Unofficial Thoroughbred Hall of Fame

Round Table

1958 Horse of the Year

The little bay Princequillo, by Prince Rose out of Cosquilla by Papyrus, was foaled in 1940. His rags to riches career is not as celebrated as that of Stymie or Seabiscuit, but he did rise from the claiming ranks to become one of the best stayers of his day, winning the Jockey Club Gold Cup and handing defeat to the likes of Shut Out and Bolingbroke in the Saratoga Handicap. In a thirty-three race career, Princequillo visited the winners circle twelve times and earned $ 96,550. Standing at Claiborne Farm, he sired 1950 Horse of the Year Hill Prince, the outstanding broodmare Somethingroyal, the champion two-year-old filly Quill, the champion three-year-old filly Misty Morn, and handicap division champion Dedicate. Princequillo was the leading sire of 1957, and as a broodmare sire he reigned supreme from 1966 through 1972.

*Knight's Daughter was the first of two mares to foal at Claiborne Farm on the night of April 6, 1954, when she produced a bay son of Princequillo. The second mare was Miss Disco, who foaled a colt by *Nasrullah. These two colts both went on to be champions on the racetrack, earning more than two and a half million dollars between them.

The son of *Knight's Daughter raced in the colors of Claiborne Farm as a juvenile, winning the Breeders' Futurity and the Lafayette Stakes, and earning $73,326 under the management of trainer Moody Jolley. Bull Hancock turned down Travis Kerr's offer for the colt, and continued to race him at three. After a tenth place finish behind Gallant Man in the Hibiscus Stakes, the Oklahoman raised his offer, and on February 9, 1957, he obtained eighty percent of the Princequillo colt for $145,000.

Having finished sixth behind Iron Liege and Gen. Duke n his last start for Claiborne, Round Table, now trained by William Molter, won his first start for Kerr by six lengths. He then headed to California, where he ran third in the Santa Anita Derby, beaten only a head by winner Sir William and a nose by runner up Swirling Abbey. Although unplaced in the San Bernardino Stakes, Round Table was improving.

He won the Bay Meadows Derby from Swirling Abbey by four and a half lengths. The authoritative win was enough to warrant a trip to Churchill Downs. He made a stopover at Keeneland, beating One-Eyed King by six lengths in the Blue Grass Stakes.

The field assembled for the 1957 Kentucky Derby was one of history's finest, despite the absence of Calumet Farm's brilliant Gen. Duke. Substituting for The Horse Time Has Forgotten in the red and blue silks was Iron Liege. Also present were Flamingo Stakes and Wood Memorial winner Bold Ruler, the colt foaled a half hour after Round Table at Claiborne, and the talented runners Gallant Man and Federal Hill.

Bold Ruler was the betting favorite, with Round Table, coming off an easy victory in the Blue Grass Stakes, the second choice. Gallant Man was a close third in the betting. Federal Hill proved the early speed in the race, leading to the top of the stretch, then giving way to Iron Liege. Gallant Man caught the Calumet entry, but in one of the most famous blunders in sports history, rider Bill Shoemaker misjudged the finish, throwing his mount off stride just enough to be nosed out. Round Table, in the meantime, had closed bravely, beating Bold Ruler to finish third.

While Bold Ruler remained on the East Coast, winning the Preakness Stakes and eventually earning the three-year-old championship, as well as Horse of the Year honors, Round Table headed west. After a loss in the California Stakes, he racked up a series of eleven triumphs before losing the Trenton Handicap to Bold Ruler. Said J.A. Estes in 1957's edition of American Race Horses:

"There was to be a singular uniformity about these races, as if the colt could be wound up like a toy to go through the same routine whenever his trainer pleased. He was always either in front or close behind the leaders in the early running. Usually he was being eased before the finish was reached, usually carrying top weight, and always, when there was betting, he was the favorite."

Five days after running second to Social Climber in the Californian Stakes, Round Table won the Will Rogers Stakes by three and a half lengths. He then coasted home seven lengths the better of Joe Price in the El Dorado Handicap while giving him eleven pounds.

Next came victory in the Cinema Handicap under 130 pounds, and, for the first time, rider Bill Shoemaker. Round Table won by four lengths.

In the Hollywood Gold Cup Round Table faced a high class field. Porterhouse had been a champion at two, and had handed defeat to Swaps in the Californian Stakes two years before. With the services of rider Johnny Longden, he was the horse to beat. Also present was Find, one of the toughest campaigners of his day. Round Table ran away from both, beating Porterhouse by three and a quarter lengths. His time of 1:58 3/5 matched the track record set by Swaps. No three-year-old had ever gone faster.

After a two length score in the Westerner Stakes under 129 pounds, Round Table tried the turf for the first time at Washington Park. No bets were taken as he cantered to a length and a quarter score. Eleven days later he met Kentucky Derby winner Iron Liege and six others in the American Derby. Again, it was Round Table in front, this time by four lengths.

After stumbling at the start, Round Table proved he had heart in winning the United Nations Handicap by a nose from Tudor Era. Next came a seven length allowance victory, followed by a three length score over Swoon's Son and Find in the Hawthorne Gold Cup. His eleventh straight win came in an allowance race at Garden State. He cantered home the eight length winner despite a sloppy track.

