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Underappreciated Horse Racing Stars of the Forties: Woman Energy


World historical past would make the Forties as the last decade of conflict, beginning with the Nazi invasion of Poland in September 1939 and ending with the descent right into a battle that left the planet chilly with worry at occasions. On the racetrack, the last decade was one among Triple Crown winners – 4 in complete, essentially the most of any decade thus far – but these years had been wealthy with nice performances, an extended record of nice horses vying for the hearts and minds of the followers that stood trackside.

On that record are three excellent fillies who got here from barns that dominated the game at its highest ranges, main their divisions whereas moving into open firm and making their mark there as effectively.

Vagrancy (1939-1964)

That her sire had already produced one Triple Crown winner would have been sufficient to offer William Woodward excessive hopes about his filly by Sir Gallahad III. That her damsire was Man o’ Conflict made Vagrancy’s success on the racetrack nearly a given. Add to these benefits her dam’s success as a broodmare, then the tall darkish bay filly’s success in each phases of her life faucets her as a reputation any racing fan ought to know.

At 16 arms, 1¼ inches, Vagrancy raced within the white with purple polka dots of Belair Stud, educated by Corridor of Fame coach “Sunny Jim” Fitzsimmons and ridden by one other Corridor of Famer, Jimmy Stout, in most of her begins. With that pedigree and people connections, she had each benefit behind her, and she or he rose to the event.

At 2, she was introduced alongside slowly as Fitzsimmons was wont to do, beginning solely eight occasions and successful three of these. Her greatest stakes exhibiting that first season was a 3rd within the Selima Stakes at Laurel Park, however that was simply the primary scene within the present to come back.

Like most horses of her dimension, Vagrancy wanted time to develop into her body and wanted her 2-year-old season to put the muse for what 1942 would carry. By season’s finish, the one horse that had extra victories than her was Whirlaway, who had 12 to her 11. She notched her first stakes win within the Pimlico Oaks earlier than happening to complete second within the Acorn. Her subsequent stakes win was one William Woodward cherished, a two-length victory within the Teaching Membership American Oaks, named for the membership that the grasp of Belair was a member. From there, she added wins in lots of the distaff options acquainted to twenty first century followers: the Beldame and Women Handicaps; the Delaware Oaks; and the Gazelle and Alabama Stakes.

She did enterprise out of her division at 3, ending second to Alsab within the 1⅝-mile Lawrence Realization and fourth in races just like the Empire Metropolis, Butler, and Maryland Handicaps. In all, Vagrancy raced 21 occasions in 1942, her 11 wins netting her practically $85,000 in purses and incomes her the title of champion 3-year-old filly and champion handicap feminine for the yr.

Whereas Woodward opted to race her at 4, chasing the $100,000 mark for her profession earnings, she was not fairly the identical that following yr. She completed within the cash within the Beldame, Women, and Diana Handicaps, however added no extra stakes wins to her tally of 15 wins in 42 begins and $102,480 in purse earnings. She retired to Claiborne Farm the place she joined the Belair broodmare band, producing eight foals for Woodward.

Of these eight, the primary was Black Tarquin, a colt by Rhodes Scholar foaled at Claiborne Farm however imported to England to affix Woodward’s English steady. He gained the St. Leger, the final jewel of the English Triple Crown, and was second within the 1949 Ascot Gold Cup as effectively. His high quality outlined what Vagrancy was as a racehorse and a broodmare: a champion who fulfilled the promise of her purple pedigree after which handed on that high quality to the subsequent technology.

Wistful (1946-1964)

Within the Nineteen Thirties, the white with purple polka dots had been ubiquitous on American racetracks. Seen on two Triple Crown winners, the success that William Woodward’s steady had that decade presaged what was to come back within the Forties. From Whirlaway to Quotation, Calumet Farm churned out champions at a price akin to that of Belair into the Fifties and Nineteen Sixties.

In the identical yr that Quotation was foaled, the Calumet mare Simple Lass produced one other son by Bull Lea, the stalwart second fiddle named Coaltown. The next yr, she foaled Wistful, a chestnut filly by the great Calumet sire Solar Once more. Like her half-brother, she was affected by continual ankle points, which very possible accounts for her restricted 2-year-old season. Wistful began solely two occasions in 1948 and broke her maiden within the second begin. Due to her late begin, she had a restricted winter break and posted her first begin at 3 in mid-January. Her first stakes win, although, was nonetheless just a few months off.

Wistful picked a fortuitous time to interrupt her stakes maiden, although. The day after Ponder gained the Kentucky Derby within the Calumet purple and blue, the daughter of Simple Lass made it a Derby-Oaks double for the Wrights, taking the Kentucky Oaks by 4½ lengths. She adopted that up with a win per week later within the Pimlico Oaks after which 15 days after that with a half-length victory within the Teaching Membership American Oaks, incomes Wistful one thing akin to an unofficial filly Triple Crown. She completed her 3-year-old season as co-champion of her division alongside stablemate Two Lea.

