Teddy

Teddy 3

Bred in France in 1913 at Haras du Jardy Stud, Teddy was by Ajax – Rondeau by Bay Ronald. His breeder was Edmond Blanc, perhaps the most esteemed French breeder to this point in time. Ajax was by English Triple Crown winner Flying Fox. Ajax himself was a great race horse as he won the French Derby and the Grand Prix du Paris as a three year old. Teddy’s dam Rondeau was from the first crop of foals by Bay Ronald, who would go on to become an important stud siring Bayardo and Dark Ronald. Each of these stallions would have a huge impact on future generations.

Due to the outbreak of World War One, Teddy was sold for 5,400 francs to Jefferson Davis Cohn and forced to begin his racing in Spain. He was unraced at two then started four races as a three year old at San Sebastian Race Course, winning three. He returned to France, when racing resumed there, and won two of three starts. He started only once as a four year old, winning the Prix du Sablonieres at twelve furlongs.

Standing 16.0 hands, Teddy was retired to stud. Teddy stood stud at the same time as another pivotal stallion in history, Lord Derby’s great stallion Phalaris. With Phalaris in England and Teddy in France these two established powerful tail male sire lines that began to exert considerable influence in European and American breeding.

Teddy became the leading sire in his homeland in 1923. He stood at different studs throughout his career in France, depending on where his erratic owner leased him, such as Haras du Fitz-James and Haras du Bois Roussel. When Cohn began to experience financial trouble coupled with an expensive divorce, he was forced to sell his racing and breeding stock in 1931. The then eighteen year old Teddy was bought by F. Wallace Armstrong and Kenneth Gilpin to stand at Kentmere Farm, Virginia.

By the time of his sale to American interests, Teddy had become a well regarded and successful stallion. Ortello became one of his best sons on the track winning the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe as a three year old. A huge horse, Ortello stood 17.0 hands. He was bred in Italy at Haras Ticino and purchased by Guiseppe de Montel as a yearling. He would stand at de Montel’s Haras de Gornate Stud in Italy where he would go on to became highly influential, leading the Italian sire list six times.

He is the sire of La Troienne, the matriarch of some of the most famous horses of either sex in American turf history. She was bred in France by Marcel Boussac and sold in foal to Gainsborough to Col. E. R. Bradley in 1930. Among her many top and most influential foals are Bimelech, Black Helen and Big Hurry (by Black Toney), Big Event, Businesslike and Belle Of Troy (by Blue Larkspur) and Baby League (by Bubbling Over).

The list of champions in America and abroad that directly descend from La Trioenne in tail-female line is staggering. Buckpasser, Relaxing, Easy Goer, Numbered Account, Personal Ensign, Allez France, Princess Rooney, Personality, Affectionately, Woodman and Busher are many of the exceptional horses that have La Trioenne in their direct female line pedigrees.

Teddy’s influence in future generations has come from many sources. Teddy’s son Case Ace sired the mare Raise You who became the dam of Raise A Native. Another source of lasting influence came from Sun Teddy. Winner of eight races from eighteen starts, Sun Teddy would sire Sun Again who in turn sired Sunglow the sire of Sword Dancer.

Sword Dancer became Horse Of The Year in 1959 in the U.S. He in turn would sire champions Lady Pitt and Hall Of Fame inductee Damascus. Damascus was truly one of the greats in North American racing history. He was bred in 1964, a year which in hindsight has become one of the most productive years in Thoroughbred breeding. Damascus is ranked sixteenth in the top one hundred horses of the twentieth century, according to a poll conducted by The Blood Horse magazine. Damascus became a very successful sire standing at Claiborne Farm in Kentucky.

However, as with Phalaris, the Teddy influence is strongest through a pair of sires who are full brothers to each other. Sir Gallahad III, foaled in 1920, and Bull Dog, foaled in 1927. Both brothers were born in France and eventually imported to the US. They were out of the great broodmare Plucky Liege by Spearmint.

Sir Gallahad III was the better runner of the two. He won three of five races, all sprints, at two in France. At three he won the Poule d’Essai des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas equivalent), one of his four wins. As a four year old, he won three races in France and the Lincolnshire Handicap in England. He was very fast but could not carry his speed past ten furlongs.

Sir Gallahad III stood one season in France before being purchased by A. B. Hancock and William Woodward for $125,000 in 1926. In his first crop sired at Claiborne Farm in Kentucky was the Triple Crown winner Gallant Fox. This kick started his terrific stud career. Gallant Fox went on to sire Omaha, who emulated his sire by winning the Triple Crown.

Leading the North American sire list four times and the broodmare sire list a remarkable twelve times, Sir Gallahad III left an indelible mark on pedigrees. His sixty-four stakes winners  (11% of foals) was quite an achievement as there are not nearly the amount of stakes races then as there are today.

