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  Rayon d'Or

Rayon d' Or  
Chestnut colt, 1876 - 1896
By Flageolet - Araucaria by Ambrose
Darley Arabian sire line
Camel Branch
Family 3 - n

Flageolet His sire, Flageolet

French-bred Rayon d'Or won most of his races in England, including the Doncaster St. Leger, and was so successful there that he sent his French-bred and owned sire, Flageolet, to the top of the British sire's list. Born in luxury at Haras Dangu in France, he retired there for a brief time at stud before being purchased for an enormous sum to America, where he got a number of good runners that took him to the top of the sire's list in the U.S. He did not get a son that could establish an enduring sire line, but his daughters were good producers, and it is through their offspring -- most notably those by Rock Sand -- that he is seen in pedigrees today.

His sire, Flageolet, was bred by Joachim Lefèvre at Count Frédéric de Lagrange's Haras Dangu. The facilities and most of Dangu's bloodstock had been leased from the count by Lefèvre for a period of several years, and the lease included the count's mare, La Favorite, by his great stallion Monarque, who had won the Grand Prix de Bourgogne and the prix de Chantilly at age three. To the cover of Charles Laffitte's stallion Plutus, winner of the Great Eastern Railway Handicap and Newmarket's Spring Handicap in England for the count before his sale, La Favorite dropped Flageolet in 1870. Flageolet was described as "a very beautiful horse" that inherited the low heels and wide feet of his dam, consistent with many of the descendants of Monarque, although in the case of La Favorite and Flageolet, it did not seem to affect their running.

Flageolet was probably the best French-bred juvenile in 1872, although most of his races were in England, running for Lefèvre and schooled by Tom Jennings at Newmarket's Phantom House. He was part of the later wave of successful French-bred and owned, and English-trained horses that invaded England in the wake of the Franco-Prussian war, where wealthy French owners shipped their better horses across the channel to successfully win races at the highest levels.

Flageolet's wins included the big juvenile race in France, the Prix des Deux Ans at Deauville, and across the channel in the fall, Newmarket's Hopeful Stakes, Rutland Stakes, Forlorn Stakes, and the Burwell Stakes. He was third in the Middle Park Plate and beaten by a head in the Prendergast Stakes at Newmarket, but won a big one for juveniles, Newmarket's Criterion Stakes.

At age three he ran in both France and England; in France, he just could not beat the French crack Boïard, to whom he ran second in both the Prix du Jockey Club and the Grand Prix de Paris, and he ran second to Apollon in the Prix du Cedre. In England, he showed himself a genuine stayer. He ran second to the good runner Cremorne in the Ascot Gold Cup. He then went on to win the Goodwood Cup by 30 lengths, beating Derby winner Favonius and Cremorne; the first running of the Jockey Club Cup over 2-1/4 miles, in a canter; and two other races at Newmarket -- the Grand Duke Michael Stakes and a ten furlong handicap.

The next year, age four, he still could not beat Boïard, either in France or England, running second to him in both the Prix du Cadran and the great distance race, the Prix Rainbow. He began in England in the spring where he won Newmarket's two mile Claret Stakes, beating the previous year's Two Thousand Guineas winner Gang Forward. He dead-heated for second behind Boiard in his second running of the Ascot Gold Cup, and the next day ran a bad third in the Alexandra Plate (won by King Lud, with Boïard second). In the fall in France, he lost the two races to Boïard. After this he was retired to stud.

Flageolet was the first French-bred and owned horse to head the list of leading sires in England, in 1879, due largely to Rayon d'Or's great wins that year. But he was also a consistent and successful sire of many good French runners, a number of them later good stallions. Among his offspring were Prix du Jockey Club winners Beauminet (also winner of the Prix Lupin and Prix Royal Oak) and Zut (winner of the French "Triple Crown" having also taken the Poule d'Essai des Poulains and the Prix Royal Oak; also winner of Prix du Nabob and other races); Versigny, winner of the Poule des Produits, the Prix de Longchamp (later Prix Hocquarat), and Prix de Diane (French Oaks); Xaintrailles, winner of the Poule d'Essai des Poulains and the Grand Poule des Produits at Champ de Mars (later Prix Lupin); Le Destrier, winner of the Poule d'Essai des Poulains when it was 2,000 meters, the Prix d'Apremont and the Grand Prix de Deauville; Comte Alfred (winner of Sussex Stakes in England); Le Lion, and a number of other good runners. Xaintrailles, Le Destrier and Zut were later all influential sires in France and Germany. A large number of Flageolet's offspring were later purchased and used in the various government run studs, and contributed to the development of the famous half-bred French horses.

