Of all the Thoroughbreds who have come and gone over the years, the two most likely to be mentioned in casual conversation are Man o’ War and Secretariat. And while he has a long way to go before joining the likes of these immortals, 1997 Horse of the Year Favorite Trick has something in common with these super horses and that is the grand broodmare Fairy Gold. Man o’ War was by Fair Play, one of Fairy Gold’s two best sons. Secretariat had a cross of Fair Play via his sire’s broodmare sire Discovery (by Display by Fair Play) and Favorite Trick traces directly to Fairy Gold in tail-female, having her as his tenth dam.
These three horses are but a tiny example of the many descendents who have crosses of Fairy Gold in their pedigrees. War Relic, who is inbred to her 2 x 2 via Fair Play and Friar Rock is a notable example He is found most frequently in pedigrees via In Reality, who is inbred to him, making four crosses of Fairy Gold in all. Since we have recently seen a number of good horses inbred to In Reality himself, including champion Banshee Breeze, these Thoroughbreds carry eight lines of her without any contribution from other parts of their families! So despite the fact that Fairy Gold was foaled in 1896, she is still very much with us today.
Fairy Gold was bred by R. Swanwick and was sold to Leonard Cohen at Newmarket on July 1, 1897, for 1150 (about $5,570). She raced in his colors at two and three, winning three of 11 starts including the Woodcote Stakes in which she defeated the brilliant St. Simon colt Desmond.
Fairy Gold was bred to the St. Simon horse St. Serf her first year at stud and produced a filly named St. Lucre who would found the branch of the family which is strongest today. The following year she was sold in foal to another St. Simon son, Florizel II. The buyer was Col. Harry McCalmont who paid $13,500 for her.
McCalmont did not live long enough to prove Fairy Gold. After the mare foaled her Florizel II colt (who, racing as Golden Measure, won the Ebor Handicap and Gold Vase Stakes in England), she was barren to Isinglass. McCalmont himself died just two years after acquiring Fairy Gold and his horses were dispersed, at which time the mare was acquired by August Belmont.
Belmont bred her back to Isinglass, but she produced a foal who died. He then matched her with his Belmont Stakes winner Hastings and the result was Fair Play.
Fair Play was a good but not great two-year-old, winning the Montauk and Flash Stakes but failing in the more important Hopeful. The colt then ran into the unbeaten sensation Colin who defeated him on three separate occasions.
Fair Play developed well over the winter but was still slow coming to hand. Inevitably he once more faced Colin and ran second to him in the Withers and Belmont, beaten just a head in the latter though there was some doubt about Colin’s soundness at the time.
Where Colin was not, his stablemates Celt and Ballot showed up to give Fair Play all he wanted and each beat him on several occasions. Nonetheless, Fair Play went on to win the First Special at Gravesend, the Dwyer, the Lawrence Realization and the Jerome. In the Jerome he set a track record for 1 5/16 miles. At season’s end, he had run first or second in 15 of 16 starts, making him a tough and consistent if not brilliant sophomore. He then was sent to England as a four year old, but, showing some of his Hastings temperament, refused to train and was retired to stud.
As a stallion, Fair Play was extremely fortunate to encounter the blood of Rock Sand (who Belmont also stood). It was the formula of Fair Play and Rock Sand that accounted for not only Man o’ War but Mad Hatter, Chance Shot, Chance Play and Mad Play. At Belmont’s stud, Fair Play came to be known as a sire whose get matured late but which added substance, soundness and great quality. It is unlikely his name will disappear from pedigrees any time in the foreseeable future, though his epitaph will always be, “He sired Man o’ War”.
Golden View was a year younger full sister to Fair Play but showed none of his ability at the races. She did, however, produce a very good branch of Fairy Gold’s family which included Dwyer and Travers winner Rock View; Santa Anita Handicap winner Linmold and the fine offspring of champion two-year-old filly Romanita, whose get include such good ones as the fine sprinter Boundary, Alabama Stakes winner Classy Cathy and Illinois Derby winner Dotsero.
Flittergold, a full brother to Fair Play and Golden View came next, but did nothing at the races or at stud. Then in 1913 Fairy Gold foaled her other immortal son, Friar Rock.
Friar Rock was at something of a disadvantage, as he was not raced by Belmont but was sold instead to John E. Madden of Hamburg Place for $50,000. Madden ran his horses hard and Friar Rock was no exception. To his credit, he stood training well enough to prove himself not only a decent two-year-old but quite possibly a great three-year-old.
Friar Rock won two minor stakes as a juvenile, the Whirl and Adirondack but lost more important races such as the Champagne. At three, once the distances stretched out, Friar Rock found himself and won not only the Belmont (then run at 1 3/4 miles) but the Suburban and Brooklyn Handicaps and the Saratoga Cup against older horses.
When the horse retired, his time at stud was split between Kentucky and California, an arrangement that caused a lawsuit between the participants. Because the mares to which the stallion was bred in California were of poor quality, half of his time at stud was, quite literally, useless.
