IN­FLU­EN­TIAL SIRES FROM BE­FORE THE AMER­I­CAN REVO­LU­TION

EQUUS - - Conformation Insights -

These horses ap­pear in the pedi­grees of Janus II (tap­root sire of the Amer­i­can Quar­ter Horse), Gaines' Den­mark (the chief foun­da­tion sire of the Amer­i­can Sad­dle­bred), Rys­dyk’s Ham­ble­to­nian (foun­da­tion sire of the Amer­i­can Stan­dard­bred), and a few other im­por­tant 19th century sires in­clud­ing Ethan Allen 50.

Old Fox (1714) by Clum­sey, who traces in sire line back to the Helm­s­ley Turk and Hobby mares; out of Bay Peg, a great-grand­daugh­ter of Old Bald Peg, whom breed historian Alexan­der Mackay-Smith has iden­ti­fied as the greatest source of short speed in both the Quar­ter Horse and the Thor­ough­bred. Fox was never ex­ported, so his in­flu­ence was felt first in Amer­ica through his son Dab­ster 1736 (im­ported about 1741) and then through his grand­son Janus II (1746, im­ported 1757). We will be ex­am­in­ing Janus II’s life story, breed­ing and prog­eny in de­tail in an up­com­ing se­ries on the his­tory of the Amer­i­can Quar­ter Horse. The con­tem­po­rary paint­ing of Old Fox is by James Sey­mour; note the horse’s small size. Hobby an­ces­try shows through Fox’s big, pow­er­ful haunches and slightly crooked hind legs; Turk an­ces­try through his long-legged, lathy build and deep, oblique shoul­der. Note the qual­ity head with prom­i­nent bone struc­ture, broad fore­head, fine nos­tril and alert, in­tel­li­gent ex­pres­sion. Mon­key (1725, imp. 1737) by the Lons­dale Bay Turk out of a mare by the Cur­wen Barb. Mon­key ap­pears at the very be­gin­ning of Thor­ough­bred his­tory and thus de­rives in no part from the Dar­ley, By­erly or Godol­phin sires. He was prob­a­bly im­ported by Col. Nathaniel Har­ri­son of north­ern Vir­ginia; later he was sent to North Carolina. We are lucky to have a con­tem­po­rary por­trait of Mon­key, which shows his con­for­ma­tion to be sim­i­lar to that of Old Fox: small size, sinewy build, big pow­er­ful haunches, deep oblique shoul­der,

high with­ers and hard, wellar­tic­u­lated legs. Sim­i­lar too is the head, with its sharp bone struc­ture, wide fore­head and sen­si­tive nos­trils. The artist has em­pha­sized the horse’s prom­i­nent and lively eyes, a nor­mal fea­ture of good horses of Ori­en­tal breed­ing.

Al­though the stallion Bulle Rock (1709) had been im­ported six years ear­lier, Mon­key left a far larger stamp on Amer­i­can horse breed­ing. As with other very early im­ports, there were only a few blooded mares for him to cover, but this prob­a­bly did not con­cern his im­porters—at this early date there were no four­mile race­courses in Vir­ginia. Bri­tish breed­ers were in­clined to send blooded horses to the Colonies when they proved to lack the com­bi­na­tion of speed and stamina that it took to win in King’s Plate rac­ing. At the same time, horses who showed sprint speed were ex­actly what Colo­nial im­porters were look­ing for. Once ar­rived on these shores, Mon­key was put to Hobby, Nar­ra­gansett and Ja­maica mares, which as breed historian Fair­fax Har­ri­son says, “made of them the foun­da­tion stock for the suc­cess­ful quar­ter-rac­ers which it was the priv­i­lege of Janus ul­ti­mately to gal­va­nize.”

Mon­key did sire some pure­bred foals, and these came out of dams who had been sired by other early mports: r, Sil­ver Eye. Their foals s in­flu­ence within d reg­istry into the uries. s likely that 10 times as nning eds— though called “coun­try breds,” they were ac­tu­ally an elite, the best which a hun­dred years of pro­duc­tion and race-test­ing in Vir­ginia and North Carolina could pro­duce. Be­cause he lacked Hobby blood, Mon­key crossed well on heav­ily Hobby mares.

Un­for­tu­nately, we don’t have im­ages for other Thor­ough­bred sires im­ported be­fore 1800, but they are no less im­por­tant than Old Fox and Mon­key. Of par­tic­u­lar note are Jolly Roger (1743), im­ported in 1751 by Col. John Spotswood of south­ern Vir­ginia. Jolly Roger was the sire of Poll Flaxen (1750), out of im­ported Mary Gray. Bred to Janus II, she pro­duced the filly Nell Gwynn. Bred back to her sire, she pro­duced the colt Fleet­wood (1776), sire of Printer, an im­por­tant an­ces­tor of the Amer­i­can Quar­ter Horse.

Sil­ver Eye (circa 1745) was im­ported in 1756. His pedi­gree is var­i­ously cited, but the most likely the­ory is that he was by Reg­u­lus by the Godol­phin out of an un­known dam. Fearnought (1755), also by Reg­u­lus, was im­ported in 1764 by John Baylor of Vir­ginia. His dam was Sil­ver­tail, whose pedi­gree is filled with “Ara­bi­ans”— most of which were prob­a­bly Turks. She harks back to the Dar­ley but more im­por­tantly to the Godol­phin and, fur­ther back, to the Helm­s­ley Turk, a font of both speed and bot­tom. In Amer­ica, Fearnought be­came a lead­ing sire of dis­tance horses, but when bred to choice sprint mares, he also sired win­ning quar­ter-mil­ers.

By far the most im­por­tant pre-Revo­lu­tion­ary do­mes­ticbred was the black Mark An­thony (1762), by Lightfoot’s Part­ner by im­ported Mor­ton’s Trav­eller, out of Sep­tima, she by im­ported Othello. Af­ter a mod­er­ately suc­cess­ful race ca­reer Mark An­thony was re­tired to stud, stand­ing for the most part in North Carolina.

Allen Jones Davie said af­ter ob­serv­ing him at the age of 27, “He was a horse of un­com­mon beauty, fine ac­tion, and great rac­ing pow­ers, a win­ner at all dis­tances, re­mark­able alike for good feet and legs and a bad and un­govern­able tem­per; these qual­i­ties marked his de­scen­dants, yet it was usual to see a Mark An­thony valu­able for the turf, the sad­dle, or har­ness.”

Mark An­thony’s name to­day is found mainly in the deep pedi­gree of Amer­i­can Quar­ter Horses, but he also oc­ca­sion­ally ap­pears as an an­ces­tor of Stan­dard­breds and Sad­dle­breds.

OLD FOX

MON­KEY

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