In the late 1880s Flageolet was purchased by Count Lehndorff, general manager of the Prussian state studs, who had been hired to upgrade the quality of German bloodstock. Flageolet was installed at the state stud at Graditz, established in 1795 at the former stud farm of the Elector of Saxony. There he got some good runners, including German Derby winner (dead heat) Geier (1890) and Union Henckel-Rennen winner Argwohn. Later, his French-bred son Le Destrier joined him at Graditz. Several Flageolet sons were used at various state stud depots as improvement sires on half-bred mares, and some sons and daughters are seen in Trakhener pedigrees.

One of Flageolet's German sons was Goldschaum (1891), out of the great broodmare Geheimnis, by the French-bred stallion Chamant (Chamant was out of Rayon d'Or's dam, Araucaria). Goldschaum was grandsire of the Mecklenburger Goldschläger I (1909), whose grandson, Goldfisch II (1935) was the modern-day source of extemely successful Hanoverian and Westphalian show jumpers -- Gotthard, Grande and Grannus, all influential sport horse sires, descend from Goldfisch II. Flageolet was also the grandsire of two Grand Steeple-chase de Paris winners, Le Torpilleur (via Zut), and Melibee (via his son Manoel).


Rayon d'Or was the son of the bay Araucaria (1862), the last foal of one of the breed's most important broodmares, Pocahontas, who was the dam of Stockwell (seven times leading sire), the outstanding stayer Rataplan, King Tom (twice leading sire), five excellent producing daughters, and several other winners. Araucaria was bred at Burghley House in Northamptonshire by Brownlow Cecil, (11th) Earl of Exeter, whose heavy racing and breeding expenditures eventually led to his encumbering his estates. Exeter had owned the good race horse and important sire Sultan and had owned Stockwell during his racing years. He purchased Pocahontas when she was age fifteen; she had already produced her three most famous sons and four other offspring, but she would breed seven more for Exeter.

Araucaria was by Ambrose, an unraced son of the great Touchstone. She did not run as a juvenile, and at age three won once in seven starts, a ten furlong plate at Stamford, where she beat the One Thousand Guineas winner Siberia. Lord Exeter died in 1867, but by then Araucaria had passed into the hands of Richard Naylor, a chemist who had inherited a large fortune from an uncle and in 1858 had purchased J. Massey Stanley's stud farm, Hooton Park, near Chester. In 1861 Naylor purchased a draft of yearlings from the Marquis of Westminster's Eaton Hall; among these was Macaroni, who was unbeaten at age three, and whose wins included the Two Thousand Guineas and the Derby. Macaroni was retired in Naylor's ownership, and Araucaria was first bred to him in 1866.

The first foal from this breeding was the bay filly Stephanotis (1867), whose tail-female line bred on with stakes winners through the mid-twentieth century. Next was a short-lived unnamed colt by Macaroni. In 1869 she dropped Wellingtonia, by Chattanooga (a son of Orlando). Chattanooga was a a big, "gross" horse that won Newmarket's Criterion Stakes and then was irreparably lamed on a training gallop for the Derby. His son, Wellingtonia, won two races in six starts between the ages of two and four, a mile sweepstakes at Newmarket, and a Biennial Stakes at Stockbridge over 1-1/2 miles. At stud in France Wellingtonia became the sire of the grand race filly Plaisanterie (1882), winner of fourteen of her fifteen races in France and England, including the "Fall Double," the Cesarewitch and Cambridgeshire, and the 3,000 meter Grosser Preis von Baden. She was later the dam of Childwick, who got Topiary, who in the U.S. produced the great runner Tracery and Trap Rock. Wellingtonia also got Prix du Jockey Club winner Clover, Grand Criterium winner Cromatella, and other good horses, and a daughter, Alice, was second dam of the great unbeaten French horse Ajax.

Araucaria was bred back to Macaroni, producing, in 1870, a filly, Catalpa. The next foal was also a filly by Macaroni, Gardenia; Gardenia produced four daughters that bred on. Of these, Golden Iris (1890, by Bend Or) had many important descendants in tail-female, including the excellent producer Rosy Legend (1931), dam of Harroway, Derby winner Dante, and St. Leger winner Sayajirao; Belmont Stakes winner Caveat, and Grand Prix de Paris winner Sans Souci.

