All In The Family
Gallant Fox (1927-1954) was a big, bay, wall-eyed colt who some said won 'cause horses comin' up on his outside saw his wall eye and were too scared to pass. Hey, whatever works, right?
But he started out slow as a two-year-old, not really showin' his true talent 'til his last race of the year. In fact, the Fox got left at the post in one race 'cause he was too busy rubberneckin'. When he finally noticed everyone else had taken off he tried to catch 'em but that was too much for even the Fox. (And you thought the terrible twos only happened with human children.)
In 1930 the Preakness came before the Derby and Gallant Fox put on quite a show, escapin' from a pocket and recoverin' lost ground. The New York Times (back when they were still reportin' the news) described it as:
"the most electrifying dash that has been seen in Maryland in many a day. Finding a hole here and a gap there, Sande snaked his way through the field and was third at the far turn."
Gallant Fox won pullin' away.
That was the hardest of the Triple Crown races for him. The Kentucky Derby was the first in which a starting gate was used, and Gallant Fox was once again an easy winner, then went wire to wire in a New York drizzle the set a new stakes record and become the Triple Crown winner.
He only lost one race that year—to a 100-1 long shot—provin' that's why they still run the race. At the end of 1930 Gallant Fox deveoped a fever and was retired to stud where his successes continued through his kids.
Five years after Gallant Fox, his son Omaha (1932-1959) duplicated his daddy's feat—easily. A tall, rangy chestnut, Omaha couldn't seem to put it together as a two-year-old with the best they could say about him was "closed fast."
By the spring of 1935 Omaha had filled out and come into his own. Knocked around at the start of the Derby, he stayed comfor-
tably in the middle of the pack then turned it on in the stretch. In the Preakness, Omaha stalked the leaders, again turnin' it on to win by six lengths. With the Triple Crown on the line in a downpour, Omaha was challenged in the Belmont but…you know where this is goin', right?…turned it on in the stretch to become the third Triple Crown winner.
He wasn't as successful a sire as his daddy and ended up on a farm in Nebraska City. Occasionally he was taken to an Omaha racetrack and displayed in the infield. But when startin' gate bell rang, the old man would perk up and lope along the track inside the rail, still tryin' to turn it on in the stretch.
Omaha's grave is on land now owned by the University of Nebraska, supposedly right next to a home economics classroom. Accordin' to some, when a recipe goes, wrong the student is told "Give it to Omaha." It's also said students on their way to a test nod toward his grave for good luck.
He remains the only son of a Triple Crown winner to also win the three classics.
posted by Harrison at 12:01 AM