Greatness in Our Racing: Prowess on Track Not Always Indication of Success in Stud, Daily Racing Form, 1922-11-07


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GREATNESS IN OUR RACING Prowess on Track Not Always Indication of Success in Stud. Nolahlc Exceptions, Though Fate Ordained That None Should Found Enduring Male Lino Family. Continued from Sundays paper. Owing to the enormous success of Bonnie Scotland at Belle Meade, General Harding chose what he considered his two best sons to reign there after his death Luke Blackburn and Bramble. The latter was by two years the elder of the pair. Both were bred much alike Blackburn being out of a Lexington mare. Bramble from a mare by Australian, granddam by Lexington. After a ten-years trial Bramble was virtually "weeded out" of the Belle Meade Stud. His get were considered second class clever and useful, but really little but selling platers. Luke Blackburn got Proctor Knott comparatively early after he entered the stud he retired to it in 1882 and sired the first Futurity winner in 1S85. Bramble passed to "Gene" Leigh and became a public stallion in Kentucky. In 1892 he covered there a four-year-old filly called Koseville, first known as Pocahontas, that under those names had raced thirteen times as a two-year-old without earning a bracket, and then at three had started no less than thirty-two times, and been returned the winner on but a single occasion. This made one vie-too in forty-five starts a record exceptional if not brilliant. The produce of their union proved to be Ben Brush, a grand race horse and the individual destined to carry on the male line of Bonnie Scotland. Clifford, a son of Bramble, bred at Belle Meade, was perhaps as good a horse as Ben Brush on the course, but by no means any such a progenitor. He was foaled in 1890 and his merits not disclosed until General Jackson had decided that he did not care to retain his sire longer as a stallion. Families of horses "run out" earlier oftentimes when persistently bred from, genera-lion after generation, at the same studs, than when members of them are transplanted elsewhere. This is one of the lessons of breeding history the exceptions not invalidating its force.- The results seem akin to those attained by sowing the same kind of seed year after year upon the same piece of ground, notation of crops is the better method. Had Bramble remained at Belle Meade there would never have been a Ben Brush, a Broomstick or a Sweep. Had Luke Blackburn gone to Kentucky he might there have found a mare from which would have come a horse that would have saved his reputation as a progenitor. CHANCE TIPS THE BALANCE. In these days it is the fashion to talk about how much greater sire was Bramble than Luke Blackburn, but the facts set forth above disclose to what a degree chance tipped the balance. Another item in which chance figured is this Proctor Knott, the son of Luke Blackburn, was probably a greater performer than either Ben Brush or Clifford, but he was gelded as a yearling. Uncle Bob. the son of Luke Blackburn that won the American Derby, was also a gelding. We can never tell what the outcome might have been had either or both of them remained entire critics might today be lauding Luke Blackburn to the skies as one of Americas great family builders. It is true that Uncle Bob was not a lOonUcucd on ejgntii pate. i , j j ! i GREATNESS IN OUR RACING Continued from second pace. Proctor Knott, but he was good enough, in addition to winning the American Derby, to defeat Riley in the Kentucky St. Leger, carrying equal weights and waiving his three-pound gelding allowance ; and Riley ranks as one of Longfellows best sons and was . that years Kentucky Derby winner. i 1 The case of Henry of Navarre has always interested me. One would think that, if he could not succeed on the wonderful mares the Nursery Stud afforded him, success was impossible. Nor was this going to seed on outworn soil, for the son of Knight of Ellers-lie and Moss Rose was not Nursery bred. But there are cases of horses which failed in the most aristocratic studs that succeeded in humbler environments. So firmly was Major Belmont attached to Henry of Navarre, however, that he kept him on and on, and then, after a decade of disapioin-ment, presented him to the Breeding Bureau. Of course, at that time it would have been difficult, if not flatly impossible, for him to have got a hearing from any breeder of repute. Yet outside the Nursery Stud he might have found the "something lacking" that it did not give him. As it is, only through his daughters, and but a few of them, will his blood be preserved. It is not less than curious, it is baffling, that he never sired a runner of high class. This, however, cannot dim my affection for and memories of him. Mr. Fitz Gerald some time ago in one of his interesting contributions to Daily Racing Form spoke of Navarre as "the most perfectly formed and symmetrical thoroughbred of his day." , i And that was the simple truth. The captious . faulted him, during his turf career, as be- ing too "marish" in appearance and, when i he failed as a sire, said that it was due , to a lack of masculinity. But he lingers in my mind as the most perfect picture of a thoroughbred stallion that my mental gallery holds. j

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