The Calumet filly raced yet another time in 1949 after which bumped into extra points along with her ankles that sidelined her till the subsequent yr. Over the subsequent three seasons, Wistful was much less constant however nonetheless managed to win the Clark, Beverly, and Ben Ali Handicaps earlier than her retirement. As a broodmare, she produced solely three foals, together with Normal Duke, who gained the 1957 Florida Derby.

Two Lea and Wistful had been however two names on an extended record of champion fillies for Calumet Farm, a listing headed by one other stellar distaff racer named Twilight Tear.

Twilight Tear (1941-1954)

Warren Wright was betting on Bull Lea persevering with his success on the racetrack into his years within the breeding shed. Throughout his three seasons on the monitor, Bull Lea’s record of wins featured the Bluegrass Stakes and the Widener Handicap with a pedigree that complimented his capability. His sire, Bull Canine, was a full-brother to Sir Gallahad III, sire of Gallant Fox amongst others, and his dam, Rose Leaves, produced a number of stakes winners along with Bull Lea. By the point he went to stud, Wright’s conversion of Calumet from Standardbreds to Thoroughbreds was totally full, with a view towards breeding the horses they might race. His cross of Bull Lea with Woman Lark, a Blue Larkspur mare, produced a phenomenal bay filly with one hind sock, a woman named Twilight Tear.

She was a winner on debut and adopted that up along with her first stakes win in solely her second begin, taking the Arlington Lassie by 2½ lengths. Twilight Tear would spherical out her 2-year-old season with two extra wins and a second within the Selima Stakes, a pleasant begin to what would grow to be a Corridor of Fame profession.

Thought of one among Calumet’s early Derby hopefuls, the filly opened her 3-year-old season in a stunning spot: towards older horses within the Leap 12 months Handicap at Hialeah on Feb. 29, Leap Day. She carried the race’s lightest weight, 101 kilos, and completed a powerful third, simply two lengths behind the winner. She adopted that up with 16 extra begins in 1944. She bypassed the Derby, gained by stablemate Pensive, and as an alternative focused the distaff division’s large sophomore races just like the Pimlico Oaks, the Acorn, and the Teaching Membership American Oaks. Together with her domination of the filly division full with clear victories in all three races, coach Ben Jones confirmed his confidence in her skills by sending her towards the boys once more.

Earlier than that trio of wins, she beat colts within the Rennert Handicap at Pimlico earlier than successful the Pimlico Oaks per week later. Then she set a monitor report for seven furlongs within the Skokie Handicap at Washington Park close to Chicago and beat Pensive and different colts with ease. Subsequent, she moved on to the Basic Stakes, a 3-year-old characteristic gained by horses like Gallant Fox and Omaha, and once more beat the boys with ease, taking the lead out of the gate and by no means wanting again. After a second within the Alabama broke her streak of wins in her division, Twilight Tear gained twice extra earlier than operating right into a muddy monitor within the Maryland Handicap. She carried 130 kilos and labored by way of the 1 ¼-mile race to complete fourth.

To spherical out 1944, Twilight Tears connections accepted an invite to contest the Pimlico Particular on Nov. 1, the place she would meet a formidable Satan Diver. The Greentree Steady star had gained his second of three Metropolitan Handicaps already that yr and added the Whitney to his lengthy record of victories. For the 1 3/16-mile Pimlico Particular, he carried 126 kilos to Twilight Tear’s 117, but it surely was not weight that made the distinction. Fairly, it was the filly’s velocity out of the gate. She broke quick and took the lead instantly below jockey Doug Dodson. Neither Satan Diver nor Megogo was capable of acquire on the Calumet filly and had been effectively again on the end.

Twilight Tear’s 1944 season earned her each Horse of the 12 months and champion 3-year-old filly honors. As she counted right down to the beginning of her 4-year-old season in 1945, World Conflict II intervened: James F. Byrnes, director of the nation’s conflict mobilization efforts, suspended racing till Might 1945 because the Allies ramped up their efforts to finish the conflict on the European entrance. Forward of her first begin, the filly bled in a exercise and was sidelined till late August. In her one and solely begin at 4, she bled once more and was promptly retired to Calumet Farm the place she joined their storied broodmare band.

Almost seven a long time after her loss of life in 1954, Twilight Tear lives on within the type of a World Conflict II period P-51 Mustang. Flown by Lieutenant Hubert Davis in the course of the later years of the battle in Europe, Twilight Tear flew 35 fight missions and shot down three enemy plane throughout her time within the air. Totally restored in 2007, the aircraft named for this Horse of the 12 months retains the identify Twilight Tear flying at airshows, the restored plane thrilling crowds because the Calumet star did within the Forties.


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