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Friday, November 16, 2007

Homage to Tom Fool

Recently, Jen over at ThoroughBlog discussed Cloud Ten, the first white Thoroughbred born in Canada, with a beautiful photo of this handsome guy. It caught my attention that his dam is from the line of Tom Fool, granddaddy of Foolish Pleasure. So, imagine my surprise when I ran across ANOTHER white Thoroughbred in the Keeneland sale catalog for Thursday—weanling Arctic Bright (Hip #3840)—who also traces his dam line back to Tom Fool. He was the day’s top-priced weanling, selling to Paul & Berva Megson for $80,000. Here’s a baby picture of him from his breeder’s website (Painted Desert Farm):

Ever the history buff, I spent the next hour or so pouring over everything I could find online about Tom Fool (he was a bit before my time). What an amazing horse!

A champion two-year-old in 1951, he was favored to win the Triple Crown, but unfortunately missed all three races after spiking a fever coming out of a second-place finish in the Wood Memorial. He came back later that year, finishing third behind Belmont Stakes winner One Count in the Travers, and then defeated older horses by seven lengths in the Jerome Handicap. He didn’t win any end-of-the-year awards, but, boy, did he come back with a vengeance as a four-year-old in 1953, winning 10 of 10 races, including the Handicap Triple Crown—Metropolitan, Suburban, and Brooklyn handicaps (and squeezed in a victory in the Carter Handicap in between for good measure). A match race with champion three-year-old colt Native Dancer never materialized due to the flaring up of a recurring foot injury to that colt, but Tom Fool ended his four-year-old campaign (and career) as champion handicap horse, champion sprinter, and Horse of the Year.

He won from 5.5 furlongs to 10 furlongs, and won carrying as much as 136 pounds. As a sire, Tom Fool produced—in his FIRST crop—the 1955 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner (and Belmont second-place finisher—with a fractured sesamoid bone) Tim Tam:

Nine years later, he sired the incomparable Buckpasser, who ironically also missed all three classic races in 1966 after developing a quarter crack, but still won three-year-old champion horse honors, and Horse of the Year! He went on to win 15 races in a row, before losing in his first (and only) attempt on turf in the Bowling Green Handicap at Aqueduct. He, like Tom Fool, went on to become a top sire of broodmares.

For your viewing pleasure, a nice little documentary on Buckpasser's 1966 champion season, in two parts:


Anonymous said...

That white foal is something, isn't he? I wonder if his dam was surprised to see him. Thanks for posting the Buckpasser video--I hadn't seen it before.

Anonymous said...

Wow, great post... thanks so much!

And that baby pic is so incredibly cute!

Anonymous said...

Great blog - really enjoy reading your work...the Buckpasser piece reminded me of that triumvirate of past years - Buckpasser, Damascus and Dr. that was excitement!

TRAINER said...

We bought Arctic Bright and want to thank you for the interest. He is ayearling now and lives in a pasture right outside our window. We are planning on having him broken to ride at next years Columbus Ohio Equine Affair. The promotion has been great. Call us if you want to breed to him. Anyone on this blog will get a special deal. MDIBOOKS@AOL.COM

Valerie said...

Pure White Thoroughbred
Arctic Bright Will be running for the first time Friday March 19, 2010 at Turfway Park 12th race #4.