In 1872 Araucaria dropped a dead foal by Macaroni, and that year she was purchased, again in foal to Macaroni, by Joachim Lefèvre, whose horses were doing very well under English trainer Tom Jennings at Phantom House, Newmarket. These included Dutch Skater, who was proving himself an excellent distance runner in England that year, winning the Great Metropolitan Handicap, the Doncaster Cup, and the 6200 meter Prix Gladiateur in France, and Reine, the first filly to win both the One Thousand Guineas and the Oaks. At that time, Lefèvre had a lease on the bloodstock owned by Count Frédéric de Lagrange, the most known of the great French breeders of the period (Fille de l'Air, Gladiateur) who had temporarily retired from the turf. Reine (out of the spectacular race mare Fille de l'Air and by the count's famous stallion, Monarque) was one of the horses leased to Lefèvre. Lefèvre and the count continued with a racing and breeding partnership through 1878.

The foal by Macaroni that Araucaria carried to France, and dropped in 1873, was the chestnut filly Camélia. She was born in 1873 at Lefèvre's newly established stud, Haras Chamant, near Senlis. Camélia ran in the ownership of Lagrange. In England she won the One Thousand Guineas, and dead-heated with another French filly, Enguerrande (owned by French owner and breeder Auguste Lupin), for the Oaks; in the latter race she allowed Enguerrade the walk-over and split the stakes. She ran only once in France, in the Grand Prix de Paris, where she did not place.

The same year Camélia won the filly classics in England, her half-brother out of Araucaria, Chamant, by Lefèvre's stallion and Ascot Gold Cup winner Mortemer, won two prestigious juvenile races in England, the Middle Park Plate (6 furlongs) and the Dewhurst Plate (7 furlongs), also for the count. The next year he won the Two Thousand Guineas in England, beating Silvio, the second French-bred colt (the first was the count's spectacular race horse, Gladiateur) to ever win the race. Chamant ricked his back before the Derby and after running in that race quit the turf. He was sold to the Prussian government stud at Graditz, and was six times leading sire in Germany, got a leading sire son, Saphir, and had influence on the modern Trakehner warmblood through numerous half-bred sons and daughters.

Araucaria's next foal of note was Rayon d'Or, by Flageolet, born in 1876. The last good foal of Araucaria's was Apremont (1878), by Mortemer. Apremont was sold during the liquidation of the Dangu stud in 1882, and was shipped off to New Zealand, where he was a very useful sire of good juveniles and distance horses, including winners of the New Zealand Oaks, the Dunedin Cup, and the CJC Great Autumn Handicap. Of these, the filly Nautilus (1886) was a wonderful runner, winner of the New Zealand Oaks, the CJC Metropolitan Handicap, the WeRC Wellington Cup three times, and a number of other races.

To summarize Araucaria's production record: She bred a winner of the One Thousand Guineas and Oaks (dead-heat); a winner of the Two Thousand Guineas, and a winner of the St. Leger. Four sons were good sires: one in Germany, one in France, one in New Zealand, and one in the United States. A daughter bred on, with Derby and St. Leger winners among her descendants.

Rayon d'Or, a golden chestnut, was consistently described as a big horse, "a literal giant," and from his photograph, he could easily have been close to 17 hands. With his high-headed carriage, accentuated by his slightly ewed neck, he was nicknamed "Le Giraffe." He had powerful shoulders, and the look of the stayer that he was. Although not noted by French turf writers, as a stallion in America he had a reputation as a temperamental horse. He was sent to England to race, and placed in training with Tom Jennings at Phantom House, Newmarket.

Rayon d' Or on the Turf

Rayon d'Or won four races as a juvenile: Goodwood's Lavant Stakes, Newmarket's Glasgow Stakes, and a sweepstakes and the Clearwell Stakes at Doncaster. His only loss was a third in Newmarket's Criterion Stakes, behind Monsieur Philippe, a French horse owned by L. André, and Lancastrian. After the Criterion, a British writer said of Rayon d'or: "He is a very fine colt, who wants a great deal of time, and who could by no possiblity come into his proper strength as a two-year-old, and yet knowing what a good horse they [the French] have got -- Tom Jennings is said never to have tried a better --they run him from pillar to post, on all sorts of courses, two or three times a week, with the probable result of ruing his temper, even if his constitution should escape."