Sir Gallahad III also sired Roman. A top notch sprinter, Roman would go on to become a useful sire of broodmares and he led the list three times. Pocahontas was one of his fillies. She foaled Tom Rolfe the sire of Hoist The Flag, who in turn sired Alleged.

Vagrancy by Sir Gallahad III, bred and raced by William Woodward’s Belair Stud, would become the champion three year old in 1942 after victories in the CCA Oaks, Beldame Handicap, and Pimlico Oaks among her many stakes wins, under the tutelage of the legendary “Sunny Jim” Fitzsimmons. As a broodmare, Vagrancy would produce Black Tarquin, winner of the English classic St. Leger Stakes. Sir Gallahad III remarkably led the American broodmare sire list twelve times.

Bull Dog became the more prominent sire in future pedigrees. He was foaled in France after his brother began to make his mark at stud in the US. On the race track he was nothing special, but he did win some minor stakes races at a mile distance. At the end of 1930, his three year old season, he was sold to Charles B. Schaffer and moved to his Coldstream Stud in Kentucky.

By this time his older brother was sweeping all before him in the sire lists and Bull Dog got a lot of attention, especially from breeders who could not get a season to Sir Gallahad III. He seemed to sire more speed type of foals than his brother did and they tended to come to hand a bit earlier.

Bull Dog sired two year old champions Occupy and Our Boots and led the sire list in 1943. Also like his brother, he became a fine broodmare sire, leading that list three times as well. His daughter Gaga produced champion Tom Fool, sire of champion Buckpasser. Other good sires produced by his daughters were Rough N’ Tumble and Dark Star.

Bull Lea, from the broodmare Rose Leaves by Ballot was to be his link to future pedigrees. Inbred to Musket 5×4, he won the Blue Grass Stakes at three in record time, and the Widener Handicap as a four year old, before he became Calumet Farms foundation stallion. Purchased by Warren Wright as a yearling, he was trained by Frank Kearns. He won ten races from twenty-seven starts in all.

His best offspring by far was Citation. Citation, who was from the Hyperion mare Hydroplane, won the Triple Crown in 1948 racing in the colours of Calumet Farm. He would go on to win a then record $1,085,760. This was an unheard of sum, at that time. He raced from the ages of two to six. Other notable victories were the Santa Anita Handicap, Jockey Club Gold Cup, Flamingo Stakes and the Pimlico Special in a walkover. His sixteen race winning streak was equalled forty-six years later by Cigar and then broken by Zenyatta in 2010. Unfortunately, Citation could not live up to his race record as a sire. He did get a few good runners such as Silver Spoon, a champion three year old filly, and Preakness winner Fabius.

Bull Lea sired 15% stakes winners from his total foals. He was a good sire of sires and a very good sire of broodmares. He led the broodmare sire list four times. Some of the notable winners produced by his daughters are Quadrangle, A Gleam, Barbizon and Leallah. His very good champion handicap mare Two Lea produced Tim Tam by Tom Fool. Tim Tam captured the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes in 1958. He later became a fairly successful sire with Tosmah being his best.

Bull Lea was also the sire of Bull Page, a Canadian based sire at Windfields Farm in Oshawa, Ontario. Bull Page was a consistently fast but injury prone horse. He became the first officially named Canadian Horse of the year after his stellar four year old campaign. He was retired to stand stud at Windfields Farm in Oshawa and made his mark on the breed in his new role.

Bull Page sired New Providence, winner of the Canadian Triple Crown and sire of Canadian Oaks winner South Ocean, dam of Storm Bird by Northern Dancer. A full sister to Storm Bird born five years earlier was Northernette, who also became a champion on the track and has exerted influence on future generations through her daughters, which includes Scoot by Mr. Prospector.

Bull Page’s best was Flaming Page. She won both the Canadian Oaks and the Queen’s Plate, the first filly to do so, and then to a cover by Northern Dancer she produced the great Nijinsky, the only English Triple Crown winner in the past seventy-five years and counting. Her daughter Fleur by Victoria Park produced double Derby winner The Minstrel, also by Northern Dancer.

Teddy is rightly regarded as one of the most important sires of the turf. I find it a sad shame that his sire line has fallen behind in the grand scheme of “Fashionable Breeding”. The Teddy line was noted for sound, fast and trainable horses. Surely a triple dose of desirable traits to look for. As the sire of Sir Gallahad III, Bull Dog and the incomparable broodmare La Troienne, Teddy is a legend, with the rest of his get confirming his exulted place in history.

(Photo courtesy of Kentmere Farm archives)

4 comments

  • Robert C. Harmon Sr.

    Wonderful article. Interesting, as my Dad. Ted, was also born in 1913.. I especially enjoy his connection with such great runners over the years…

  • A giant of the breed.

  • Julie LaBomascus

    I wonder if there are any tail male descendants at stud. Something to consider for future articles.

  • Horses were bred for physical health, endurance and strength as well as speed. Just look at the powerful legs on Teddy compared to the thin fragile ones on many of today’s racers.

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