Maude Adams, born Maude Kiskadden in Salt Lake City, was a leading American actress at the turn of the century. Her best known performance came with the title role in Sir James Matthew Barrie's Peter Pan, a production which ran from 1905 through 1907. The play lent its name to a bay son of two time Horse of the Year Commando foaled in 1904.
Bred and owned by leading money-winning owner James R. Keene, Peter Pan was out of Cinderella, whose sire Hermit had won the Epsom Derby at odds of one hundred to one. He was also the broodmare sire of Beldame, Star Shoot, McGee, Seabreeze, and Don Enrique.
Peter Pan began his career in June of 1906, breaking his maiden at first asking with a score at Sheepshead Bay. He wasted no time in becoming a stakes winner, taking the Surf Stakes only three days later. Unsuccessful in both the Double Event and the Brighton Junior Stakes, Peter Pan returned to the winner's circle after Saratoga's Flash Stakes, which he won by a head. Although he failed to catch divisional champion Salvidere in the Saratoga Special, Peter Pan came back to turn in his finest performance as a juvenile. Shouldering 130 pounds, Peter Pan scored a two length victory in the Hopeful Stakes. Peter Pan disappointed in his last start at two, however, running fifth in the Futurity.
As a three-year-old, Peter Pan returned to the races with a pair of place finishes in the Withers Stakes and the Carlton Stakes. His win in the Belmont Stakes, however, stamped his name in the history books.
He next reeled off three more victories, in the Standard Stakes, the Brooklyn Derby, and the Tidal Stakes, before meeting defeat in the Coney Island Jockey Club Stakes, anchored in the mud by a 129 pound burden. He then met Salvidere, his superior the previous year, in the Advance Stakes, and beat the juvenile champion by three lengths.
Giving weight to such top horses as Dandelion, Peter Pan turned in his finest performance in the Brighton Handicap. Favored for the race, he was bumped badly and was near last in the first turn. Coming for home, Peter Pan dug in, closing with a powerful and determined stretch drive and claiming the $25,000 purse by a nose. After bowing a tendon, Peter Pan was retired as the Champion Three Year Old Colt of 1907, while his stablemate Colin, one year his junior, claimed Horse of the Year honors. Said regular rider Joe Notter:
"Peter Pan was one of the best horses I ever rode. There was nothing horses are asked to do that Peter Pan couldn't do."
Standing at Castleton Stud, Peter Pan led the juvenile sires' list in 1920, when his two-year-old progeny earned $92,965 and included both the champion colt, Tryster, and the champion filly, Prudery. His offspring also included Black Toney, Colonel E.R. Bradley's top stallion and the sire of the Kentucky Derby winners Black Gold and Broker's Tip, as well as the champions Bimelech and Black Helen; Pennant, winner of the Futurity and the sire of Equipoise, Jolly Roger, and Maud Muller; and the additional stakes winners Vexatious, Arcady, Brainstorm, Exodus, and Vermajo. Peter Pan died in 1933. He became a Hall of Fame member in 1956.
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