Round Table: 1958 Horse of the Year

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 Equipose 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 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