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 filly, 1887.
By Bend Or - Lily Agnes by Macaroni.
Darley Arabian Sire line:
Doncaster Branch.

Family 16 - h

Bend Or Her sire, Bend Or

Ornament, a product of the Duke of Westminster's Eaton stud, was the full sister of the great English triple crown winner Ormonde (1883); another brother, Ossory (1885), would win the St. James Palace Stakes and other good races before Ornament ever got to the track; a half-sister, Farewell (1882, by Doncaster), had won the One Thousand Guineas stakes. Expectations were justifiably high when her exceptional dam, Lily Agnes, dropped her in the spring of 1887.

A lovely bay filly with a star on her forehead -- perhaps the reason for her name -- Ornament was a beautiful specimen, with strong looking shoulders and hindquarters. She looked like she could be a very decent sort of filly, and both trainer John Porter and the Duke looked forward to running her to see if she could measure up to classic standards.

To say she failed miserably would be an understatement. She raced only once, as a two-year-old, facing one other horse, and was soundly beaten. She was not given another chance. She was packed off to Eaton . However, while her family tree failed her on the racecourse, it served her well at Eaton. The Duke, though disappointed with her failed career as a runner, nevertheless was quite willing to keep such a lovely filly as a broodmare prospect. After all, he had had remarkable success with the unraced Rouge Rose in begetting Bend Or. Later, he would get Orme from the unraced Angelica, and another Triple Crown winner in Flying Fox, from Vampire, an evil-tempered mare of mediocre racing ability. Most of these mares were already in residence at Eaton when Ornament arrived back home to begin her second career.

Star Ruby
Star Ruby in California
Ornament was bred at three, but the resulting foal died young. Her next mating, to Hampton, resulted in a colt named STAR RUBY. Star Ruby was sold to Green B. Morris, a long-time American turf owner, and sent to the U.S. to race. He proved a very useful winner, winning from six furlongs to four miles with equal ease, his most impressive race a four-mile run at the Bay District Race Track in California, where he was held back 3/8 of a mile behind the leader, and when called upon, came up to win easily. Upon his retirement, was purchased by James Ben Ali Haggin and installed at Rancho del Paso in California.

Star Ruby proved to be a successful sire, producing two classic winners: Cairngorm, a Preakness Stakes winner, and Africander, who not only won the Belmont Stakes (in 1903), but also the Suburban Handicap, the Saratoga Cup, and the Lawrence Realization Stakes. Star Ruby left a legacy for the country of his birth, too, as his son, Rubio, shipped to England as a yearling and sold there, captured the Grand National at Aintree in 1908. Rubio's brother, Sombrero (1899), stayed in the U.S., and became a stakes winner of such races as the California Derby.

Foals of Ornament
Name Sire
Star Ruby (colt, 1892) Hampton
Labrador (colt, 1893) Sheen
Brooch (filly, 1894) Blue-Green
Collar (colt, 1895) St. Simon
Splendid (filly, 1896) Sheen
Sceptre (filly, 1899) Persimmon
Crown Gem (filly, 1903) Persimmon
Naledi (colt, 1906) William the Third
Zefa (filly, 1907) Orme
Her matings with Sheen produced the colt, LABRADOR, and the filly, Splendid. Sheen was a son of Hampton, who though not as fashionable as St. Simon or Hampton himself, was nevertheless a nice stallion, and the Duke made considerable use of him with quite a bit of success. Labrador, Ornament's second foal, and first by Sheen, was a very good colt of high class, as he carried the Duke's colors to a fine third behind St. Frusquin in the Two Thousand Guineas and a courageous second to the Prince of Wales' Derby winner, Persimmon, in the St. Leger.

A liaison with Blue Green, a half brother to Orme, yielded the filly BROOCH. She has gone down in breeding history as the dam of the stallion St. Denis. St. Denis' daughter, Lady of Pedigree, became the second dam of the wonderful mare, La Troienne.

Collar was useful in South Africa
A mating with the Duke of Portland's St. Simon produced the fine colt COLLAR (Left). He was a good runner, winning the Hardwicke Stakes, but was not kept at Eaton as a stallion. He was sent to South Africa, where he had some success, and then later, found his way back to Great Britain.

Splendid's Descendants

Ornament's second foal by Sheen, SPLENDID, became an ancestress of some notable stakes winners, with notable success in America.

Splendid's granddaughter, Tuscan Red (1912, by William Rufus) was imported into the United States during the first World War. Leghorn, her 1919 filly foal by Celt, was stakes-placed. Bred to Bull Dog, Leghorn produced the stakes winner Bulwark (1933), and a filly, Tophorn (1932). Tophorn produced Athene, by Heliopolis, who captured the Selima Stakes and ran second in the Futurity Stakes in 1945, and later produced two stakes winners. Tophorn's daughter, Dinner Horn, by Pot au Feu, produced Banquet Bell, a minor stakes winner, but dam of two champions, and granddam of yet another.