At age three in England he was a badly beaten third in the Two Thousand Guineas, won by 11-1/2 lengths by Charibert, in a field of seventeen. He was unplaced in the Derby, won by Sir Bevys, although his jockey, James Goater, always claimed if he had not received orders to take the lead from the start, Rayon d'Or would have won the race, which was run in the slop. He ran third in Ascot's Prince of Wales's Stakes to the classic winning filly Wheel of Fortune (beaten only once when placing second after breaking down, in the Great Yorkshire Stakes) and Adventure. After Wheel of Fortune was retired from the turf, Rayon d'Or rose to prominence. He then won Ascot's St. James's Palace Stakes, Goodwood's Sussex Stakes, and Doncaster St. Leger, taking the lead early and never headed afterwards, by five lengths, the second French-bred (Gladiateur was the first) to win the event. The day after the St. Leger he took a walk-over for the Zetland Stakes. At Newmarket First October he won the Great Foal Stakes, carrying top weight, but was second to Bay Archer (carrying 7 lbs. less) in the Newmarket St. Leger. At Newmarket Second October he took the Select Stakes, the Champion Stakes (1-1/4 miles) by an easy six lengths, and the Challenge Stakes. His last race of the season was the free handicap sweepstakes at Newmarket Houghton, where he was third (carrying 9 stone) to Out of Bounds (7 st.-12 lbs.) and Knight of Burley (7 st.-2 lbs.). He had won £17, 947 in four months.

At age four he debuted in France for the first time, winning the Prix du Cadran at Longchamp, and the big distance race, the Prix Rainbow (5,000 meters), both won in a canter, and in the latter beating his stablemate, French Derby winner Zut. In England he won Ascot's Rous Memorial Stakes and took walk-overs for the Post Stkaes at Newmarket Craven and for Newmarket's Prince of Wales's Stakes, and ran second to Exeter in the Hardwicke Stakes, giving away weight.

Rayon d'Or in the Stud

Rayon d'Or was retired to stud at Lagrange's Haras Dangu, joining the stallions Consul, Nougat and Beau Merle, but he only covered a few of the stud's best mares in 1881 and 1882 --including the winners Océanie and Clémentine--before the dispersal of the Haras Dangu horses in November of 1882. Tattersall's conducted the auction at Dangu, and a French firm auctioned the remainder in Paris shortly thereafter. At the Dangu sale, Rayon d'Or was the sales-topper at 150,000 francs, purchased by a Mr. Smith for American William L. Scott; this was the highest price ever paid to that time for a stallion imported into the U.S. The count repurchased a number of horses at this sale, but he died the following year from complications due to gout, and the last dispersal of Dangu stock was held in 1883, where the top-selling yearling, at 25,000 francs, was Conscrit, by Rayon d'Or and out of Chimène, purchased by the Russian government. Other Rayon d'Or youngsters from his brief time in France included Diapree (1882, from Doucereuse, by Mortemer), and Riante (1882, from La Rosiere by Consul).

William Scott had served as a page in the U.S. House of Representatives as a young man, and followed that path to election to the House as a representative of the Erie, Pennsylvania region as a Democrat; with his connections, he was an influential member of the Democratic Central Committee during the Presidential campaigns of 1884-8, and consequently a close ally of President Grover Cleveland. His connections also led him to his wealth, derived from ownership of bituminous coal -- he was known as one of the "coal barons," and he had interests in various railroads and in banking. His home and Algeria Stud were at Erie, Pennsylvania, and he also maintained an impressive mansion in Washington, D.C., which he retained after he retired from his Congressional career.

Scott's Algeria stud consisted of 1600 acres and included a half-mile track: "no expense was spared" in the construction of the facilities, built in 1886-87, and by 1890 it was one of the largest studs in the U.S. Scott also built another farm with 3,000 acres that sprawled across Northampton and Accomac counties in Virginia, on the Eastern Shore peninsula of Chesapeake Bay, where the terminus of the New York, Philadelphia, and Norfolk Railroad (a predecessor of the Pennysylvania Railroad) was conveniently located. Scott used the peninsular farm, which had a one mile track and 1-1/2 miles of galloping roads, as a training and conditioning farm for his yearlings, after they were broken at Algeria. Scott had a two year hiatus from racing in 1887 and 1888, during which he sold all his horses in training, but by 1889 he was back in business with a stable full of juveniles from Algeria. That year Rayon d'Or's son Chaos, the champion of his year, won the Second Futurity for Scott.

Rayon d'Or got most of his major winners for Scott, at Algeria Stud. These included Chaos, Tenny, the brothers Tea Tray and Banquet, and Bolero; in all, Rayon d'Or's offspring earned over $400,000 between 1887 and 1890, and in 1891 had earnings of $174,620. These successes put Rayon d'Or first on the leading sires list in 1889, and fourth in 1891. He was ninth on the list in 1892. Other stallions at the Algeria Stud included Algerine and Wanderer, both U.S.-breds, and imported Kantaka (by Scottish Chief, out of a Hermit daughter), sire of some useful horses, such as Meadowthorpe and Time Maker, but a better broodmare sire.

