William Woodwards Racing Views: Links Yesterday with the Future, Daily Racing Form, 1951-05-02


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William Woodwards Racing Views t I "I ♦ ■■■■ Bf ■■- _ -. A v SkH ■ cJ:-■■ :§ GALLANT FOX — Winner of the Triple Crown/ sire of a Triple Crown winner and one of William Woodwards favorites. • ♦ Links Yesterday With the Future Doyen of American Sport Breeding for Tomorrow, Recognizes Debt to Past By EVAN SHIPMAN Staff Correspondent NEW YORK, N. Y., May 1.— Before concluding our conversation detailed in two previous articles, William Woodward, dozen of American thoroughbred breeders and distinguished international sportsmen, led the way from the small oak panelled study, where we had been chatting over a glass, to an adjoining drawing room, the scale of which was suitable to his larger example of the masters of 18th century English painting. When he switched on the light, we found that the room "centered" on an amazingly vivid portrait of the great Eclipse by Stubbs, the stallion who, after his victory over Bucephalus, gave rise to the panegyric, "Eclipse first, and the rest nowhere." This chestnut, small perhaps, according to present-day standards, was, nevertheless, beautifully turned, and it was apparent that the artist had treated his conformation with greater fidelity than was customary in that era, two centuries ago. Eclipse, as Woodward explained to us, richly merited such respect, for today more than 90 per cent, of our thoroughbreds trace directly, in tail-male, to this extraordinary racehouse and sire. Purchase of Sir Gallahad III. Woodwards enthusiasm as connoisseur and collector is quite of a piece with his active interest in the sport of racing, as breeder, owner, and now "elder statesman" of the American turf. The former chairman of The Jockey Club, by his presence and all that he represents, maintains a continuity of tradition that gives dignity to racing, both here and abroad. In his company, and as he speaks of them, the ancestors of our thoroughbred champions possess again the vitality too often lost in the dusty pages of old records, and it is with no sence of incongruity that one hears Woodward turn from a disquisition on Eclipse, or Diomed, the first Derby winner later imported to America, to declare, "The purchase of Sir Galahad in. was arranged in this room." Eclipse, Diomed and Sir Gallahad III. are three noble names. Their juxtaposition merely emphasizes the absence of limitations, whether of time or of national frontiers, in the thinking of a horseman who, in breeding for tomorrow, is fully cognizant of our debt to the past. Sir Gallahad III. was certainly no Eclipse on the course, and his greatest moment, Woodward agrees, may have been the afternoon he defeated Epinard by a short head in a seven-furlong match race at St. Cloud, but, imported to this country in the mid 20s, the bay son of Teddy was to become an incomparable influence in the stud, and the greatest of his sons and daughters were to carry the white jacket, red dots and red cap of Woodwards Belair. Earl of Derbys Visit Here We had assumed that the Earl of Derby, who visited America in 1930 and who was guest of honor at the 56th running of the Kentucky classic deriving its name from his family, had come as a member of ! Woodwards party. The latters ties with English racing have always been close, and he was starting, that year, the greatest of | Sir Gallahads race horse sons, Gallant I Fox. "No," Woodward told us. "The Earl of Derby came to America that spring at the invitation of Livingston Beekman, governor of Rhode Island, and then the late Joseph E. Widener took him to Louisville for the I race. I know that he was genuinely impressed I by Gallant Fox. A month or so I after the race, when he had returned to England, and on the occasion of Gallant 1 Fox winning the Belmont, he sent me a i cable reading, Congratulations to the most i consistent of this three-year-old generation I anywhere. I had had the satisfaction of telling him that Gallant Fox would probably I win the Derby when I saw him in New York, before he went west for the race. When we remarked that Gallant Fox 1 battle with Questionnaire in the Lawrence 1 Realization that same fall stood out as one I of the gamest, hardest fought contests in our memory, Woodward said, "Yes. Gallant Fox I Lawrence Realization was one of his I best races, but did you see the Classic at Chicago?" Not in Best Condition On our replying that we had missed the Arlington Park feature, Woodward said, "Anyway, you know the Classic was very close, c with Gallant Fox just getting up to beat Gallant Knight in the last stride. ■ The truth of the matter was that Gallant ] Fox had not been himself for a time previous to that race. "On shipping from New York to ChicagOi Continued on Page Forty Woodward Gives Views on Racing Doyen of American Sport Breeding for Tomorrow, Recognizes Debt to Past Confirmed from Page Three the change of water upset him, and for three days the colt did not drink at all. Finally, Colonel Bradley and his trainer, Dick Smith, who were stabled right behind us, generously offered us bottled spring water that they had brought along for their own horses. That did the trick, but Gallant Fox had lost a lot of flesh during those three days. He could not have been at top condition for the race, and, as a matter of fact, that was the only time that Sande ever hit him. "As Sande may have told you, or as you may have noticed, Gallant Fox was the cold sort who do not extend themselves more than is necessary, and it was consequently difficult to know just what was his limit." Omaha and His Grand Dam Retired for breeding immediately upon the close of his brilliant three-year-old racing season, Gallant Fox lost no time in sending out a worthy successor and another Triple Crown winner in Omaha. The exploits of the rangy chestnut, Omaha, may have been even closer to the heart of the master of Belair than those of his sire, because Omaha, out of the Wrack mare, Flambino, had as second dam Flambette. Flambette, bred by Woodward in France during World War I., was his first winner of an American classic when she and her stablemate, Nancy Lee, winner of the Kentucky Oaks in record time, ran one -two in the Coaching Club American Oaks at Belmont Park. That was in 1921, but the strain that produced such mares as Flambette — a small group of Ajax mares purchased by cable in August, 1914 — is still the keystone of the arch at Belair. Flattered as Woodward must have been by Omahas series of fine performances on the American turf as a three-year-old, his great ambition for this son of Gallant Fox was the two-and-a-half-mile Ascot Gold Cup, a race that had persistently eluded American owners since Foxhalls victory in 1882. Reigh Count, victorious in the Coronation Cup, had made a notable attet*pt i for the great prize at Ascot in 1929, and ! had been beaten in a race that John D. 1 Hertz still remembers. Woodward, himself, 1 had been beaten the season before Omahas attempt with Alcazar. Over the years, other American horses who had tried without success for this trophy were Kilmarnock, Eole and Wallenstein — all of them great names. Brilliant Race in Ascot Gold Cup Omaha, who had always impressed American horsemen as the perfect staying type, did not fail to please the English critics, and his race in the Ascot Gold Cup was nothing short of brilliant, but he did not win. Omaha was beaten in the tightest of finishes by the mare, Quashed, she a daughter of the mare, Verdict, who had humbled Epinard in the Cambridgeshire. The irony of the race for Americans was that neither Quashed nor Omaha was eligible for registration in the English Stud Book, both horses being victims of the "Jersey Act," which has now been repealed or nullified. Woodward explains his feelings about Omahas defeat in the Gold Cup in a rather pers," he says, "are not given to headlines, on matters of the turf, and yet the next year, when Flares DID win the Ascot Gold Cup for me, a leading newspaper came out with this banner head: Flares avenges his brothers defeat." t Editors Note — This is the third of three articles by Evan Shipman.]

Persistent Link: https://drf.uky.edu/catalog/1950s/drf1951050201/drf1951050201_3_1
Local Identifier: drf1951050201_3_1
Library of Congress Record: https://lccn.loc.gov/unk82075800