After running third behind Bold Ruler and Gallant Man in the Trenton Handicap, Round Table returned to the west coast and rested. On December 28 he won the Malibu Sequet Stakes, rounding out his official three-year-old season.

Round Table's performance on the turf that season was honored with the title of Champion Grass Horse. Having earned $600,383, $185,223 more than Horse of the Year Bold Ruler, Round Table was also the leading money earner of 1957. Owner Travis Kerr set his sights on Nashua's career earnings record, and campaigned his colt with that goal in mind the following season.

After the Malibu Sequet, Round Table scored easy wins in the San Fernando Handicap under 130 pounds, the Santa Anita Maturity by four and a half lengths, and the San Antonio Handicap under 130 pounds.

In the Santa Anita Handicap he again carried 130 pounds, beating Terrang and Porterhouse by two and a half lengths and setting a new track record of 1:59 4/5 for the mile and a quarter. He scored in an allowance race, then took the Gulfstream Park Handicap by four lengths, again covering a mile and a quarter in 1:59 4/5. It was a new record at Gulfstream as well.

The four-year-old Round Table became a millionaire with his nine and a quarter length victory in the Caliente Handicap, his seventh straight win that season.

Returning to California, he ran second in the Californian Stakes for the second year in a row. This time the winner was Seaneen, to whom he was conceding twenty one pounds after beating him on two prior occasions.

Carrying 132 pounds, Round Table came from behind in the Argonaut Handicap just in time to nip How Now at the wire. Seaneen was third.

After two easy scored on the turf at Washington Park, Round Table tired under 130 pounds and was caught at the wire by the lightly weighted Bernburgoo in the Warren Wright Memorial Handicap.

He successfully gave twenty pounds to the talented Clem in the Laurance Armour Handicap. He did it again in the Arlington Handicap, beating the champion St. Vincent as well, but Clem turned the tables on him the next time they met, beating the son of Princequillo in the Washington Park Handicap while getting twenty one pounds.

Between his meetings with Clem, Round Table ran fifth in the Equipoise Mile. Caught in traffic, he ran out of ground once clear. Swoon's Son beat Bardstown by a half length in the race.

Clem became quite a thorn in Round Table's side, beating him in both the United Nations Handicap and the Woodward Stakes before the season was over.

Nashua's financial record fell to the bay son of Princequillo when he ended the season with a triumph in the Hawthorne Gold Cup. His earnings that season had reached $662,780, for a career total of $1,336,489, and Round Table was the leading money winner of the season. He also was named Horse of the Year, Champion Handicap Horse, and Champion Grass Horse.

In his final season, Round Table won nine of his fourteen starts, despite suffering from a quarter crack, and earned $413,380.

After getting beaten by a head by the talented Hillsdale while giving him seventeen pounds in his season debut, Round Table won the San Marcos handicap by five lengths. His time of 1:58 2/5 was a record on the turf. He also won the Citation Handicap, an Exhibition race at Washington Park, the Stars and Stripes Handicap in course record time, the Arlington Park Handicap in American record time, the Washington Park Handicap in track record time, the United Nations Handicap, and the Manhattan Handicap from Bald Eagle.

For the third consecutive time, he was named Champion Grass Horse, and he also shared handicap division honors with Horse of the Year Sword Dancer, who beat him in the Jockey Club Gold Cup in his final race. He had won forty three races in sixty six career starts, with earnings totaling $1,749,869. He also held the American record for a mile and three sixteenths on the grass (1:53 2/5) as well as a mile and a quarter on the grass (1:58 2/5).

Standing stud at Claiborne Farm, since Bull Hancock still retained twenty percent of the horse's breeding rights, Round Table sired eighty three stakes winners, including the classic-placed Advocator, Bowling Green Handicap winner Poker, the broodmare sire of Seattle Slew, and the additional stakes winners King's Bishop, Knightly Manner, Royal Glint, King Pellinore, and Apalachee. He led the sire's list in 1972, when his son Upper Case carried the Meadow silks to victory in the Florida Derby and Wood Memorial. His daughters produced 124 stakes winners.

Round Table at Claiborne

Round Table became a member of the Hall of Fame in 1972, and he entertained Queen Elizabeth II on her visit to the United States in 1984. The great horse passed away on June 13, 1987. He was thirty-three.

Round Table was seventeenth on the end of the century poll in Blood-Horse.

Round Table's Race Record

Year Starts Wins Seconds Thirds Earnings
Lifetime 66 43 8 5 $1,749,869

Round Table, 1954 bay colt

Princequillo Prince Rose Rose Prince Prince Palatine
Indolence Gay Crusader
Cosquilla Papyrus Tracery
Miss Matty
Quick Thought White Eagle
Knight's Daughter Sir Cosmo The Boss Orby
Southern Cross II
Ayn Hali Desmond
Lalla Rookh
Feola Friar Marcus Cicero
Prim Nun
Aloe Son-in-Law

For more information read Round Table by John McEvoy.


Recommended titles include: Champions from the Daily Racing Form, Thoroughbred Champions: Top 100 of the 20th Century from Blood-Horse, and Man O' War: Thoroughbred Legends #1 by Edward L. Bowen, as well as Seabiscuit on DVD .
Seabiscuit DVD

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