Saturday, May 18, 2013

Count Fleet: Three-Year-Old Season

 Count Fleet began his three-year-old career with an easy victory in the St. James Purse, a mile and seventy yards long race. Then he won the Wood Memorial, a mile and three-sixteenths long race, with a time of 1:43, making quality horses like Blue Swords and Slide Rule look cheap. However, in doing so, he banged his left hind leg, threatening his chances of entering the Kentucky Derby. Even so, he did race. Johnny Longden held ice of the wound the whole time, and Count Fleet won despite his injuries. Once again, Blue Swords came second and Slide Rule third.

 The Preakness told the same story: Count Fleet first and Blue Swords second. The Blood-Horse magazine said, "If Count Fleet is the spectacular comet in the racing skies of 1943, then Blue Swords is the comet's tail."
Count Fleet in the winner's circle at one of the tracks
he raced on(photo credit).

 Count Fleet ran in the Withers stakes between the Preakness and the Belmont. He won by six lengths, with Slide Rule, who had skipped the Preakness, second.

When the Belmont finally came, the owners of Blue Swords and Slide Rule decided to skip it, not wanting to be humiliated one more time. Count Fleet only had to beat two horses, which he did easily. In fact, he won by six lengths, becoming the sixth Triple Crown winner.

 Count Fleet retired due to an injured fetlock soon afterwards. His retirement came as a relief to the owner of Blue Swords, who had been beaten several times.

 He enjoyed great success at stud, producing stake winners and the 1952 Horse of the Year. Count Fleet passed away on December 3, 1973, and is buried at Stoner Creek.

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