Scott died in 1892, and the Algeria Stud was dispersed. Rayon d'Or and some of his daughters were purchased by August Belmont, Jr., and he stood his remaining years at Belmont's Nursery Stud in Kentucky. In Belmont's ownership, he was eleventh in the leading sires list in 1895, fourth in 1896, and second in 1897, behind Colonel Milton Young's great stallion Hanover. Rayon d'Or died on July 15, 1896, but his influence persisted through his daughters, either in the first or second generation, in great part due to Belmont's crossing them with his imported English Triple Crown winner, Rock Sand. None of Rayon d'Or's sons were successful sires beyond a generation; dual Toboggan Handicap winner Octagon, bred by Belmont, was probably his best sire son, whose most noted offspring from limited opportunities was the great race mare Beldame.

Despite the increasing emphasis on precocity and speed in U.S. runners, Rayon d'Or had some very good winners on the American turf, but they had inherited his "twisted" temperament which frequently sabotaged their efforts on the racetrack, and some of his best runners were gelded.

TEA TRAY (1885) was one of five Rayon d'Or foals out of the War Dance mare Ella T., who was in Scott's stud, and then, after the dispersal, in James Keene's Castleton Stud. Ella T was from American family A-13. Suburban Handicap winner Raceland (1885, by Billet) and the good stakes winning filly Blue Mass (1891, by Hindoo), both from the mare Calomel, were from another branch of this family. TEA TRAY ran at the highest level, and was a good three-year-old whose temper frequently caused him to run below his best. He raced through age six and won at all distances. He was third to Sir Dixon in the Flatbush Stakes over 7/8 of a mile for juveniles at Sheepshead Bay; the next year he ran third in the Preakness (Rayon d'Or son MAURADER was second that year); second to Prince Royal in the one mile Jerome Handicap, and third to Sir Dixon and Prince Royal in the Withers Stakes. At age five he won the Monmouth Handicap and was third in the Brooklyn Handicap (won by Rayon d'Or's son TENNY).

Ella T also produced BANQUET (1887, by Rayon d'Or), an exceptionally sturdy and sound bay gelding that won 62 of 166 races in the U.S., with earnings of $188,535. As a juvenile he won the Expectation Stakes, and was third to El Rio Rey in the 5-1/2 furlong Eclipse Stakes for juveniles at Belmont and third to Padisha and Cayuga in the Tremont Statkes at Aqueduct. At age three he won the Stevens and Stockston Stakes, and ran second to Tournament in the Jerome Handicap over a mile, and was third to Burlington and Chesapeake in the 1-1/4 mile Tidal Stakes at Sheepshead. In 1891 he won the Monmouth Handicap, setting a North American record over ten furlongs, and ran third in the Lawrence Realization, and the next year won the Parkway Handicap. In 1894, age seven, he won the First Special over 1-1/4 miles at Gravesend, beating the four year old Sir Walter. In 1895 he was taken to England by the Dwyer brothers and Richard Croker, where he ran for two more years, winning four races.

Ella T's daughter HIGH TEA (1892), also by Rayon d'Or, bred on, producing High Feather (1898, by Henry of Navarre) who was shipped to England. Her descendants included Oaks d'Italia winner Pallade (1838), Cesarewitch Stakes winner French Design (1947) and St. James's Palace Stakes Radetzky (1873, by Huntercombe).

TENNY (1886) was one of Rayon d'Or's more famous sons, and was bred by Scott. He was out of Belle of Maywood, by Hunter's Lexington, one of the few live foals from her many breedings to Rayon d'Or. Tenny won twice in seventeen starts as a juvenile, but at age three was the best of his year -- except for James Ben Ali Haggin's Salvator, who was his generational rival and took the championship honors.

An incredibly unattractive youngster, with a pronounced swayback and the high-headed carriage of his sire, and a tendency to "sulk," he won the Lawrence Realization and nine other races at age three. At age four, carrying top weight, he won the Brooklyn Handicap by ten lengths, and burdened with 129 pounds ran second to Tristan (114 pounds) in the Metropolitan Handicap, and ran third to Salvator and Cassius in the Suburban, carrying 128 pounds; that year he met Salvator in a famous match run a week after the Suburban, which Salvator won by a heart-breaking nose.

In all, Tenny won 25 of his 65 races, placing second 16 times and third 12 times; his career earnings were $87,025. Tenny was a disappointing sire, but he did get David Tenny (from Mamie B, by St. Blaise), a very good stakes winner, and Race King (from Ondelletta by Order), a winner of the Nursery Handicap who dead-heated with the great Sysonby in the Metropolitan Handicap.

