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(This is the first in a weekly series of short pieces that I plan to write using sources from 100 years ago. If readers have an interest from that time or a question about racing or racehorses, please let me know, and I will try to integrate some of that in upcoming articles.)

 

In the Thoroughbred Record of March 25, 1911, the noted racing historian and commentator WS Vosburgh contributed some observations about the size and shape of Thoroughbreds. He noted, for instance, that “certain conformations are better adapted to certain kinds of racing.”

Vosburgh wrote that the “thick, heavy-muscled horse has greater speed…. [but the horse] whose conformation is of the angular style is usually deficient in early speed but is a better stayer than the round, muscular one.”

These are general truths, but Vosburgh’s most interesting observations were about Correction, a full sister to the great racehorse and sire Domino. Correction was a talented racehorse herself and became an important producer too.

As an example of the sprinting type, Vosburgh said, “While not what could be called a very robust mare in appearance, her development of quarters and gaskins was so remarkable as to attract the attention of the most casual observer. She was the fleetest mare of her day up to a mile, but she preferred six furlongs much better. Her brother Domino was built upon similar but far more robust lines, and I doubt if we have seen a faster horse than Domino. But he was at best a miler, although his courage carried him a trifle farther.”

Yet neither Domino nor Correction were the Quarter Horse type that Vosburgh mentions elsewhere. Instead they had great muscling on a Thoroughbred-style body, and when bred to more classic-type stock were able to produce good racehorses at a variety of distances.

Domino’s male line, continuing almost exclusively through his son Commando, became one of the most important in American racing and breeding for the first 50 years of the 20th century.

 

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