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  Sir Archy

Sir Archy  
Bay Colt, 1805.
By Diomed - Castianira by Rockingham.
Byerley Turk Sire Line.

Family #13

Diomed His sire, Diomed

Sir Archy was the champion runner of his day, but more importantly, is considered to be the first great Thoroughbred stallion bred in America. Originally named "Robert Burns", the big bay colt was bred by Virginians Col. John Tayloe III and close friend Capt. Archibald Randolph. He was truely Thoroughbred, since both of his parents were imported from England. His sire was the Derby winner *Diomed, imported to America in his old age and dying in 1808, when his greatest son Sir Archy was just beginning to run. His dam was the mare *Castianira, which Tayloe had purchased originally for his stud at Mount Airy in 1799. Tayloe bred *Castianira on shares with Randolph, and Sir Archy, her second foal, was born at Randolph's Ben Lomond Plantation along the James River.

Tayloe changed the colt's name to "Sir Archie" in honor of his partner, but both sold their interests in him to Ralph Wormeley during the colt's second year. Sir Archy started for the first time in the fall of his third year in Washington D. C., but was distanced by Bright Phoebus, forced to run to avoid paying a forfeit when still recovering from a bout with distemper. In his next start, at the Fairfield course in Richmond, Sir Archy was distanced in the first two heats, but salvaged the final heat, running third to True Blue. This effort caught the eye of the winner's owner the legendary Col. W. R. Johnson, who purchased the colt for $1,500.

As a four-year-old, Sir Archy earned his reputation as the best four-mile heat horse in the country, winning four of five such races including an important match with Blank. In the first heat, Sir Archy won in 7:53, at the time, the fastest time for four miles ever run south of the James River. Following that race, he was purchased for $5,000 by Gen. Davie, the governor of North Carolina, and was sent to stud.

Bertrand. Image permission of the National Museum of Racing.
Gohanna. Image permission of the National Museum of Racing.
Sir Charles
Sir Charles
Sir Henry
Sir Henry. Image permission of the National Museum of Racing.
As a stallion, Sir Archy earned his title "The Godolphin of America", since his influence as a sire and grandsire was as sweeping as the Godolphin Arabian's had been in England in the middle part of the 1700's. In a long and prosperous stud career, Sir Archy sired many of the finest runners of the period, including Timoleon, Bertrand, Sir Charles, Sumpter, Stockholder, Lady Lightfoot, Reality, Flirtilla, Janet, and seemingly endless others. Bertrand and Sir Charles both became national leading sires in their own turn.

Four-mile heat racing remained popular in America up until the 1850's, while quarter mile dash racing also had its popular quarters. A four-mile horse himself, Sir Archy sired all sorts of runners, with speed and stamina alike, for both forums of competition. In fact, one of his progeny, a horse named Copperbottom, became one of the founding sires of the American Quarter Horse.

The next generation became even more important, as inbreeding to Sir Archy and his sire *Diomed became the fashion of the day. The great race mare Bonnets o' Blue was a prime example, being by Sir Archy's son Sir Charles, and out of Sir Archy's daughter Reality. (Bonnet's o' Blue became the dam of the great American racemare Fashion.) The great runner and sire Lexington, by Boston by Timoleon, carried two close strains of Sir Archy.

Sir Archy was a dark bay, the only white being his right hind pastern, and as a three year old measured over just 16 hands high.

According to Randolph (of Roanoke), he was "A horse of commanding size, with great power and substance. He is eminently superior in all those points indispensable to the turf horse, and mainly contributory to strength and action. His shoulder, the most material part of the horse, is strikingly distinguished, being very deep, fairly mounting up to the top of the withers, and obliquely inclined to the hips. His girth is full and deep, back short and strong, thighs and arms long and muscular, his bone good. His front appearance is fine and commanding-his head and neck are well formed, the latter rising well out of his withers. Take Sir Archy upon the whole, and he has more size, power and substance than we often see combined in the full bred horse."

Sir Archy spent most of his stud career at the Mowfield Planatation of William Amis, located in Northampton County, North Carolina. In 1829, at the age of 24, he demanded a stud fee of $100. He was retired from stud duty in 1831 at the age of 26, and died at the age of 28, on June 7, 1833, notably, the same day as Sir Charles, one of his greatest sons.

--Anne Peters

SIR ARCHY, bay colt, 1805 - Family # 13
ch. 1777
b. 1768
Cygnet Mare
Young Cartouch Mare
Sister To Juno
b. 1763
Partner Mare
Flying Childers Mare
br. 1796
b. 1781
Pratt's Old Mare
ch. 1782
Gower's Sweepstakes
Miss South
Bosphorus Mare
Forester Mare

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