Reviving Virginias Glory: Ancient Home of Thoroughbred Becoming Such Once More, Daily Racing Form, 1922-04-16


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i . i . . t j , t ! 1 . ,, REVIVING VIRGINIAS GLORY i ♦ Ancient Home of Thoroughbred ! Becoming Such Once More. » — Great Breeding Studs Being Established and Superbly Stocked | on Sites Famed Long Ago. i BY C. J. FITZ GERALD. NEW YORK, N. Y., April 15— Virginia : was the original home of the thoroughbred in this country. It was there that Diomed, winner of the first Epsom Derby in 17S0, was brought at the age of 22 to tire Sir Arcliy and found a family of stout-hearted race horses. The breeding and racing of thoroughbreds engaged the attention of the best men of the period, and none took greater pleasure in the type, both on the race course and in the hunting field, than George Washington. The love of the horse of blood is strong in the descendants of those who took part in the early development of the turf in the old Dominion, and while fewer horses were produced for a long period than in Kentucky and other parts of the Union there never has been a time when Virginia did not have a racer of quality to carry on the traditions of the commonwealth. Many good ones came from the studs of the Doswells, Hancocks and Dulanys a generation ago, and in later years the Ox-nar, Garth, Ryan and McLean establishments have been doing their part. Raymond Belmont is helping in the country about the Plains, but it is in the Shenandoah Valley where the greatest progress is being made today. In Clarke County alone the Pagebrook, Audley, Annesley, Montana Hall and Kentmere Studs are located ideally in an area of rare scenic beauty. The Valley is full of appeal for the or-chardist and agriculturists, as the stretch of territory 100 miles long and 20 miles wide, sheltered by the Blue Ridge Mountains on one side and the Alleghanies on the other, is famous for the quality of its apples, and the bounteousness of its grain crop. More than a million barrels of apples are shipped from the district annually, while the corn and alfafa augmented by blue grass sends to the markets of the East baby beef that is an eloquent testimonial to the fruitfulness of the soil. VEKITABLE PROMISED LASD. It is for the horse breeder, however, that this part of the valley is a veritable promised land. Blue grass covers the pastures in a carpet so closely woven that the hoof-beats of the mares and foals as they gallop over its verdant stretches are muffled, save where the outcroppings of gray-blue limestone pierce the surface. Everywhere there are springs of the purest water, some of them of prodigious size, like that at Carter Hal, which boils from beneath a rocky hill in volume sufficient to slake the thirst of a city. Every farm has its clear running brook and these shimmer like silver ribbons through the stretches of pasture, adorned at this season with brood mares and foals. It is not surprising, therefore, that many breeders of thoroughbreds are turning their attention to Clarke County, which is ideal for the eastern bloodstock enthusiast, who can leave New York in the evening and be with his horses next morning. A midnight train lands a passenger in New York for breakfast. Under the influence of the sheltering mountains there are no extremes of temperature and stock can run in the fields until Christmas. There are a number of sportsmen already engaged in reviving the glories of colonial days ; re-establishing the hospitality which made the region famous and restoring the splendid old mansions to their former attrac- tiveness. The pioneer in this work was Capt. P. M. Walker, who founded his Pagebrook Stud with Trap Rock, by Rock Sand— Topiary, by Orme, at its head. A superb old house, built In 1756 by John Mann Page, stands in the middle of 400 acres of the best land in Clarke County. It is reached from the turnpike by a drive of a half mile, much of it shaded by gigantic white oaks. Mares by Sunstar, Star Shoot, Hamburg, St. Frusquin, Robert le Diable, Melton, Marco, Llangibby, Fair Play, Hastings, Grey Leg. Ultimus, Sain, Velocity, Peep oDay and other well-known sires, accompanied by their foals, were grazing in a fifty-acre paddock, which included the mansion itself, on a re- cent sunny morning when the air was filled with the song of birds. TRAP BOCK OUTBREEDING HIMSELF. Trap Rock, a brother to Tracery and half brother to Top Hat, is outbreeding himself. Good as Lucullite was Captain Walker is sanguine that the premier sire at Pagebrook will send a greater horse than he from the paddocks in Virginia to battle for the highest honors of the turf. Madrigalian is second stallion at the farm. He is a fine individual and his stock is promising. There are many outside mares at Trap Rocks court this spring. Conspicuous among them is a gray daughter of Spearmint, with a smashing colt, by Pennant, owned by Rear Admiral Grayson. These mares and their foals held an impromptu race over the rolling ground, the youngsters of recent birth straining to keep up with their dams, while the older ones ofttimes sprinted into the lead in a way that presaged their ex- cellence when the tests of racing arrive. The yearlings, of which twenty are housed overnight in snug boxes and are turned out to roam the hillside pastures during the day, are a beautifully be-lanced lot. about equally divided between colts and fillies. Audley, now owned by B. B. Jones, is within a few miles of Pagebrook. It is a splendid estate of 500 acres and the fine old colonial house was the ancestral home of Nellie Custis, the grand-daughter of the wife of George Washington. The Father of his Country frequently visited at Audley and Nellie Custis died there. Mr. Jones is refurbishing the interior of the fine mansion, which is in an excellent state of pres- ervation. Sir Barton and forty mares are now installed at Audley. Barnes and pad- docks arc- being completed, and the place has an air of permanence in keeping with the surrounding country. i ! | : Sir Barton has developed into a glorious horse. His neck when he was racing appeared short. This gave him a rather plain appearance, which has disappeared with the coming of a crest that matches his lovely head with its broad jowl. He stands as solidly as a church on his sturdy legs and is a type of rugged masculinity. Powerfully muscled and as round as a barrel, he is a most deceptive horse in the matter of weight, scaling 1,170 pounds in the middle of the stud : season. i Gnome is the premier sire at Montana Hall, another new stud established in the blue-grass of Virginia. He is owned by Admiral Grayson, and it is interesting to find the son of Whisk Broom II. in the same country as his great rival, Sir Barton. The duel be- . tween these fine horses at Saratoga la 1920 , was one of the finest races in the past decade. Gnome is out of a mare by Voter and he has that horses great power back of the saddle. His first foals are good ones and he will have a chance to make good, as Admiral Grayson has bought his mares with keen judgment. Another handsome horse at Montana Hall is Ultimatum, owned by Samuel Ross of Washington, who is a brother-in-law to Reed Riley, the owner of Montana Hall. Still another fine breeding farm in the dis- I trict is the Annefield Stud of W. B. Watkins near Berryville. It consists of 350 acres, and the house was built by a brother to the Page who founded Pagebrook. It is one cf the finest stone structures in the Shenandoah Valley. Harmonicon, by Disguise, which was rated the fastest horse in England when he raced there in the colors of the late William C. Whitney, and Sea Rock, by Vulcain, are : the sires there. The former is owned by W. R. Coe. Harmonicon is a superb indi- I vidual. with great bone and substance. Sea Rack is the property of Admiral Grayson and I the veteran trainer W. P. Burch says he i was a better race horse than Gnome. Although it is only a few years since Captain Walker revived the thoroughbred industry in Clarke County there are evidences on every hand that the splendid type is making new friends daily. Farmers and fanciers I now have access to some of the best blood in the United States. With the addition of climate, soil and water there is nothing left to be desired in this elysium of the eastern horse breeder.

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