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A note yesterday from Les Brinsfield set me to writing about some of the potential that might be found in DNA research for Thoroughbreds, and it also set me to doing a spot of research on Domino, the exceptional racehorse and sire from the late 19th century in America who is a special object of interest for Brinsfield (and others as well).

A foal of 1891, Domino was nicknamed the “Black Whirlwind” and was such a fast horse that from 19 starts at a mile or less, he won 18, was second in the other.

In an obituary for the horse that appeared in the Thoroughbred Record of 31 July 1897, the horse’s trainer is reported to say that “an injury to a hoof early in the three-year-old form was the cause of his failure at long distances, and that the severe pain in this foot from the continued exertion was the only reason he would not go any distance that horses are asked to go.”

That may well have been the case, as Domino sired a winner of the English Oaks, Cap and Bells, and a Belmont Stakes winner, Commando, as well as a third in the English Derby, Disguise.

Domino entered stud in the spring of 1896 at Castleton, where he covered “about a dozen mares”! How the times have changed!

In his second season at stud, Domino covered about 20 mares, with his owner, J.R. Keene, “declining the numerous solicitations of owners of outside mares.”

Thus, when Domino was discovered stricken in his paddock at Castleton and died the next day of a condition the vet named as meningitis, he left behind 20 foals from two small crops. Seven won stakes, several of his daughters became important producers, and two of his sons — Commando and Disguise — were important sires. The Domino male line is still alive today, principally through the sons of Broad Brush such as Include.