Sunday, July 28, 2013

1953 Lexington Jr. League Horse Show

The program from the 1953 Lexington Junior League Horse Show is oh so cool for so many reasons.  It is the oldest of my horse show programs, and it is 60 years old this year.  Since Lexington just finished a week or so ago, timing is pretty good too.  From a standpoint of pictures, it isn't great.  The cover is an illustrations of a Saddlebred by JR Horst, the photographer.  Who knew he was also in illustrator? The only horse photograph in an ad was the 1947 photo of Wing Commander also done by John R. Horst.  The other ads are pretty amusing, and some companies, like Budweiser, Old Heaven Hill Whiskey and Ashland Oil are still going strong today.  Others, like Joyland Amusement Park and the Phoenix Hotel have been swallowed up by time. 

So what's great about this program, especially if there aren't many photos?  Many of the classes had the results marked down, and the horses read like the Who's Who of Saddlebred greats.  Even though there weren't pictures in the program, the horses are represented here thanks to the photos ASHA has on its website.  Also thanks to Virginia Griffith, whose name is written on the program.  Undoubtedly it was she who marked down the results.

The people also are noteworthy.   The advisory committee consisted of 19 people including farm owners Miss Clara Peck of Winganeek Farm, Miss Nola Minton of Hickory Minton, Mrs. Josephine Abercrombie Segura of Pin Oak Stables, Mrs. Frederick Van Lennep of Dodge Stables, Mr. Max Biederman of HIgh Point Farm, Mr. C.P. Edwards of Ridgefields Farm, Mr. C. E. Falls of Rosa-A-Lee Farms, trainers C. Leake Fain, Shine Ogan and Cape Grant, Mr. Lewis Tierney of Leatherwood Farm and Mr. H. G. Whittenberg of Hayfield Farms.  Mr. June Cronan was one of the stewards and Dutch Morris was official photographer.  And then there were the four judges.  Shirley Drew Hardwicke was the equitation judge.  The remaining judges were David Neil of Blythewood Farms, trainer Owen Hailey, and Dr. Robert Elrod of Ottawa Creek Farm, the man who sold me Buddy.  I am guessing he is one of the few non-professional horseman to judge at Lexington and Louisville. 


Maternity fashion from 1953 and a nylon tulle designer wedding dress. 
The show ran from Monday through Saturday night, just like present day, but there were only 83 classes.  Could that be one reason the classes were better filled in those days than they are now?  Thre were no morning sessions, only evening classes.  Virginia Griffith didn't start recording results until Wednesday night.  The Junior Fine Harness Stake had 7 entries.  First went to Miss America, aka CH Moore's Miss America shown by a 19 year old Tom Moore!  Third place went to Hi-Note, aka Crebilly's Hi-Note shown by Frank Bradshaw.  Both of these trainers eventually owned these mares. 

Miss America and Tom Moore


Hi-Note and Frank Bradshaw

The five gaited gelding stake was won by Stonewall's Duke of Dixie, 2nd to Master Genius for High Point Farm, and 3rd went to Sam Spade ridden by Marion Brown.
Sam Spade

 Thursday night was the Ladies Fine Harness Stake.  The winner was Peavine's Genius' Queen, shown as Genius Queen. 

Genius Queen
The Juvenile three gaited class was won by Gay Gallant and 2nd went to (Magnolia's) Ann Rutledge.  Gay Gallant was 15 years old in 1953 and a very seasoned campaigner.  He has earned his CH designation.  Read more about Ann Rutledge in the Carolina post.   Seems like half the horses back then weren't shown by their registered names. 
Gay Gallant

Ann Rutledge
There are many more classes to report and more pictures to post, so that will happen next week.  Today it's off to the Monroe County Fair to work as Masterstockman Superintendent.  

Sunday, July 21, 2013

4/23/13 Happy Birthday CH Wing Commander

Happy 70th Birthday CH Wing Commander!

CH Wing Commander was born in Rochester Michigan on 4/23/43, son of CH Anacacho Shamrock and Flirtation Walk (BHF).   He was owned throughout his 26 years by Frances Dodge Van Lennep’s Dodge Stables.  Dodge Stables relocated to Castleton Farms in Lexington Kentucky in the late 1940’s. 
CH Wing Commander as a 3 year old

The iconic Wing Commander photo by John Horst taken when he was 6 years old.

Wing did it all.  He was an incredible show horse, a sire of many BHF broodmares, and his stallions sons went on to be very successful as well.  Many of the tops stallions today trace back on their sire line directly to Wing Commander. 