CHAOS (1887) was bred by Scott; he was out of Glenelg's good running daughter Lilly R, bred by Daniel Swigert. Another gelded Rayon d'Or son, Chaos stood about 15.3 hands, and was not especially attractive, but he inherited Glenelg's good feet and legs. He was a very promising juvenile, one of the top of his generation, and to his time one of the biggest money-earning juveniles in U.S. turf history. He started ten times at age two, winning a purse of $1,000 at Brooklyn and the Carteret Handicap at Monmouth, and then the big event, The Futurity, beating St. Carlo by a neck, after which he was retired for the season. He failed to live up to his promise at age three. In all he won six races, and was second four times, with total earnings of $69,510. He died young, in 1892.

Another Rayon d'Or colt was BOLERO (1888), who was out of another War Dance mare, All Hands Around, who distinguished herself on the turf before becoming a broodmare in the Algeria Stud. He was another high class juvenile, who won the Zephyr Stakes and was second to Russell in Sheepshead Bay's Double Event First Part; second to Chatham in the 5-1/2 furlong Tremont Stakes at Aqueduct, beating the good runner Correction; third to Bermuda and Santa Anna, carrying 117 pounds in the 3/4 mile United Stakes Hotel Stakes. At age three he was third in Russell's Dwyer Stakes at Aqueduct. He was not a successful sire. Another Rayon d'Or colt, MAURADER (1885, from the Australian daughter Maudina), ran second to Taragon in the Preakness Stakes of 1888 (TEA TRAY was third that year).

DON DE ORO (1894) was in the first crop by Rayon d'Or bred at Belmont's Nursery Stud. He was out Bella Donna (by Hermit), imported by Belmont from England. He was a good juvenile, although better at the beginning of the season than at the end, winning the Eclipse (5-1/2 furlongs) and Tremont Stakes, beating The Friar and Rhodesia in the latter. An inconsistent runner in the following years, his wins included at age three the Carlton and Kenner Stakes and the Boulevard and Morris Park Handicaps, and he was second in the Jerome, and third in the Travers (carrying the heaviest weight at 131 pounds), and the Brooklyn Derby (Dwyer Stakes). He ran at age four, and was second to Bangle in the 2-1/4 mile Brighton Cup that year. He, also, was not a particularly successful stallion.

The most noted Rayon d'Or son was OCTAGON (1894), bred and raced by Belmont. He was out of Ortegal, an imported daughter of the famous Bend Or. He was a modest juvenile winner, and was second to Ornament in the Double Event First Part at Sheepshead. At age three he won the Withers Stakes, the Brooklyn Derby (Dwyer Stakes) and the Toboggan Handicap, and was third in the Belmont and Carlton Stakes and in the Metropolitan Handicap, carrying the high weight of 116 pounds, conceding 14 pounds to the first and second place finishers. He continued to run through age five, winning the Toboggan Handicap again in 1898, usually carrying the highest weights. He had limited opportunities at stud, but got the peerless race mare Beldame, champion of her three-year-old year, who carried him to eleventh on the leading sires list in 1904 with her earnings of $49,995; his six other youngsters running that year brought his total to $66,705 in progeny earnings.

OCTAGON'S other winners included the gelded U.S. Hotel Stakes winner Woodsaw (1902) and Aurumaster (1901, Reaper Stakes). Belmont and other wealthy Americans established training stables and breeding farms in Europe after the turn of the century, and some Octagon offspring were shipped to England to race. When the anti-betting legislation passed in New York in 1908, many mares and some stallions, including OCTAGON (in the fall of 1908), were sent overseas. OCTAGON'S American-bred son Norman (1905) was sent to England by Belmont, where he won the Two Thousand Guineas, the Newmarket St. Leger, the Exeter Stakes and other races; he was sold to Hungary as a stallion. An American-bred daughter, Ferment, won the 1905 Manchster November Handicap in England; she later bred Fernrock and Fathom, both stakes winners in the U.S. Another Amerian-bred, but French-born son, Amoureux (1909), won the Prix St. Simon and Prix Monarque in France, and was later sold to the French government. In March of 1911, OCTAGON and Belmont's stallion Henry of Navarre were shipped back to the U.S. from France, the first stallions donated to the U.S. Government for the Remount Service. They were installed at Front Royal Remount Depot in Virginia's Shenendoah Valley where they covered "cold blood" Virginian mares; the Remount Service had the option of purchasing the resulting foals for the army. OCTAGON died at Front Royal in 1918.

