As the paternal grandsire of Man o’ War, Hastings has a lasting spot in racing and breeding history. Perhaps the only other thing that most racing fans know about the stallion is that he was reported to have a bad temper.
Joe Estes tried to set the record straight about Hastings, noting that he was more excitable and territorial, rather than savage or unmanageable.
Legends tend to take on a life of their own, however, and I was intrigued at discovering a 1902 Nursery Stud catalog with pedigree and racing information about the stock that August Belmont II collected at his Lexington, Ky., breeding farm.
This catalog predates the racing career of Fair Play, Hastings’s most famous son and his heir and superior as a stallion. When later retired to stud, Fair Play began with decent regard at Nursery Stud but was rather second fiddle to his sire, who won the Belmont Stakes rather than running second, and both were overshadowed by the English Triple Crown winner Rock Sand, whom Belmont purchased for about $250,000 150,000 and imported to stand in Kentucky.
At the time of the catalog notes below, Hastings stood at Nursery Stud with Henry of Navarre, contemporary of the great racer and sire Domino, and Octagon, sire of the great filly Beldame. The notes on Hastings read:
Hastings is a brown horse foaled in 1893. His sire Spendthrift was a grand race horse, winner like Hastings of the Belmont Stakes. In the stud he produced the great Kingston, Lamplighter, Lazzarone, Bankrupt, Pickpocket, Stockton and a host of other good ones.
His dam imp. Cinderella also foaled Glenheim (winner of the Juvenile Stakes, etc., in 1883), Foreigner and Handsome (a brilliant two year old in 1894, being only once unplaced in nine starts).
In the female line the pedigree of Hastings is a fine one, the representatives of the family in England including the great Sweetmeat and in America such good ones as Auricoma, Belinda, Barbara, Madam Dudley, Glen Dudley, Judith, Santa Rita, Virgie D., Brigand, Brown Prince, Ruby Royal etc.
Hastings is a half brother to Plaudit, winner of the Champagne Stakes, Nursery Handicap and Emerald Stakes as a two year old and at three he won the Buckeye Stakes, Oakley Derby, Clark Stakes and Kentucky Derby.
He is also half brother to the superior race horse and fine campaigner, Ferrier, a winner at two years of six races, at three of sixteen races in 1894, fifteen in 1895, eight in 1896, one in 1897 and five in 1899.
The turf record of Hastings was a brilliant one and a brief synopsis is herewith given.
At two, won the Surf Stakes, five furlongs, beating Handspring. Won at four furlongs in 48 seconds, beating fourteen others, won at five furlongs in 1:02 with 122 lbs., and ran fifth in the Futurity.
At three, won the Toboggan Handicap, won the Belmont, beating Handspring and others and ran second in the Tidal Stakes and fourth in the Realization.
At four ran a dead heat for the Kearney Handicap with Clifford, won at six furlongs from Ornament and Cleophus, won at five furlongs with 130 lbs., won a Handicap of seven furlongs with 140 lbs., ran second in the Ocean Handicap, second in the Omnium Handicap, second in the First Special, second in the Culver Handicap, second over the Withers mile, 126 lbs., to Semper Ego, same age, 104 lbs., and was unplaced in the Fall and Metropolitan Handicaps.
Hastings gives promise of proving a great sire. He was sent to the stud in 1899, the first of his get running in 1901 and seventeen of them were winners.
Promise is given this year of even an improvement over last season in the get of Hastings: Masterman, out of Lady Margaret having won the Belmont Stakes, duplicating the performance of his sire and grandsire, Spendthrift, and in the two year old division, Mizzen, out of Donna Mia, up to the close of the Westchester Spring Meeting, has shown himself easily the best out so far, having won three stake races in succession, the Juvenile, National Stallion and Eclipse. Rosetint has won five straight races and among other winners are Toscan, Gloriosa, etc.
All the get of Hastings have remarkable constitutions, possessing gameness and ability to race in any sort of going.
The style of writing has a notably 19th century flavor, but the two points that caught my interest were the weights up to 140 pounds that Hastings carried, which indicates he was a rugged beggar, as well as a useful racehorse. In addition to breeding on to the present through his famous grandson, Man o’ War, Hastings had a high-class half-brother, Plaudit, mentioned above as winner of the Kentucky Derby.
In addition, Plaudit is the “other” branch of Domino’s sire, Himyar, and is represented today in pedigrees through Holy Bull and his sons, such as Macho Uno.