1973

Trained at Belmont Park, New York, by French—Canadian Lucien Laurin and ridden in all but his final race by Ron Turcotte, this superhorse followed up a promising two-year-old campaign by capturing in 1973 the Triple Crown, the first to do so since Citation 25 years ago in 1948.

He won the Kentucky Derby in a record time of 1 m 59.6 sec, went on to land the Preakness Stakes in great style and completed the third leg by an amazing 31-length victory in the Belmont Stakes, smashing the track record in the process. 41,223 fans turned up to see him land the Arlington Park International by nine lengths from My Gallant.

He ended his career with a victory in the Canadian International Champion Stakes - and went to stand as a stallion at the Claiborne Farm, Kentucky, having been syndicated to 32 breeders for a record 6,080,000 dollars.

He goes into the record books as the richest three-year-old ever, having won the most prize money in one season - 860,000 dollars — and his total career winnings for two seasons of 1,316,808 dollars made him the fourth biggest all-time money-earner.


ALLEZ FRANCE by Sea Bird II — Priceless Gem. Foaled 1970 and bought as a foal in the U.S.A. by Paris-based millionaire M. Daniel Wildenstein.

In 1972 she had two juvenile successes, the Prix de Toutvoie and Criterium des Pouliches, before going on the following season to triumph in the two French fillies classics, the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches and thePrix de Diane. After a further impressive win in the Prix Vemicille this Sea Bird II Elly ran in second to English- trained Rheingold in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Allez France made her first channel crossing to take a crack at the Champion Stakes at Newmarket, but lost narrowly to the Irish outsider Hurry Harriet.

In 1974 Angel Penna took over from Albert Klimscha as private trainer to Daniel Wildenstein. A. Penne produced Allez France to land four wins at Longchamp before her dramatic triumph in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

Her regular rider, French champion Yves Saint-Martin, brought the horse home in a close finish narrowly to beat Comtesse de Loir and collect the £128,363.

Three more Longchamp prizes were to come her way in 1975, the Prix Ganay, Prix Dollar and Prix Foy, she ended her racing days at Santa Anita in Califomia, having earned a total of £527,258 on the European tracks.

Breeding plans for this idol of the Parisian racecourses include a visit to the American Champion Secretariat.

Secretariat video

Grundy wins the 1975 Derby


Rickrideshorses (author) from England on November 03, 2011:

Thank you, femmeflashpoint :) The Kentucky Derby is one race I've always dreamed of going to! It looks incredible. Glad you enjoyed reading.

femmeflashpoint on November 03, 2011:

Hi Rick,

You've done some fine work on these two articles. I love horses, and being a native Kentuckian have, for at least most of my life, been avid in watching races when I've been able to squeeze them into my schedule.

This made for a great read and brought back some wonderful memories. :)

Rickrideshorses (author) from England on November 02, 2011:

Thank you, krisib. Glad you enjoyed reading about the reacehorses!

Kirsi Bertolini from Gardiner Maine on November 02, 2011:

nice work!

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