Bold Ruler: A Star On and Off the Track

Bold Ruler, with Eddie Arcaro in the irons, won the 1957 Jerome Handicap at Belmont Park by six seasons. Stream Kentucky Derby free. To truly comprehend the significance of Bold Ruler, it should be pointed out that he is best known for his achievements at the breeding shed rather than the racetrack.

As benign as that might seem, it actually speaks volumes because Bold Ruler enjoyed an exceptional career on the racetrack.

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 He had been a consensus Horse of the Year option in 1957 as well as the year’s leading 3-year-old.  Stream Kentucky Derby free. He matched or set four track documents.

Yet for all that glory, the legacy of Bold Ruler is best reflected in the winners whose bloodlines traced back to him, Derby live Stream, not his own successes.  His influence on the breeding industry was that deep and lasting.

He had been, after all, the sire of the legendary Secretariat.

That Bold Ruler would become a pre-eminent sire was a surprise.  He had been regally bred, Stream Kentucky Derby free, a boy of Claiborne Farm’s base sire Nasrullah – a top sire in both United States and Europe – out of Miss Disco, a daughter of 1935 Horse of the Year Discovery.

A big, 16.1-hand colt, his connections were impeccable.  He was possessed by the famous Wheatley Stable of Mrs. Gladys Mills Phipps, educated by the revered Hall of Famer’Sunny Jim’ Fitzsimmons and ridden in 27 of his own 33 races by another of the sport’s greatest figures, Eddie Arcaro.

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He won his first five starts and then after runner-up end in an allowance race, proceeded to win the prestigious Futurity at Belmont Park.

His bidding for the 2-year-old championship ended when poor starts resulted in unplaced attempts in the Garden State Stakes and Remsen Stakes — his initial attempts past six furlongs.

At 3, he returned to form and won the Bahamas and Flamingo.  After finishing second in the Florida Derby, Stream Kentucky Derby free, he conquered Gallant Man by a nose in the Wood Memorial and was shipped off as the 6-5 favorite in the Kentucky Derby.

Nevertheless on the first Saturday in May, a quick speed and the mile and a quarter space proved too much to overcome and he wound up fourth. Derby live Stream.

Two weeks later, after winning an allowance racehe captured the Preakness by two lengths over Kentucky Derby winner Iron Liege.

Bold Ruler faded to third in the Belmont Stakes but shut out 1957 by winning six of his final seven starts. Stream Kentucky Derby free. The highlight has been a success over Round Table and Gallant Man at the mile-and-a-quarter Trenton Handicap at Garden State.

In an age before the Eclipse Awards, he was a consensus decision as Horse of the Year, gaining the honor from the Daily Racing Form and Turf and Sport Digest while the third voting body, Derby live Stream, the Thoroughbred Racing Association, sided Dedicate.

At 4, Bold Ruler won the Toboggan, Carter, Stymie, Suburban, and Monmouth Handicap before the injuries which shadowed him during his career finally caught up with him. Stream Kentucky Derby free. He came out of the Brooklyn Handicap with a bone splinter and has been retired.

He left the racetrack with a list of 23 wins from 33 starts with earnings of $764,204, a record that could incredibly pale in contrast to his incredible accomplishments at the next stage of his life.

Sent to Claiborne Farm, Bold Ruler was an immediate success at stud as he passed along his speed to his sons and daughters at an amazing speed of success. Stream Kentucky Derby free. Though his first harvest numbered just 17 foals, he made eight stakes winners and 14 winners.

With Arcaro later 1957 Wood Memorial.  (BloodHorse Library)

He moved on to become North America’s leading sire for a record seven straight years (1963-69).

He also sired 11 champions, beginning with Lamb Chop, the winner 2-year-old filly of 1962 and end with Wajima, Kentucky Derby Watch online, the winner 3-year-old man of 1975.  In between were these outstanding runners since Gamely, Bold Bidder, and Vitriolic.

Throughout his years in stud, 22% of his foals became stakes winners.

While he was the dominant sire of his era, Bold Ruler was always haunted by an inability to generate classic winners.

When cancer brought his life to an end in 1971, he had never made the winner of Triple Crown race. Stream Kentucky Derby free. Yet that all changed in 1973 when his most famous son, Secretariat, became the first horse in 25 years to sweep the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont and earned acclaim among the game’s greatest champions.

Thanks to Secretariat, Bold Ruler posthumously became the leading sire of 1973 and the notion that Bold Rulers hit a wall in the spring of their 3-year-old season became obsolete as a black and white television.

From the ensuing years, his sons and brothers maintained the glory of the bloodlines. Kentucky Derby Watch online. His sons produced top runners like Kentucky Derby winners Dust Commander, Cannonade, Foolish Pleasure, Bold Forbes, and Spectacular Bid.  A total of seven Kentucky Derby winners in the 1970s were from his bloodlines. 

Recently, Seattle Slew’s son, 1992 Horse of the Year A.P. Indy, maintained the Bold Ruler line as fashionable and vibrant.  A.P. Indy was leading sire in 2003 and 2006 and sons such as Tapit, Pulpit, Bernardini, and Malibu Moon have become booming sires.

His livelihood on a racetrack could have lasted for a couple of years with some remarkable accomplishments, yet Bold Ruler’s heritage has withstood the test of time and lives on today through the success of the next generation of his offspring.

In some eyes, he rates as North America’s biggest sire.  He may not have been as fast or brilliant as Secretariat, Stream Kentucky Derby free, however, he made him — as well as a lengthy list of other fantastic runners — and that is why Bold Ruler belongs in any conversation regarding Thoroughbred racing’s biggest stars.


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