The horse finally ended up in Kentucky permanently, but at a different farm, the Shoshone Stud of W. R. Coe, where he died the year his very best son, Pilate, was foaled. That his name has survived to such a remarkable degree speaks volumes for the quality of what little of his blood was appreciated and well-used and of course it also speaks well to the quality of his remarkable dam.
After Friar Rock was born, Fairy Gold had three barren years and in fact, she produced only two more foals prior to her death in 1919. Her 1917 colt was named Fair Gain (by Vulcain) and he accomplished little at the races or at stud; her 1918 filly Treasure Trove by *Ferole was a failure.
All the while Fair Play and Friar Rock were spreading Fairy Gold’s blood throughout the gene pool in America, her best daughter, St. Lucre, was more than doing her own share in Europe (and later elsewhere).
Just a partial list of the major horses descended from her include Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winners Corrida and Coaraze; Preakness winner Snow Chief; Italian Derby winner Gay Lussac; Irish One Thousand Guineas winner Al Bahathri; Irish Derby winners Talgo and Fidalgo; Japan Cup winner Pay The Butler; French Derby winner Philius; French Oaks winner Crepellana; German Derby winner Lagunas; Coaching Club American Oaks winner Bateau (by Man o’ War) and of course, Favorite Trick.
St. Lucre was not much of a runner, though she did win, and she was sold in 1902 to Mr. H. E. Randall, a wealthy shoe manufacturer whose son, Herbert, was the rider of the immortal racemare Sceptre. The offspring of St. Lucre and her daughters found their way into the finest studs of the time – Joseph E. Widener, Baron Maurice de Rothschild, and Marcel Boussac all helped to develop these mares into the fine foundation matrons they eventually became. It was written of her upon her death that “anyone owning a mare with the blood of old Fairy Gold should give her the best of opportunities” and should anyone doubt that statement, Favorite Trick, ten generations removed from the source, should put paid to any arguments.
Fairy Gold’s pedigree is too old to mean much to modern breeders, but the quality is not lost on anyone. She was by the Derby winner and great sire Bend Or, he by Derby winner Doncaster, he a son of Stockwell, the best son of Pocahontas (1837) and “the Emperor of Stallions”. Stockwell was also a wonderful racehorse, accounting for the St. Leger and Two Thousand Guineas.
Bend Or’s dam was Rouge Rose, by Derby winner Thormanby from the Pawn branch of Prunella’s immortal family.
Fairy Gold’s bottom line is equally impeccable. Her broodmare sire Galliard won the Two Thousand Guineas and was sired by Derby winner Galopin, sire also of the one-of-a-kind St. Simon. Galliard was out of Mavin, a daughter of yet another Derby winner, Macaroni.
Fairy Gold’s second dam, Pauline was by Derby winner Hermit and she traces in tail-female to the great mare Maid Of Masham, winner of the Great Yorkshire Stakes and ancestress of virtually hundreds of top horses worldwide.
She was inbred on a 6 x 5 x 6 pattern to the great cup horse Touchstone and his half sister Jocose (dam of Macaroni). When matched with Hastings to produce Fair Play, Fairy Gold picked up another Pocahontas cross via King Tom; a female line of Sweetmeat to balance Macaroni and a cross of Sweetmeat’s half sister Don John Mare. Don John is also repeated in Fairy Gold’s pedigree, and another line of Touchstone is added as well. Glencoe, sire of Pocahontas, is found yet again via Florine, second dam of Spendthrift, Hastings’ sire, so there is a considerable build-up of bloodlines.
By the time Man o’ War came along, the Pocahontas contribution had swollen to six, and Macaroni had a son, Macgregor, to balance his daughter Mavis in Fairy Gold’s pedigree. It is an interesting historical (pedigree) journey that leads us from Fairy Gold to Man o’ War!
Friar Rock, on the other hand, had a greater Pocahontas contribution from his sire, Rock Sand (four crosses), so he was immediately inbred five ways to “the large heart source”. Three of those lines came via Stockwell, but none came via Bend Or, which Fairy Gold supplied.
When Friar Rock was bred to Herodias to produce his best son, Pilate, yet another cross of Bend Or via Bona Vista was added as well as a cross of Bend Or’s half sister Rose Of York.
There are, of course, many examples of inbreeding to Fairy Gold that have resulted in good horses, but as an illustration of what a small breeder can accomplish in a regional market, consider the full siblings Arp and Booklore, by Snow Chief-Fashion Book by Flying Paster. The former ran 119 times and won over $340,000, the latter won almost $160,000. Neither was a graded stakes winner, though both won stakes and are graded stakes placed. Further, each is inbred 8 x 7 to the half sisters Escuina and Listen In, both out of Lisette IX. And Lisette IX? Why, she is a daughter of St. Lucre, the very first foal of Fairy Gold.
As for Horse of the Year Favorite Trick, not only does he trace to Fairy Gold via his female line, he picks up two more crosses of her via a Fair Play double he inherits from Man o’ War in his sire’s contribution. So he’s a little something more than your average good two-year-old champion.
Fairy Gold may well be best known for Fair Play and Friar Rock, but there are ample mares in this family which deserve Reine-de-Course status. They are: St. Lucre; Romanita; Zariba; Listen In; Confidence; Miss France and Souryva.