This photo is from the 1954 issue of Life Magazine
showing Wing with all 122 ribbons he won.  
Wing began his show career as a three year old.  He campaigned fearlessly and tirelessly, the likes of which we don’t see today.  For nine show seasons, he regularly competed at seven or eight shows per year.  He only met with defeat twice, as a four year old against a much more seasoned show horse.   I never had the privilege of seeing Wing show, but it is said that his speed at the rack and trot pretty much blew everyone else away.  If a horse could compete with him at the trot, they couldn't at the rack, or vice versa.  He also could maintain his form at speed, and for great lengths of time.  Everyone who knows Saddlebreds knows that Wing Commander was a six time World’s Grand Champion 5-gaited horse from 1948 through 1953.  He won the stallion stake at the Chicago International  Horse Show for nine straight years, from 1946 through 1954.  Out of 122 classes, he won 120 blue ribbons and was second on two occasions.  He retired from showing in 1954 and made a final exhibition in the old coliseum at the Kentucky State Fair in 1955. 

The Dodge Stables' show string circa 1950's at Castleton Farms

Wing Commander being harnessed at Castleton Farms

Wing Commander jogging with Earl Teater

Wing wasn’t used much as a sire until his show career was over, but he made up for it.  He sired many, many good show horses.  Among his offspring with their champion designations were CH Dixie Wing, Dream Lover, CH Grape Tree Limelight, CH Rebel Command, CH Tashi Ling,
CH Valerie Emerald and CH Yorktown.   Other top showers were Callaway’s Johnny Gillen, Commander’s Love, Super Command and Sunset Commander. 

Wing Commander at the trot

Wing Commander and a young fan.  
He was known for his kind temperment.

Many of his daughters were good producers including BHF mares Starlike, Jasper Sweetheart,  Ann O’Lee, Jasper Lady Evelyn, Jasper Lou, and Lady Trigg.  Several other producers were Raven Wing, Lady Talmage, Hasty Honey, Commander’s Beauty, Sharp Lady and Empress Wing who was the dam of CH Imperator.  His daughters crossed with Supreme Sultan proved to be a fantastic match. 
Wing posing for a newspaper article.

Finally, we come to his breeding sons, of which there were many.  Rhythm Command, Wing Rhythm, Buck and Wing, Danish Commander, Wing’s Fleet Admiral, Callaway’s Johnny Gillen, Flight Time, Super Command, Chief of Greystone, Wingmaster, Mr.Magic Man, Sensational Commander, Center  Ring, Plainview’s Commander, Commander’s Best, CH Yorktown, Flame Commander, King Dell, Dutch Commander, Pride of Plainview, Oriental Aire, Wing Shot, Lucky Commander, Air Command and High Rank.   The list goes on and on, and I'm sure I missed many good horses in each category.
Wing died at age 26 at Castleton Farms in Lexington from colic.  He left an incredible legacy in the Saddlebred world.

 Wing Commander was a frequent subject for artists.
This is C.W. Anderson's drawing.

This drawing of Wing is by James Walls.

 Helen Hayse drew this portrait of Wing Commander

Wing Commander by artist George Ford Morris

1/18/14 There is now a Facebook page for the American Saddlebred blog.  Please check it out at
and give it a like.  It's an easy way to be notified of new posts. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

What's left of the K's

7/21/13  It seems like there have been a lot of horses posted from the K picture files.  Kalarama Rex, Kalarama Colonel, King's Genius, Kate Haines, Kate Shriver and King's Sport have already been noted.  However, there are lots more to post. 

Kathryn Haines (BHF)
Rex Monroe X Japanette (BHF)
Here is the dam of Kate Haines (BHF) (see 7/14/13 post)  and one of the mares in
a string of five BHF mother/daughter lines.  Kathryn did her part by
producing Abie's Irish Rose (BHF) and American Ace by American Born,
Kate Peavine (BHF) by Rex Peavine, Kate Haines(BHF) by Sunflower and
Kingston's Choice by Ben Sory.  That's three BHF daughters and good
horses by multiple stallions.  See one of her sons below.

Kingston's Choice
Ben Sory X Kathryn Haines (BHF)
Kingston's Choice sired the 3rd dam of one of my mares. 
His daughter Elizabeth's Choice is pictured in the
April 30th post on the "E's"

King Barrymore
Bourbon King x Kate Barrymore (BHF)
He was probably best known for his sons Captain Courageous and
Anderson Rex, who were full brothers.  His daughter Our Birdie
produced #1 sire Stonewall Premier (see 2/2/13 post).
Kentucky Choice
My Own Kentucky X Little Kate
Foaled in 1905, he sure is handsome!
His daughter Edith Gatley (BHF) (see 4/30/13 post) helped
make him famous.  He was one of two stallions ever
bred to the great show mare Edna May.
King of Harmony
Anacacho Shamrock X Meadow Wisp by Meadow Majesty
Bred by Dodge Stables, his dam was a very nice 3 gaited horse
and his full sister was Fairy Ring (BHF). 
He sired my friend Laurie's nice gelding,
The American Playboy pictured on the 2/14/13 post.