FIREARM (1895), from Belmont's excellent race mare and later broodmare, Fides (also dam of FIDENA, see below), was another good juvenile, winner of the Juvenile and Spring Stakes, and third to Previous and Hamburg in the Flatbush Stakes over 7/8 mile at Sheepshead Bay. He was later a good handicapper, winning the 1-1/2 mile Manhattan Handicap at Belmont twice, at ages four and five.

Other Rayon d'Or stakes winners included HIS LORDSHIP (1896, from the excellent race mare Sallie McClelland, by Hindoo, also dam of Kentucky Oaks winner Audience); RED PATH (1897, from Red Girl, by Duke of Magenta, who ran second in the Kentucky Oaks and was originally in Scott's stud and later purchased by Belmont), winner of the Westchester Highweight Handicap; KILOGRAM (1897, from Lady Kidbrook, by Southampton), a stakes winner for Belmont in 1900 and 1901; and BRIGADIER (from imported St. Bridget, also in Belmont's stud).

Rayon D'Or's Daughters

Rayon d'Or's best daughter on the turf was SOUFFLE (1893), bred at Avondale Stud in Tennessee, from the Mortemer daugher Soncy Lass. She won the Kentucky Oaks, the Latonia Oaks, and the Jerome Handicap, and was the champion filly of her generation. In the Whitney stud, she had an extremely spotty produce record, and her female line did not breed on.

Two good Rayon d'Or daughters bred by Scott were FLAGEOLETTA and LAURA STONE. FLAGEOLETTA (1884), from imported Clover, by Macaroni, ran second to the great race filly Grisette in the Alabama Stakes over 1-1/4 miles at Saratoga, and to the even more famous Firenzi in both Aqueduct's Gazelle Stakes and Belmont Park's Ladies Handicap over 1-1/2 miles. LAURA STONE (1886), bred by Scott, was out of Valleria, a mare by Glenelg or Virgil, bred by Milton Sanford. She also ran under the name MADONNA, and was one of the best of her year.

GYPSY QUEEN (1886), a bay filly also bred by Scott, was out of Liatunah, by John Morgan. She was one of Rayon d'Or's best daughter on the turf, winning Saratoga's Spinaway Stakes for juvenile fillies, beating Queen of Trumps and Daisy Woodruff, and at age three, running third to Blue Rock and Ben Harrison in the 7/8 mile Swift Stakes and winning Aqueduct's Gazelle Stakes over 1-1/16 miles, beating Holiday and Miss Cody. Her tail-female line produced no significant winners.

LADY MADGE (1896), bred by August Belmont from Lady Margaret (also dam of the unbeaten Margrave by St. Blaise and Belmont Stakes winner Masterman by Hastings), by the Ill-Used, won the Saratoga Stakes and other races. She went on to produce Madcap, by Belmont's imported stallion Rock Sand; Madcap became the dam of the stakes winners Mad Hatter (also a good sire) and Mad Play.

LIZA (1892), bred by Scott, was one of three Rayon d'Or daughters of Lizzie Cox, by Glenelg. Her wins included Belmont Park's Swift Stakes over 7/8 mile, beating Owlet and Totham, and at age three, the Travers Stake, beating the colts. Other Rayon d'Or daughters on the turf included MISS RANSOM (1888, out of Nellie Ransom, by Jack Malone); she was third to Russell and BOLERO in Sheepshead Bay's Double Event First Part, an important juvenile event.

As producers, Rayon d'Or's daughters did very well, many of them in August Belmont's stud, where they -- or their daughers -- were crossed with Belmont's imported English Triple Crown winner, Rock Sand. These included FIZGIG (1897, from Feu Follet by Kingfisher), dam of Flint Rock, winner of the Dominion Handicap who was sent to Belmont's Haras de Villers in France to stand at stud; FETISH (1890, a sister to FIZGIG) produced Footprints, a top juvenile, winning seven of his fifteen starts at age two; FIDENA (1894, from the great producer Fides), sent to France by Belmont, where she produced Fiametta (1909) a winner of the Prix des Etangs, the Prix Borealis and other races there; SOURIANTE (1896, from the Alarm daughter Soubrette) produced Sun Queen (by Rock Sand), the dam of Preakness winner Coventry (1922); LADY OF THE VALE (1897, from the excellent race mare and producer Lady Violet), who was sent to Belmont's Haras de Villers in France in-foal to Rock Sand and dropped Vulcain (1910), one of the best of his generation in France and later a successful sire in the U.S.; DONNA DE ORO (1897, from Donna Mia by the Ill-Used), produced Dona Roca, by Rock Sand, who became the dam of the great handicapper Dunlin (by Fair Play) and of Ordinance (by Ormondale), who just missed gaining the three-year-old championship in the U.S.

