By: Ron Hale
Pimlico continues its series of stakes races named for famous Marylanders on Preakness Day with one of the undercard stakes: the Gallorette Handicap (gr. III), $100,000 added.
In 1955, Delaware Park sponsored a nationwide poll among members of the American Trainers Assn. to determine the 10 greatest female thoroughbreds in American history. At the top of the list: Gallorette (foal of 1942; Challenger II--Gallette, by Sir Gallahad III). She was owned by William L. Brann, an advertising executive whose company designed the original Montgomery Ward catalogue, and trained by Edward Christmas.
For the first half of the 20th Century, the opportunities for older female race horses were almost non-existent. After their two- and three-year-old season, females basically had to compete with the boys if they wanted the chance to make any real money. It wasn't until the 1950s and 1960s that major stakes/handicaps were developed for older fillies and mares.
As a result, Gallorette's record of 72 starts, 21 wins, 20 seconds and 13 thirds may not look as great as some of the great males of this century or females of recent times, but when you consider that most of her significant races were against the opposite sex, her record is outstanding. She raced against the best males of her time: Armed, Assault, Stymie, Lucky Draw, Polynesian, Hoop Jr., Pavot, etc. -- and she frequently came out on top.
She beat eventual Kentucky Derby winner Hoop Jr. in her first start at three and finished second to Jeep in the Wood Memorial. She also defeated Belmont Stakes winner Pavot in the Empire City Stakes. In six seasons, her other victories included the Acorn Stakes, Pimlico Oaks, Delaware Oaks, Metropolitan Mile, Beldame, Whitney Stakes and Bay Shore. Perhaps her greatest race was the 1946 Brooklyn Handicap (1 1/4 miles). In that race, she defeated the champion Stymie by a neck. She was named national champion female that year.
She retired after 1948 with earnings of $445,535, making her the all-time leading money winner among females. She is a member of the Hall of Fame.
Postscript: As a broodmare, Gallorette had seven foals. Ironically, one of them -- Lovely Gale -- won the 1954 Gallorette Stakes.
For those interested in the 1955 Trainers Assn. Poll, here is the top 10:
America's Ten Greatest Female Race Horses 1. Gallorette (foaled 1942) 72-21-20-13 $445,000 2. Twilight Tear (1941) 24-18-2-2 $202,165 3. Regret (1912) 11-9-1-0 $335,093 4. Top Flight (1929) 16-12-0-0 $275,900 5. Miss Woodford (1880) 48-37-7-2 $118,270 6. Busher (1942) 21-15-3-1 $334.035 7. Beldame (1901) 31-17-6-4 $102,570 8. Princess Doreen (1921) 94-34-15-17 $174,745 9. Bewitch (1945) 55-20-10-11 $462,605* 10. Imp (1894) 171-62-35-29 $70,119 *=surpassed Gallorette
© 1997,2002 Ron Hale
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