Turf Hallmarks


 Genetic Markers




 Search our site

 E-mail us


Portraits Index

Other Images

  English Foundation Mares

  Half-Bred Foundation Mares

  Foundation Sires

  Horses That Jump

  Or Use our Search Engine



Bay colt, 1850.
By Boston - Alice Carneal by Sarpedon
Byerley Turk Sire Line

Family #12 - b.

Boston His sire, Boston

The birthplace of Lexington lies within the current city limits of his namesake town Lexington, Kentucky. The great runner and sire was bred by Dr. Elisha Warfield, one of the most important early figures in Kentucky racing and breeding, and one of the founders of the Kentucky Association Race Track, adjacent to Warfield's farm, The Meadows.

The Association track is long gone, and its historic gates now grace the entrance to the Keeneland Racecourse on the other side of town, but vestiges of The Meadows still remain just a few blocks north and east of modern downtown Lexington. Stone pillars mark the south and west entrances to what is now an older residential neighborhood with streets named Meadows Lane, Warfield Place, Carneal Place, and Darley Drive. Darley was the name Warfield had given to the bay colt by Boston out of his top racemare Alice Carneal, foaled on March 17, 1850, since the flashy bay reminded him of a portrait of the Darley Arabian, also a bay with a blaze.

Although he raced in the colors of Dr. Warfield, who had been in the process of retiring from the turf, he was leased to trainer, Henry Brown. Darley made his first start in the spring of his three-year-old year, in the Association Stakes contested over mile heats at the Association track on May 23, 1853. The field was on edge, possibly due to the muddy conditions, and the Boston colt found himself part of the group that bolted before the start. Despite having run over 2 miles before the official break, in the race itself, Darley led from flagfall to finish, as he did in the second heat, thus leaving a remarkable first impression.

Alice Carneal
His dam, Alice Carneal
This performance did not go unnoticed by Richard Ten Broeck, who made an agreement on behalf of a syndicate to purchase the colt prior to the Citizens' Stakes run just a few days later over two mile heats. Darley lost the first heat to another Boston offspring, the filly Midway, then won the next two for the victory, at which time, his undoubtedly disappointed trainer learned of the sale and turned the colt over to Ten Broeck. His new ownership consisted of the leading Kentucky breeders General Abe Buford, Captain Willa Viley, and Junius R. Ward. Captain Viley took over the position of managing the Boston colt, who was sent to Broeck's trainer, John Pryor.

Renamed Lexington, the colt's schedule was interrupted after he broke into a store of corn and had to undergo emergency treatment, which at that time meant being "bled." The incident set his training back seriously enough to warrant concern that he was fit for a match with the filly Sallie Waters (by Glencoe) over three mile heats on December 2. He dashed those worries by taking the first two heats, distancing the filly in the second and leaving no questions about his ability.

Lexington spent the next four months prepping for the Great State Post Stakes on April 1, 1854 to be contested over four mile heats at Ten Broeck's track, Metairie near New Orleans, Louisiana. Here he met his most serious challenger, another colt by Boston named LeComte. Lexington again led from start to finish in the first heat, with LeComte second. Sitting behind the pace in the second heat, Lexington rallied in the final mile and was drawing away from LeComte at the finish.

There then came a disagreement about the colt's racing futures, which resulted in Ten Broeck buying out the interests of the other syndicate members for $5,000. Lexington was back in action a week later in the Jockey Club Purse over four mile heats. LeComte defeated him soundly in the first heat, setting a new world record for the distance of 7:26. LeComte came back and won the second heat with equal authority.

Lexington did not race again that year due to several unfortunate circumstances. Shipped to the Union Course on Long Island, New York as the charge of William Stuart, Stuart contracted cholera and died. Shipped to Holmdel New Jersey as a charge of Charles Lloyd, he was prepping for the Astor House Stakes when his bridle broke, he ran off and injured his legs. He then went back to Pryor at Natchez.

Returning to the course on April 2, 1855, Lexingtonís rival was not a horse, but the clock, as he raced to beat LeComte's 4 mile record. Given pacesetters, Lexington ran them all into the ground, and the record as well, besting it with a time of 7:19, despite losing a shoe.

Finally, the great rematch between Lexington and LeComte materialized at Metairie on April 14. In the first heat, Lexington led throughout and won decisively, although it was known that LeComte was recovering from a bout of colic and was not up to the contest. LeComte forfeited the next heat, and Lexington was crowned the champion.