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Kate Haines (BHF)

Supreme Sultan

7/13/13  Notice anything interesting about Supreme Sultan's pedigree?  Three of his four great-grand-sires are full brothers.  The parents of this trio are the greats, King's Genius and Kate Haines.  They actually produced two other breeding stallions as well. 

Kate Haines (BHF)
Sun Flower X Kathryn Haines (BHF) by Rex Monroe

Kate Haines was the daughter and granddaughter of BHF.  Although she was bred to a number of good sires, her most famous offspring are the five stallion sons sired by King's Genius. 

Bourbon Genius  1933

Bourbon Genius was the oldest and best known of the stallions and was also a five gaited show horse.  He sired many good breeding stallions including Firefly Genius, Reverie's Bourbon Gale, Lexington Leader, Genius' Flying Saucer and of course Genius Bourbon King who sired Valley View Supreme.  His daughters were well known and prolific.  Dixiana's SpringCheer (BHF), Precious Miss (BHF) and Reverie's Bourbon Princess were just a few.  

 Genius of Stonyridge 1938

Genius of Stonyridge stood in Ohio and produced some nice horses.  His daughter Rachel's Genius was in the Broodmare Hall of Fame.   

  Leatherwood King  1939
Leatherwood King was owned by Leatherwood Farms and produced Judy O'Lee and Beverley Hills.  Both mares were in the BHF.

The Genius  1936

The Genius produced Abie's Genius and Diana Gay (BHF).  It's interesting that with the exception of Bourbon Genius, the best known offspring of these stallions were their daughters. 

The last brother was Leatherwood Genius, foaled in 1940.  He was also owned by Leatherwood Farms, but I've never found a picture of him.  

3/22/14 Finally found a picture of him in the February 1948 issue of Saddle & Bridle.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

A few horses beginning with a "J"

7/6/13  Not many horses in my picture files start with the letter J, but they are all good ones.  Two are stallion sons of Rex Peavine and the rest are in the Broodmare Hall of Fame.  One I just located this week and although she was the foundation mare for the Ruxer Farm, I've never seen her picture until now.

Jack Twigg 1903
Rex Peavine x Gladys Twigg by Chester Dare
Jack sired a whole lot of little Twiggs including Fancy, Princess, Leland, Jane, Hazel & Rose Twigg.
Most of his descendants probably come from his daughter Louisville Lou, who was the granddam of Starheart Stonewall.

Jean Val Jean 1908
Rex Peavine X Pattie Stone by King Richard
Jean Val Jean was of course the lead character in the novel Les Miserables, which was released as a movie last year.  Was the novel's hero named after a horse?  No, the novel was written in 1862, so the horse was named after the hero.  The equine Jean Val Jean was fairly prolific, and sired some nice horses including Beau Peavine (see post from 1/29/13), Sensation Firefly (see post from 4/9/13) and Jean Val Jean's Charm.  She was the dam of Charming Jean (BHF) and grand dam of Chocolate Parfait (BHF).

Jane Black (BHF)
San Vicente X Candy Kid
Jane Black is best known as the dam of Anacacho Denmark and his full brother Cameo Kirby.  She also was the dam of the show gelding Flamme Rouge. 

Japanette (BHF)
Highland Denmark X Forest Rose
Japanette appears to have been a show mare herself, and was dam of BHF Kathryn Haines who in turn was the dam of BHF's Abie's Irish Rose, Kate Haines (who will be a subject of her own post) & Kate Peavine.  Abie's Irish Rose was dam of BHF's Abie's Baby & Rose Genius, and Rose Genius was dam of Sparkling Delight (BHF).  That's five generations of Hall of Fame Broodmares beginning with Japanette. I only know of one string of BHF's that can beat five. 

Judy O'Lee (BHF)
Leatherwood King X Ace's Orchid by American Ace
It's interesting to note that Judy has two shots of Japanette in her pedigree, through her sire Leatherwood King's dam Kate Haines and through her dam's sire American Ace who was out of Kathryn Haines.  But way more interesting is just finding this picture, since I have never seen one of her before.  She looks a great deal like her daughter, Melody O'Lee (BHF) who was the dam of Supreme Sultan, but it's my opinion that Judy appears more refined than her daughter.  Judy O'Lee also produced three other BHF daughters, the Wing Commander daughters Jasper Sweetheart, Ann O'Lee and Jasper Lady Evelyn.  I'm not sure if any other mare has produced more than four daughters in the BHF, but that's got to be near the top.