Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Gallant Fox: Two-Year-Old Season

 On March 23, 1927, a big bay foal with a blaze face, four white coronets, and a wall eye was born on Bull Hancock's Claiborne Farm. His sire and dam were Sir Gallahad III and Marguerite.

 Sunny Fitzsimmons, future Hall of Fame trainer, conditioned Gallant Fox, and found that like Sir Barton, he worked best while accompanied by other horses. Because of this, Fitzsimmons used relays of horses when working Gallant Fox. No other horse was fast enough to match him throughout an entire workout.

Gallant Fox as a foal standing beside his dam, Marguerite(photo credit)
 On June 24, 1929, Gallant Fox made his first appearance, which was at Aqueduct. He was still green, so placed third behind Desert Light in the five furlong(1,100 yards) race. His next race, in the Tremont Stakes, was considerably worse. While the other colts were starting, he was busy watching everything going on around him---except the race. Once he had started, he didn't try too hard to catch up, and only passed five of the thirteen horses.

 Several days later, on the 29th, he defeated Caruso by a length and a half in the Flash Stakes. Then Caruso returned for vengeance, winning the U.S. Hotel Stakes four days later. After that, Gallant Fox began to improve. He came within a neck of the Futurity Trial winner, Polygamous, despite the blocked track. Next was the Futurity. Wichone, that season's star juvenile, won by three lengths, while Gallant Fox and two others battled for second. The Fox ended up third by a nose.

 His final start of the season came in Junior Champion Stakes at Aqueduct. He authoritatively won by two lengths, with Desert Light second.

 Although he had only won two races that season, and Whichone was the Champion Two-Year-Old Colt, Gallant Fox was thought to be a top contender for the next year's spring classics. No one knew at the time just how right they would be.

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