Isonomy and St. Simon: Marginalia, Daily Racing Form, 1924-03-27


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Isonomy and St. Simon: Marginalia . BY SALVATOR. How much, in my time, I have read of St. Simon "about him and about" I would not undertake to compute. The son of Galo-pin and St Angela has always possessed for me the fascination, as a figure of thoroughbred history, that I imagine he does for all horsemen not entirely indifferent to everything but the doings of the day. Unless present conditions are a false index, the "day of "the Simons" as the dominant tribe of the British turf has reached its afterglow henceforth his blood is to "carry on" in secondary roles. But that in a way only adds to the glamor that surrounds his name, which now assumes a place on the roster of "lost causes. and, as the late Doctor Doran so wittily expressed it, o "monarchs retired from business." A sentiment of enthusiasm and loyalty attends such figures that those which parade in the blaring pageant of contemporary triumph never excite; and so, in a special way, St. Simon today invites a sympathetic interest, different from anything in his pompous past and even more alluring. A FALLACY EXPLODED. . I supposed that I was fairly well posted regarding the facts of his career but one lives to learn or should and so it was with acute interest that I discovered, through the recent reminiscences of a British turf writer that the statement which has passed for history in re St. Simons early career and beeni incorporated as such into an infinitude of articles, essays and books upon the thorough bred, to-wit, that the death of his breeder. Prince Hatthyany, disqualified him from the Derby and other classics, is untrue. He was not thus disqualified, for the simple reason that he had not originally been entered. So unpromising was he considered as a yearling that he was not nominated, in consequence of which the death of the famous Hungarian noble responsible for his coming into the world had nothing to do with his absence from the post in the Derby of 1881; etc. This in turn brings to mind the somewhat similar instance regarding Isonomys early career. That marvelous horse was nominated for the Derby and Leger, but was so small a yearling and indifferent a two-year-old it was decided that he would have no chance for the classics, instead of which it was planned to give him a special "prep" for the Cambridgeshire, where, it being a handicap, he would be much favored by the weights. The event approved the wisdom of this plan. The son of Sterling and Isola Bella, reserved exclusively for that race it was the only one in which he started that season and burdened with but 99 pounds, won easily by two lengths at odds of 40 to 1. Of the performance his trainer, John Porter, has written in his notable book of memoirs, "John Porter of Kingsclere," as follows: "There were thirty-eight runners in that Cambridgeshire, and so readily did Isonomy beat this huge field that I firmly believe he could have carried nine stone 126 pounds and still have won." EXAGGERATIONS OF HIS HEIGHT. I have in the past alluded to the exaggerations of the height of St. Simon that disfigure most works "of authority" upon the British thoroughbred. He is there, as a rule, stated to have been anywhere from 16 to 16.iv; hands tall ; whereas, as carefully measured by the late Capt. later Major M. H. Hayes, he proved to be but 15.34. You will also find the statement in these works that Isonomy was a 16-hand horse, but the falsity of it is revealed by the pages of Porter, who says specifically of him: "He was always on the small side ; while in training he did not measure more than 15.2." As Isonomy remained upon the turf to the close of his fifth year, it is obvious that he had attained his full height before he left Porters stable. But structurally he and St. Simon were the antipodes of each, other, for in proportion to his height St. Simon was one of the shortest-bodied thoroughbreds of which we have record, while on the contrary Isonomy was of extreme length, being almost as marked in this regard as was St. Simon in the other. The test of time has approved the blood of Isonomy to possess greater carrying powers than that of St. Simon for the leading British sire of 1923 was a horse of the Isonomy line, Swynford, while the highest rank attained by any of the scions of the St. Simon line was eighth Stedfast ; while it is farther of ap-positeness to note that the performer to which Stedfast owes his rank among last years sires, Brownhylda the Oaks winner is from a mare by Eager, he by Enthusiast, a son of Sterling, sire of Isonomy. The family of Isonomy has .icver been a large one, owing to the premature death of the founder of the line. He. died in the early spring of 1S91, when barely sixteen years of age. Had he rounded out- so long a stud career as St. Simon, for instance, there is no telling to what heights he might have risen as -a progenitor. Two of his sons won the Derby, Common 1891 and Isinglass 1893, both triumphs coming subsequent to his death, on account of which they profited him nothing individually. Granting he had been spared to take advantage of the select mares that would have flocked to him on that account, it seems certain that he would have- left a far deeper mark than is now the case upon the breed of .which, as it is, he is one of the most glorious exemplars. HAS DONE WONDERS HERE. America never made heavy draughts upon the supply of Isonomys blood which Britain could afford, yet so strongly potent has it proved, here as at home, that it has done wonders. Most conspicuously, of course, through Star Shoot, son of Isinglass and grandson of Isonomy, which headed our winning sires five different times within a period of ten years and whose influence is today one of the strongest operative in our breeding industry. Hermis, the "little red horse," one of the grandest performers seen in this country since the dawn of the twentieth century and, that, had an adequate opportunity been accorded him, might have won fame as a sire, was Isonomys son Hermence. The on-direct lines to Isonomy in our present-day pedigrees are numerous and prominent. Dancing Water, an imported daughter of Isonomy, is the granddam of both Ultimus and Runnymede, the latter the sire of Morvich, the former, despite his so-early death, one of our most brilliant speed-getters. At the stud the leading son of "Ultimus is Luke McLuke, a double Isonomy, for Sandfly, his granddam, was also by that horse. Hyeres, still another Isonomy marc, is the dam of imported Huon, whose get are raqing so well. Three daughters of Isinglass most mentioned are Samphire, dam of Wrack second on the winning sires list for 1922 ; Lady Lightfoot, dam of the great Prince Palatine, and Bridge of Sighs, dam of that frequent sire of winners, Light Brigade. For thirty years Isinglass, son of Isonomy, has topped the list of Englands money-winning thoroughbreds, and world-honors were also his until last year, when Zev deprived him of them and Zevs sire. The Finn, is from Livonia, she by Isinglass son. Star Shoot. RESULTS IN FRANCE AND GERMANY. I will not undertake to call attention to the rich results that have attended the use of Isonomys blood in France, Germany and elsewhere on the continent as that would require a separate article ; but I might cite the fact that one of the most glowing tributes to it was lately penned by a French sporting writer, who alluded especially to the capacities of the strain to confer ability to go a distance, carry weight and withstand campaigning stress. It is possible that Isonomy himself was not such a "speed marvel" as Ormonde or St. Simon, but in the precious qualities above-referred to, it is doubtful if he ever was excelled, while in the succeeding generations his family has acquired a speed second to that of no other. There is no great thoroughbred of which I would like so much to see a truthful and life-like portrait as Isonomy, but to date that privilege has been denied me what I mean is a life-photo, of finely realistic character. Various more or less pretentious paintings of him were made and have been reproduced, but to me they mean nothing give me no impression whatever of the sort of individual he actually was. I have often wondered if no portrait of this description exists, and am almost of the opnion that it does not mores the pity ! Incidentally, is it not strange that Sir Theodore Andrea Cook, in his sumptuous three-volume "History of the British Turf," with its multitude of illustrations, fails to show Isonomy in any guise, while depicting hosts of other thoroughbreds not worthy to be named the same day with him !

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