Banquet Bell's daughter by Swaps, Primonetta, became the first winner and stakes winner for her sire. In three seasons, she won 17 of 25 starts, and racked up victories in such prestigious events as the Alabama Stakes, Delaware Oaks, and the Spinster Stakes. She was named champion older mare in 1962 as a four-year-old. As a broodmare at Darby Dan Farm in Lexington she produced four major stakes winners-Prince Thou Art, Maud Muller, Cum Laude Laurie, and Grenfall. She was named Kentucky Broodmare of the Year in 1978.

Primonetta's full brother, Chateaugay, won the 1963 Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes enroute to championship honors. Luiana, a half sister to Primonetta and Chateaugay, by Sea Bird II, produced Little Current, the 1974 Preakness and Belmont winner who also was named champion of his age group.

Tuscan Red in 1923 visited the court of Man o'War and the next year produced a filly named War Feathers. Useless on the racecourse but full of promise in her pedigree, as Ornament had been, she emulated her fourth dam by becoming a very fine producer. She foaled four stakes winners, including the On Watch filly War Plumage, who became champion three-year-old filly in the United States in 1939, when she captured the Coaching Club American Oaks and the Alabama Stakes.


This all might be enough to label a broodmare as a fine one, with a lasting influence. But Ornament literally dropped a titan with her next foal. Sent in 1898 to be covered by the Prince of Wales's Derby winner, Persimmon , who was standing his first season at Sandringham Stud, the next spring Ornament gave birth to a magnificent bay filly foal destined to become a legend in her own time: Sceptre.

Sceptre in Training
Sceptre in Training
The Duke, sadly, never saw Sceptre race. He caught a chill in the winter of 1899 and died. Much of his stock was sold at auction, and Sceptre passed through the auction ring as a yearling, and was purchased for the then world-record price of 10,000, by Robert Sievier. She won her first two juvenile races, the Woodcote Stakes and July Stakes at Newmarket, easily, but placed third in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster in the fall. At three, she raced in both the Two Thousand Guineas and the One Thousand Guineas, run just two days later, and she won both. She ran fourth to Ard Patrick in the Derby Stakes, but easily came back the next day to win the Oaks, and in the fall soundly defeated the colts in the St. Leger, thereby becoming the only horse in history to win four English classics.

Retired from the turf in 1904, she was sent to the stud in 1905; in her long career at stud she produced eight foals, all but one of them fillies, and except for her first foal, the filly Maid of the Mist (1906, by Cyllene) her success as a broodmare could be considered a failure. Still, such descendants as classic winners Craig an Eran and Sunny Jane, and top racehorses and decent sires Buchan and St. Germans descend from Maid of the Mist in tail-female, and Sceptre is ancestress through other daughters to such horses as Petition, Match II, Noor, and Zucchero.

Ornament's name would have been immortalized just as the dam of Sceptre and ancestress of that daughter's descendants. But as has been seen, she contributed much more to the breed. Her career after Sceptre was anti-climactic, as she never produced anything of real worth, and by the early 1900s, she was in her mid teens, and so getting on in years.

Sceptre's sister, CROWN GEM, came in 1903, and in an unusual instance of inbreeding, Ornament, the sister of Ormonde, foaled the filly ZEFA in 1907. Zefa was by Orme, the son of Ormonde. Perhaps due to the intense inbreeding, this filly never amounted to anything. She was imported to the United States as a broodmare, but she retired to the realm of oblivion.

Ornament had no more recorded foals. She died at the age of 23 in 1910. Ornament was buried in the cemetery at Eaton, and she lies in tremendous company. Also interred there are Bend Or, Lily Agnes, Shotover, and Angelica. Later, she was to be joined by Vampire and Orme. Literally, in these graves, lies the storied history of the first Duke of Westminster's Eaton Stud, and Ornament contributed some important chapters to that history.

--Elizabeth Martiniak

ORNAMENT, Bay filly, 1887 - Family # 16-h
Bend Or
ch. 1877
ch. 1870
ch. 1849
The Baron
ch. 1860
Mare by Ratan
Rouge Rose
ch. 1865
ch. 1857
Alice Hawthorn
Ellen Horne
br. 1844
Lily Agnes
b. 1871
b. 1860
dk.b./br. 1842
b. 1843
Polly Agnes
br. 1865
The Cure
b. 1841
Miss Agnes

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

©1997 - 2005 Thoroughbred Heritage. All rights reserved.