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Review - Bold Ruler by Edward L. Bowen

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating


Bold Ruler

Bold Ruler by Edward L. Bowen

Eclipse Press

The Bottom Line

Bold Ruler was a superstar of Thoroughbred racing in the 1950's, when the sport was still in the mainstream consciousness. Eclipse Award winning turfwriter Edward Bowen tells us about this champion of both sides of the business, racing and breeding. This is a fitting tribute to the all-time great, and an excellent read for those wanting to learn more about 1950's racing history and about Bold Ruler's continuing influence on racing today.
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  • A fitting tribute to one of racing's all time greatest sires
  • Thrilling descriptions of Bold Ruler's on-track performances
  • Thorough coverage of his bloodlines and also those of his owner


  • This is the final book in the Thoroughbred Legends series


  • Bold Ruler is the offspring of champion sire Nasrullah and multiple stakes winner Miss Disco.
  • Bred and raced by Mrs. Gladys Phipps's Wheatley Stable, his pedigree pointed him at the Triple Crown
  • He was trained by Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons and ridden by Eddie Arcaro, two of racing's all-time greats
  • As a 2-year-old he was virtually unbeatable until he ended the year with two poor finishes.
  • At 3, he won the Wood but lost the Kentucky Derby as the 6-5 favorite. He also won the Preakness.
  • Losing the Belmont gave him a reputation as a horse who could not win at 1 1/4 miles.
  • He redeemed himself later, winning both the Suburban and the Monmouth handicaps, carrying 134 pounds
  • His racing career ended after a poor showing in the Brooklyn Handicap and a recurring ankle injury.
  • Author Ed Bowen vividly portrayed his races as the exciting spectacles they were.
  • Quotes from his connections and from turf writers helped bring back the emotions of the day.

Guide Review - Review - Bold Ruler by Edward L. Bowen

Upon his retirement to Claiborne Farm, it was expected that he would sire champions like himself. His foals definitely "hit the ground running", as his first crop of just 17 foals had 14 winners and 8 stakes winners. For seven consecutive years (1963-69) he was the leading sire in earnings, and he led the North American general sire list six times. However, there was still the matter of the Kentucky Derby, a race he had failed to win and so far, had failed to sire a winner. His reputation early in his 3-year-old season to not be able to win at 1 1/4 miles followed him to the breeding shed. This changed in a big way when his 1970 foal Secretariat captured the Kentucky Derby, and finished up the Triple Crown with a world record performance in the Belmont Stakes. His influence in the Triple Crown continued in tail-male descendents Seattle Slew, Spectacular Bid, and Swale. With his hit rate of 22% stakes winners and 10 North American champions, if he were alive today he would have been a shuttle stallion and cover 200 mares a year. However, he accomplished his numbers with no more than 35 foals per year.

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