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Kentucky Derby Winners of French Sire Teddy Plus Plucky Liege and Their Sons

Updated on October 14, 2011
A bay horse may be dark bay, or brown, with black points -- mane, tail, and lower legs.
A bay horse may be dark bay, or brown, with black points -- mane, tail, and lower legs. | Source

From 1930, beginning with American Triple Crown winner Gallant Fox, to 1976's Bold Forbes, the direct bloodlines of French import stallion Teddy and his steady date Plucky Liege produced 11 Kentucky Derby champions through their son Sir Gallahad III, and they were progenitors of five other Kentucky Derby victors through another son, Bull Dog.

The whole family came together to produce 1957 roses winner Iron Liege. His sires were Bull Lea, by Bull Dog, by Teddy, and his dam Iron Maiden was sired by War Admiral, whose partner Betty Derr was sired by Sir Gallahad III.

Teddy, foaled in 1913, was a bay son of the undefeated Ajax. His dam was Rondeau, by Bay Ronald. Frenchman M. Edmund Blanc overseered Teddy's foaling. Eventually, Teddy raced for the stable of Jefferson Davis Cohn, who sold him to American owners.

A New Jersey horseman, F. Wallis Armstrong, who owned Meadowview Farms, and a Virginian, Kenneth Gilpin of Kentmere Farm, purchased Teddy in 1931.

Held the first Saturday in May, the Kentucky Derby is referred to as the Run for the Roses.
Held the first Saturday in May, the Kentucky Derby is referred to as the Run for the Roses. | Source

Gallant Fox, America's second Triple Crown winner before the three-race series of the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes took on that moniker, galloped to victory in the 1930 Kentucky Derby. He was a bay colt sired by Sir Gallahad III (by Teddy--Plucky Liege) and Marguerite (by Celt--Fairy Ray).

Following Gallant Fox to the Kentucky Derby winner's circle from the grand- and great grand-parentage of Teddy and Plucky Liege were:

  • 1935 -- Omaha, by sire Gallant Fox, by Sir Gallahad III (Marguerite)
  • 1938 -- Lawrin, by sire Insco, by Sir Gallahad III (Star Flight)
  • 1939 -- Johnstown, by dam La France, by Sir Gallahad III (Flambette)
  • 1940 -- Gallahadion, by sire Sir Gallahad III (Countless Time)
  • 1945 -- Hoop Jr., by sire Sir Gallahad III (One Hour)
  • 1947 -- Jet Pilot, by dam Black Wave, by Sir Gallahad III (Black Curl)

A full field of Thoroughbreds bend around the turn.
A full field of Thoroughbreds bend around the turn. | Source

Sir Gallahad III Fades: Enter Bull Dog

By the time Citation came along to win the recognized Triple Crown races in 1948, Teddy and Plucky Liege's son Bull Dog was replacing his brother Sir Gallahad III as the pair's best productive progeny. In the meantime, Teddy had already been referred to as "the greatest proven sire ever imported to the United States" as quoted in The Thoroughbred Record on July 18, 1936, according to a report in the July 16, 2011 Thoroughbred Times magazine.

Sir Gallahad III and Erne great-grandsired 1949 Kentucky Derby victor Ponder. In 1948, Bull Dog son Bull Lea, having paired with Hydroplane II, was sire to America's eighth Triple Crown titleist, Citation.

Kentucky Derby champions of the 1950s who also shared influence from Teddy's stud career included:

  • 1952 -- Hill Gail, by sire Bull Lea (Jane Gail), by Bull Dog (Rose Leaves)
  • 1953 -- Dark Star, by dam Isolde, by Bull Dog (Fiji)
  • 1957 -- Iron Liege, by Bull Lea (Iron Maiden, by 1937 Triple Crown champion War Admiral and Betty Derr, by Sir Gallahad III and Uncle's Lassie)
  • 1958 -- Tim Tam, by sire Tom Fool, by Menow (Gaga, by Bull Dog and Alpoise), and by dam Two Lea, by Bull Lea (Two Bob)

Dark Star was the dark horse who defeated Native Dancer by a head in the Run for the Roses. It was Native Dancer's only career loss and cost him a Triple Crown title as he went on to soar in the Preakness and the Belmont.

In 1960, Bull Dog showed up as a paternal great-grandsire to Kentucky Derby winner Venetian Way.

Bull Lea was a maternal great-grandparent to 1965 Derby champion Lucky Debonair; a paternal great-grandsire to 1968 roses winner Forward Pass (who took that title when winner Dancer's Image was disqualified); and a maternal great-grandsire to Bold Forbes, the 1976 Kentucky Derby victor.

Teddy Cops Leading Sire Titles

Teddy led American breeding sires in stakes winners as well as French and English sires during his stud career. His five American crops totaled 96 foals, 86 starters, 69 winners, 13 stakes winners, and eight stakes-placed starters.

Teddy American-breds Case Ace and Teddy's Comet won the Arlington Futurity, a major stakes race, in 1936 and 1937, respectively, while Knickerbocker captured the Metropolitan Handicap in 1939. Sons Invoke and Sun Teddy also scored in important stakes contests.

Daughters of Teddy produced 62 stakes winners. La Troienne, a legend in the history of Thoroughbred dams, parent to champions Black Helen and Bimelech, also birthed five Teddy-influenced foals.

The Teddy--Plucky Liege influence began to give way to more progeny of Native Dancer and Bold Ruler throughout the 1960s and 1970s; however, their French connection stands out in Thoroughbred breeding history as one of the strongest of bloodlines.

In 1936, at the age of 23, Teddy died of twisted intestines at Kentmere Farm.


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    • Barbsbitsnpieces profile imageAUTHOR

      Barbara Anne Helberg 

      7 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA

      Thanks for sharing your interest, Leighsue! I, too, have always loved the racehorses, creatures of extraordinary strength and courage who run on four delicate and athletic legs of bone and balance. Secretariat was awesome!

    • Leighsue profile image


      7 years ago

      I absolutely love watching horse racing and learning about the horses. I thoughly enjoyed the movie about secretariat.


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