Looking Back

This month in mid-atlantic thoroughbred history! For Looking Back archives click here.

Stuart S. Janney Jr.’s Promise was named Maryland-bred Horse of the Year after winning five of eight starts in 1969, including the Carter and Equipoise Mile Handicaps. Trained his 4-year-old season by Frank Y. Whiteley Jr., the son of The Irishman was the second foal out of Vowed, a Dedicate mare bred by Janney’s mother-in-law Mrs. Henry Carnegie Phipps. 

Promise was retired to Glade Valley Farm near Frederick, Md., to stand his first year at stud.

Promise’s stud career was shortlived due to fertility issues. In his second season he got one mare in foal and was put back in training. He never raced again, was gelded and became a hunter. Eleven of his dozen foals started, eight won.

  • Wilhelmina Trueman, soon to turn 77, was likely the oldest woman trainer in the country. “There may be some older,” she said, “but where they are, I don’t know.”

    Trueman had been working with horses for 57 years, 50 as assistant for her husband Elmer until his death seven years earlier. Looking back on her career, Trueman fondly recalled the filly Toddle On, the 1937 Maryland Futurity winner she bred, owned and raised and was trained by Elmer. 

    Based at Bowie with a five-horse stable, Trueman was on hand for every Bowie meet since the track opened in 1914. “What do you think I should do,” she jokingly asked. “Stay home and crochet like an old lady?”

  • Sagamore Farm’s late Native Dancer led all sires in the nation with five offspring on the 36th annual Experimental Handicap, the evaluation of North America’s top 2-year-olds of the previous season. Bold Ruler, Jaipur and Ridan were tied for second with four each. Protanto was the highest weighted from Native Dancer’s next-to-last crop, at 120 pounds, eight pounds less than 2-year-old champion Silent Screen.

    Ten other Maryland stallions were represented, with Nearctic, Rambunctious and Sunrise Flight next with two runners each. Virginia-bred Hagley was the topweight from the region, at 119; highest weighted Maryland-bred was Rambunctious’ son Rollicking (at 116). 

  • Northern Dancer’s son Nijinsky II was the topweighted 2-year-old on the English Free Handicap, assigned 133 pounds after winning his only start in England; he was expected to top the Irish Free Handicap as well after winning all four starts. 

    David McCall, manager of owner Charles W. Engelhard’s European racing stable, had high hopes for Nijinsky II’s success in the English classic Two Thousand Guineas, but questioned the colt’s ability to get the 11⁄2 miles of the Epsom Derby. 

    With two crops to race, Northern Dancer was the sire of eight stakes winners in 1969, including top Canadian 2-year-old filly Fanfreluche. He was standing the 1970 season at his breeder/owner E.P. Taylor’s Windfields Farm in Chesapeake City, Md.

    Nijinsky II became one of racing’s immortals. He is the last horse to win the English Triple Crown, taking the Guineas, Derby and the 13⁄4-mile St. Leger, added a victory in the Irish Sweeps Derby, and became a leading sire.

  • Stallions standing in Maryland increased more than 100 percent over the previous decade. The 1970 roster listed 190, compared to 92 in 1960. The most expensive were Northern Dancer and his sire Nearctic, each for $15,000. The latter, standing at Allaire duPont’s Woodstock Farm in Chesapeake City, was the state’s leading sire of stakes winners, and ranked second in the nation behind Bold Ruler.

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