Noting that the new photo header for the blog is the 1938 post parade for the Kentucky Derby raised a response from Jim Culpepper in Tennessee. He wrote that among the 10 horses in the field for the classic that year were the race winner Lawrin, as well as the subsequent leading sires Bull Lea and Menow.
The header shows, from right to left: The Chief (post 9, by Pennant x Transit, by Chicle), winner of the 1938 Derby Trial and Brooklyn Handicap, fifth in the Derby; Lawrin (1, Insco x Margaret Lawrence, Vulcain), winner of the American Invitational and Flamingo Stakes, as well as the Derby; Co-Sport (2, Cohort x Sportress, Sporting Blood), winner of four stakes at 2 and second in a pair before the Derby, when he was seventh; Dauber (3, Pennant x Ship of War, Man o’ War), winner of the Preakness, second in the Derby and Belmont Stakes; Elooto (4, Pompey x Saint Rita, The Finn), never won a stakes from 43 starts and finished ninth in the Derby; Fighting Fox (5, Sir Gallahad III x Marguerite, Celt), winner of the Wood Memorial and third in the Travers, was sixth in the Derby but better at 4, winning the Massachusetts Handicap and the Carter, as well as three more added-money races; Bull Lea (6, Bull Dog x Rose Leaves, Ballot), won the Blue Grass and four other stakes at 3, then the Widener Handicap from two starts at 4 before his retirement to a landmark career at stud.
As the second choice in the Derby, Bull Lea’s eighth-place finish was a big disappointment because the colt had raced so well at Keeneland, with a victory over Menow in the Blue Grass marking the son of Bull Dog as the colt to beat for the classic. Didn’t turn out that way.
Menow, instead, was the bear-cat. He hustled from the outside post 10 position, hooked race favorite Fighting Fox (a full brother to Gallant Fox) before a quarter-mile, and then raced him into defeat. Menow led to near the quarter pole, when Lawrin caught him, and was nosed out of third at the wire by late-closing Can’t Wait.
Menow and Can’t Wait are two of the three horses in the field not shown in the header above. Menow (Pharamond II x Alcibiades, Supremus) was an outstanding juvenile and clearly possessed both exceptional speed and courage. As the divisional champion in 1937, he won the Futurity and Champagne, and at 3, Menow won the Massachusetts Handicap in the muck over War Admiral and also finished third in the Preakness.
At stud, Menow passed on his great size and muscularity. Among his best offspring were two Horses of the Year: Capot in 1949 (Preakness and Belmont) and Tom Fool in 1953 (unbeaten 4yo season, Handicap Triple Crown).
Menow’s great competitor for speed and class was Bull Lea, who sired Horses of the Year Twilight Tear (1944), Armed (1947), and Citation (1948), as well as a stable full of champions, classic winners, and major race winners for Calumet Farm.
The Teddy male line of Bull Lea, and including his sire Bull Dog and Bull Dog’s full brother Sir Gallahad III, was the male line of the 1930s and 1940s that dominated breeding and racing until Nasrullah’s stock began to proliferate in the mid-1950s.
Menow never had quite the same market acceptance that the Teddys and the slightly earlier Swynford/Blandford stock had shared from the 1920s through the 1950s. Today, just try to find a male-line Teddy or Swynford. They are very scarce items.
Instead, the male line from the 1938 Derby that kept on ticking was Menow through Tom Fool, Buckpasser, and so forth.