This final triumph ended the great champion's racing career, with six wins in seven events and earnings of $56,600, the third greatest money-earner up to that time. He was rapidly going blind, as had his sire had before him, and there was nothing left for him to prove on the track.

Richard Ten Broeck arranged for Lexington to enter stud at John Harper's Nantura Stud near Midway, Kentucky and the horse stood there for two years until purchased by a neighbor, Robert A. Alexander, of Woodburn Farm, just up the Old Frankfort Pike. Alexander bought Lexington from Ten Broeck for $15,000, which paid off almost immediately. Lexington became the Leading Sire in America 16 times, from 1861 through 1874, and then again in 1876 and 1878.

War Dance
War Dance, out of famous matron Reel
Duke of Magenta
Duke of Magenta
Lexington's first crops included the champion IDLEWILD, besides WAR DANCE, UNCLE VIC, JACK MALONE and COLTON, but the American Civil War (1861-1865) impeded on Lexington's stud career in several ways. Many of his best offspring were used as cavalry mounts and died in various military actions. Woodburn Farm itself, owned by a Scottish national, managed to avoid being raided until late 1864, when Alexander's prize colt, ASTEROID (by Lexington) was stolen by Confederate raiders, but recognized, purchased from his rider, and returned by a neighbor when he saw the contingent pass.

In February of 1865, soldiers made off with 15 head, including two of Alexander's best trotting sires, Bay Chief and Abdallah, and a younger brother to Asteroid named NORWICH. This last raid prompted Alexander to ship his breeding stock, including the stallions Lexington and Australian, from Woodburn to safe harbor in Illinois, where they stayed for the remaining few months of the war, which ended in April of 1865.

Lexington's best crop was the one that included ASTEROID, foaled in 1861. Others in that group included the great colts KENTUCKY and NORFOLK, all with solid qualifications as champions of their age. Other champions sired by Lexington included GENERAL DUKE, VAUXHALL, HARRY BASSETT. TOM BOWLING, ACROBAT, SULTANA, DUKE OF MAGENTA, PREAKNESS, TOM OCHILTREE, and CHESAPEAKE, all names which define the era of the last half of the nineteenth century of racing in America.

Unfortunately, while many of Lexington's sons were successful at stud, none could approach their sire's status as stallion. LEVER, VAUXHALL, PAT MALLOY, DUKE OF MAGENTA, UNCAS, WAR DANCE, KENTUCKY and KINGFISHER all sired champions or classic winners. GILROY and COLTON were useful, but the most influential of all was NORFOLK, who stood in California and sired the brothers El Rio Rey and Emperor of Norfolk. On the other hand, Lexington's daughters were prolific and crossed exceptionally well with the other bloodlines of the day, producing the likes of Salvator, Spendthrift, Ten Broeck, Hindoo, Aristides, Luke Blackburn, Los Angeles, Sensation, Olitipa, Parole, Wanda and many others.

Lexington was a horse of tremendous quality, extremely well made with beautiful action to accompany. He was medium-sized, 15.3 hands, and his shoulder and hindquarter were extremely powerful. He was a bright bay with a narrow blaze beginning half way down his face and ending in a snip. He also had four white feet, up to the pasterns in front and over the ankles behind. With all this white, he showed a lot of white around his eyes, a trait often associated with high-mettled types. His temperament went beyond that, however, and bordered on the foul temper of his sire, Boston. (Descriptions of loading him, literally kicking and screaming, onto the train to Illinois in 1865 are colorful to say the least.)

Lexington died on July 1, 1875 at the age of 25 from a "nasal catarrh." He was buried outside his stall at Woodburn, and his skeleton was later exhumed and articulated for public display at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. where it remains today in the Hall of Mammals.

--Anne Peters

LEXINGTON, bay colt, 1850 - Family # 12 - b
ch. 1833
ch. 1814
Sir Archy
b. 1805
Saltram Mare
ch. 17--
Wildair Mare
Sister To Tuckahoe
ch. 1814
Florizel (Ball's)
ch. 1802
Shark Mare
Alderman Mare
b. 1799
Clockfast Mare
Alice Carneal
b. 1836
br. 1828
b. 1820
The Flyer
ch. 1826
ch. 1818
Sir Archy
Robin Redbreast Mare
Lady Grey
b. 1817
Robin Grey

Home   Historic Sires   Historic Dams   Portraits   Turf Hallmarks   Breeders   Genetics   Resources   Contributors   Search   Store   E-mail

©1997 - 2005 Thoroughbred Heritage. All rights reserved.