Fifty Years of Nasrullah, continued

Continued from part 1


Nasrullah's collection of good 2-year-olds of 1954 went far beyond Nashua. Nashua, who was voted champion 2-year-old male over Summer Tan, never was tested beyond 6 1/2 furlongs at that age, but Flying Fury was. Bred by Harry F. Guggenheim and raced by his Cain Hoy Stable, Flying Fury won the mile Champagne Stakes, and placed in the Pimlico Futurity and Garden State Stakes, both at 1 1/16 miles.

As a 3-year-old, Flying Fury was tested prior to the Kentucky Derby in the Derby Trial at Churchill Downs and came away with his lone stakes win as a 3-year-old. The following year, Flying Fury showed a likeness for distance in winning the 1 1/2-mile Manhattan Handicap at Belmont Park and finishing second in the 1 3/4-mile Merchants' and Citizens' Handicap at Saratoga. At stud, he sired seven stakes winners.

Blue Ruler, another Nasrullah colt, made a name for himself in California. Bred by Claiborne and raced by Murcain Stable, Blue Ruler captured the Del Mar Futurity and Starlet Stakes as a 2-year-old, and was assigned the fourth-highest weight, 123 pounds, on the Experimental Free Handicap. The following year, he placed in the Santa Anita Derby and Berkeley Handicap. He died in 1956.

Nasrullah's fillies were led by Delta and Lea Lane, who battled each other for 2-year-old supremacy in the Chicago area. A Claiborne homebred, Delta faced Lea Lane in the Arlington Lassie and Princess Pat Stakes and won both times. She also ran second against males in the Arlington Futurity. Her earnings for the year, $163,890, were only about $4,000 less than what 2-year-old filly leader High Voltage earned.

Away from her rival that year, Lea Lane captured the Pollyanna, Durazna, and Miss America Stakes, the last-named in track-record-equaling time. A homebred for Charlton Clay, Lea Lane raced only four times following her juvenile season. As a broodmare, she produced stakes winner Rose Bower and is the third dam of major sire Miswaki.

Delta went on to compete at ages three and four, winning a dozen of 26 starts those two years, including four stakes as a 4-year-old. She produced stakes winners Dike, Canal, Cabildo, Okavango, and Shore, and was named 1968 Kentucky Broodmare of the Year.

In the spring of 1955, three of Nasrullah's daughters put on a show in front of the home folks in the Ashland Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Keeneland near Lexington. Dr. Eslie Asbury's homebred Insouciant finished first, followed by Claiborne homebred Courtesy, then Lea Lane. Insouciant also won that year's Coronet Stakes and Modesty Handicap. Her success as a broodmare was modest.

That wasn't the case with Courtesy. Courtesy produced the stakes-winning full siblings Knightly Manner, Dignitas, and Respected (by Claiborne stallion Round Table), and continues to command respect as the third dam of Swale and Forty Niner. Swale ran for a partnership that included Claiborne and was champion 3-year-old male in 1984. His big scores in the Claiborne silks came in the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes. He died eight days after the Belmont.

Forty Niner was champion 2-year-old male of 1987 and just missed winning the Kentucky Derby by a neck. Retired following his 3-year-old season with $2.7 million in earnings, Forty Niner stood at Claiborne before he was sold to Japanese breeders in 1995.

Jean's Joe, who was stakes-placed three times as a 2-year-old, did his best racing beyond that age. He won the San Felipe Handicap at Santa Anita his 3-year-old season, and his runner-up efforts at three came in the Santa Anita Derby, Blue Grass Stakes, and Derby Trial.

Nasrullah also was represented by a star steeplechaser in his first crop of foals. Independence, bred by Mr. and Mrs. Henry Carnegie Phipps' Wheatley Stable, developed into a prominent jumper for Mrs. M.G. Walsh. Independence won the 1961 Grand National Steeplechase Handicap at Aqueduct and three earlier stakes for leapers.

The purchase of Independence's dam, stakes winner Miss Disco, by the Phippses was a stroke of good fortune that would have lasting influence on the Wheatley breeding program. In the early 1950s, Bull Hancock tried to buy Miss Disco for the Claiborne operation. At the same time, he also attempted to buy a mare for Mrs. Phipps. Hancock eventually purchased Miss Disco, but wasn't able to buy the mare intended for Mrs. Phipps. Ever the gentleman, Hancock offered her Miss Disco, and she accepted. Two years after Independence was born, Miss Disco foaled Bold Ruler at Claiborne. Bold Ruler turned out to be Hall of Fame material and later stood at Claiborne, where he sired 82 stakes winners.

Nasrullah's success in North America was a determining factor in the importation of other stallions tracing to Nearco in male line. One of the more famous of the established imports was Nearco's son Royal Charger, a close relative of Nasrullah. Royal Charger arrived from Ireland to begin standing at Spendthrift in 1954. He sired a career total of 58 stakes winners from 369 foals (16%).

Nasrullah stood at Claiborne until his death at age 19 on May 26, 1959. He had covered 36 of the 37 mares booked to him. Nasrullah earned his third leading sire title in 1959 and would earn additional titles in 1960 and 1962. His 98 added-money winners from 425 foals worked out to 23%, a mark later matched by Bold Ruler.