Rayon d'Or stakes producing daughters owned by August Belmont and bred to stallions other than Rock Sand included FLITTERMOUSE (1897, from Flibbertigibbet, by Kingfisher), bred by Belmont and retained at the Nursery Stud, who was the dam of the good juvenile filly Field Mouse (by Hastings), winner of the Criterion and Fashion Stakes and placed in five other stakes races. Another Belmont mare by Rayon d'Or was SOUVERAINE (1895, from Sultana by Lexington), who produced two stakes winners, Half Sovereign (1905, by Hastings) and Gallant (1901, by Galeazzo).

Another Rayon d'Or daughter, ST. PRISCILLA (1896, out of the imp. St. Blaise daughter St. Pauline, bred by Belmont's father, August Belmont, Sr.), was dam of Priscillan (1905, by Hastings), a stakes winner, but her best was a Fair Play son, the gelded Stromboli, a versatile runner who equalled the track record in the Pimlico Fall Special over six furlongs, and several days later came close to equalling the track record in the 1-3/4 mile Bowie Handicap. Stromboli won the Saranac, Jerome, Manhattan and Baltimore Handicaps at age three, defeating Roamer in the Baltimore in track record time; at age four he won seven of his seventeen races, and was a good handicapper at ages five and six, as well.

Rayon d'Or's daughter TARPEIA (1897, from imported Tarantula, by Galopin), produced the filly Tiptoe for Belmont, one of the leading juvenile fillies of her year, whose wins included the Fashion, Gaiety, and Produce Stakes, and the White Plains Handicap.

A Rayon d'Or daughter bred by Scott was MY FAVORITE (1886), out of the Glen Athol daughter Nannie H. She became the dam of the poor-footed Handspring (1893, by Hanover), raced by the Dwyer brothers. He was one of the top juveniles of his generation, winner of the Tremont, Double Event, Great Trial and Billow Stakes. At age three he won the Withers (beating Hastings), Carlton, and Brooklyn Derby (Dwyer Stakes), and was barely defeated by Hastings in the Belmont Stakes, conceding three pounds to him. He ran twice at age four, winning a race at Gravesend, but was too sore to place in the Brooklyn Handicap. Handspring got some good runners, including Major Daingerfield, who ran the Lawrence Realization in record time. Handspring was eighth in the leading sires list in 1902, and was later sent abroad as a stallion.

Rayon d'Or's daughter LOUISE T (1885), was bred by Scott from Leamington daughter, Spark, who had produced a number of youngsters to the cover of Rayon d'Or. Louise T bred Martha (1895, by Dandie Dinmont), who, in the Whitney stud, became the dam of the top juvenile filly of 1904, Artful (by Hamburg), and Queen of Hearts, later the dam of Empire City Derby winner Rickety (by Broomstick). Other Rayon d'Or daughters that had an impact on U.S. breeding at a more distant remove included WOODRAY (1897), second dam of champion sire The Finn and so also in Champion Zev's pedigree; RAYBELLE (1889, out of Blue Grass Belle, by War Dance), third dam in tail-female of the great chestnut gelding Exterminator; and CAMPFIRE (1897, from imported Kate Allen, by Barcaldine), third dam of Bromelia, who was grandam of Sun Teddy.

As a race horse, Rayon d'Or was a successful winner of over half a million francs in England and France, and was one of the best in England at age three, in a year of mostly indifferent colts; his wins in England and his native country made him a celebrated athlete in France, frequently and certainly too enthusiastically compared to the great Gladiateur, who had tromped English horses on their own turf fifteen years earlier. He was the first French-bred stallion to top the leading sires list in the U.S., and it was not until Chicle, some forty years later, that another horse from France led the list. He was a successful sire of many good runners, from precocious juveniles to handicappers that could go a distance and, like him, carry weight. His daughters produced many good runners and some useful sire sons, and through them he had some influence on American bloodstock in the twentieth century.

--Patricia Erigero

RAYON D'OR, Chestnut colt, 1876 - Family # 3 - n
ch. 1870
b. 1863
ch. 1856
b. 1853
Alice Bray
La Favorite
ch. 1863
b. 1852
The Emperor
ch. 18148
b. 1862
blk. 1849
br. 1831
b. 1835
Mare by Don Juan
b. 1837
ch. 1831
b. 1830

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