The Kentucky-bred Tracery (1909 h by Rock Sand x Topiary, by Orme) was bred and raced by August Belmont II. Few horses or men were as well traveled as this classic winner and sire of classic winners.
Belmont sent the elegant colt to race in England, where he made his racecourse debut in the Derby at Epsom. Apparently, his trainer and owner fancied him a bit, and Tracery ran third behind Tagalie and Jaeger. Tracery naturally improved off that form, winning the St Leger, Sussex, and St James’s Palace at 3, then the Eclipse and Champion Stakes at 4, and surely being best in the Ascot Gold Cup, according to Audax.
A victory in the Gold Cup would have made him a winner at the premier level in races from eight to 20 furlongs, a feat of significance even in the early part of the 20th century and nearly unimaginable now.
Tracery went to stud at Southcourt Stud in England in 1914 as a 5-year-old, and his first crop raced in 1917. These were war years, and it is unclear what effect that had on his early stud career, but Tracery sired 2,000 Guineas winner The Panther before his sale in February 1920 to Senor Unzue.
It is not clear why the Argentine breeders took such a liking to Tracery and his sons, but The Panther and Copyright (the sire of Congreve) also were exported to stand there.
In Tracery’s absence from England, Papyrus won the 1923 Derby, and his sire made a return shipment back across the Atlantic. In 1923, a syndicate of 30 breeders agreed to pay 39,000 pounds sterling for the stallion, although the cost was spread over three years at stud.
As fate intervened, Tracery stood only the 1924 season at Cobham Stud before dying of complications from colic in August of that year.
Among his other important foals were Abbots Trace, Obliterate, Grand Prix de Paris winner Transvaal, and Teresina, the dam of the important Hyperion stallion Alibhai.
In a comment about yesterday’s post on Tracery, Garrett Redmond added the following story that I thought was fascinating:
Tracery also left his mark on Irish breeding. His son, Cottage, was a notable of sire of steeplechasers. Among hundreds of winners by Cottage were three Grand National winners: Workman, Lovely Cottage and Sheila’s Cottage.
He also sired the immortal Cottage Rake who won three Cheltenham Gold Cups and was trained by Vincent O’Brien.
That brings in a kind of loop back to Tracery. O’Brien’s daughter married John Magnier, of Coolmore. His father stood Cottage at his place in County Cork.
Tracery left quite a trace.