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



Dark bay colt, 1927.
By Blandford - Malva by Charles O' Malley.

Darley Arabian Sire line:
Birdcatcher Branch.
Family 1-e.

Blandford His sire, Blandford

*Blenheim II was one of the most significant sires imported into America in the 1930s and the first of three Derby winners sold by the Aga Khan to America. A proven sire in Europe, he is one of the few stallions to have offspring win both the English Derby (*Mahmoud) and Kentucky Derby (Whirlaway and Jet Pilot).

Bred in Great Britain by Lord Carnavon at Highclere Stud, *Blenheim II was the third foal of his dam, Malva, whose later foals included the good sires King Salmon (1930 by Salmon-Trout), and His Grace (1933 by Blandford). The Blandford colt was purchased as a yearling for 4,100 guineas (the equivalent of $20,500) by the Aga Khan and named Blenheim.

Blenheim in Racing Trim
Blenheim II in Racing Trim
He was a top flight racehorse, showing more speed at two than one would expect considering his stout pedigree. *Blenheim II won the New Stakes, Hopeful Stakes, Manton Plate, and Speedy Plate all at five furlongs, and was second in the prestigious Champagne Stakes and Middle Park Stakes. At three, he only made three starts, being unplaced in the Greenham Stakes, fourth in the 2,000 Guineas to Diolite, but then won the Derby Stakes in a great performance, defeating Iliad and Diolite. That was his last start, and he was retired to stud shortly thereafter, with five wins and three seconds from 10 starts.

His Derby win was the first of three for his owner, the other two being back-to-back wins by homebreds *Mahmoud (by *Blenheim II) in 1935 and *Bahram (also by Blandford) in 1936. After standing both horses at stud for a few years, the Aga Khan outraged English breeders by selling all three Derby winners to America early in their stud careers.

*Blenheim II entered stud at the Aga Khan's Haras Marly La Ville in France in 1931 where he was an immediate success. His French-sired crops included Derby winner *Mahmoud, Italian champion Donatello II, French 2,000 Guineas winner Drap d'Or, French 1,000 Guineas winner Blue Bear as well as stakes winners Pampeiro, Mirza, Acquaforte, Khan Bahadur, La Li, Le Grand Duc, Stratosphere, Vermeil II, and Wyndham.

Blenheim in America

In 1936, he was sold for $225,000 to an American syndicate consisting of Warren Wright (Calumet Farm), Arthur B. Hancock (Claiborne Farm), William DuPont, Mrs. Thomas H. Somerville, J.H. Whitney (Greentree Stud), John D. Hertz (Stoner Creek Stud), and Robert A. Fairbairn (Fairholme Farm). He was imported after the 1936 breeding season to stand at Claiborne Farm, Paris, Kentucky alongside the current leading sire *Sir Gallahad III.

Donatello II
Donatello II
From *Blenheim II's first American crop came the great American Triple Crown winner Whirlaway, whose exploits at three made *Blenheim II the Leading Sire in America for 1941. *Blenheim II sired a total of 536 foals, 61 stakes winners in Europe and North America. After Whirlaway, who was the champion every year he raced, his other good North American winners included champion handicap mare Mark-Kell, her full sister Kentucky Oaks winner Nellie L. (both out of Nellie Flag), Kentucky Derby winner Jet Pilot, American Derby winner Fervent, Blue Grass Stakes winner Ocean Wave and his brother Free America, top handicapper Thumbs Up, handicap mare A Gleam, Bryan G., Proud One, Saratoga, Battle Morn, Miss Keeneland, and numerous others. His offspring tended to improve from two to three and were superior middle distance runners and handicappers.

While Whirlaway, a smallish, ultra-refined horse, was a great disappointment for Calumet Farm as a sire and was later sold to Marcel Boussac of France. His American foals included the C.C.A. Oaks winner Scattered, and daughter Rock Drill, dam of champion Lady Pitt. The great gelding Forego's third dam was Whirling Girl, another Whirlaway daughter.

On the other hand, *Mahmoud became a huge success, and became the Leading Sire in America in 1946 from his base at C. V. Whitney's Farm in Kentucky. Donatello II was a top sire in England, his best being the great stayer Crepello and Alycidon. Jet Pilot was a useful sire, his best were Jet Action and Rose Jet, and his line survived through Jet Jewel, sire of Jewel's Reward. Free America was not a great stallion, but still appears in pedigrees through his son, Correlation (in Fappiano and Ogygian), and daughter Prides Profile (in Carson City). Another son, Bryan G., sired the champion filly Cicada. Wyndham sired the champion and sire *Windy City II. Battle Morn became a leading sire in Puerto Rico and Alate was an influence among Quarter Horses.

*Blenheim II's best daughter was *Mahmoud's "aunt" Mumtaz Begum (out of Mumtaz Mahal), who became the dam of the even more influential sire *Nasrullah, who also was imported to stand at Claiborne Farm, and his stakes winning sisters Malindi and Rivaz. Mumtaz Begum's daughter, Sun Princess produced the good runner and sire *Royal Charger (sire of *Turn-to, Francis S., Royal Serenade, etc.), the sires Madara, Flaneur II, and Lucky Bag, as well as the important broodmare Tessa Gillian.

Easy Lass
Broodmare of the Year Easy Lass
Other important daughters of *Blenheim II were Easy Lass (Broodmare of the Year and dam of champions Coaltown and Wistful), Miss Rushin (dam of Kentucky Derby winner Pensive), Sweep In (dam of Kentucky Derby/Preakness winner Kauai King), Jane Gail (dam of Kentucky Derby winner Hill Gail), A Gleam (dam of A Glitter), Mar-Kell (dam of Mark-Ye-Well), Blue Bear (dam of Arc winner Le Paillon), Acquaforte (dam of Antonio Canale), Nellie L. (second dam of Bold Forbes), and Bouillabaisse (third dam of Foolish Pleasure)

*Blenheim II was a handsome, elegant individual but he was not a large horse, standing only 15.3 hands at maturity. He was rather longer than tall, with slightly upright pasterns and a little light of bone. His hindquarter, with a sloping croup and long hip, going into an excellent hind leg, were good for both speed and staying. In fact, that hindquarter, inherited to a large degree by his grandson *Nasrullah, has become a trademark of that male line, especially through Bold Ruler and Secretariat. He tended to be rather high strung and passed on that same temperament.

A dark bay horse with a large star and his left hind ankle white, his best runners came in all colors, but most showed much of his quality and staying ability. *Mahmoud was a medium-sized grey with so much refinement he resembled an Arabian. Whirlaway was a small, beautifully made chestnut. Donatello II was a big, lengthy chestnut.

*Blenheim II was fertile well up into his later years. He died in 1958 at the age of 31 and is buried in the Claiborne Farm stallion cemetery.

--by Anne Peters

*BLENHEIM II, Dk b.c.  1927 - Family # 1 - e.
br. 1919
br. 1907
John O'Gaunt
b. 1901
La Fleche
Canterbury Pilgrim
ch. 1893
b. 1912
White Eagle
ch. 1905
Merry Gal
Black Cherry
br. 1892
Black Duchess
b. 1919
Charles O'Malley
br. 1907
blk. 1896
St. Simon
L'Abbesse de Jouarre
Goody Two Shoes
b. 1899
Wild Arum
b. 1911
Robert le Diable
b. 1899
Rose Bay
b. 1902

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

©1997 - 2005 Thoroughbred Heritage. All rights reserved.