Boston, from the painting by Edward Troye
|Dam||Sister to Tuckahoe|
2. Col. William R. Johnson & James Long
|Trainer||Capt. John Blecher
2. Arthur Taylor
|1955 Hall of Fame inductee|
|Last updated on 10 September 2010|
Boston (1833–1850), was an outstanding chestnut Thoroughbred racehorse and a Leading sire in North America three times from 1851 to 1853. He started in about 45 races, winning 40 of these, including 15 in succession. Boston was later one of the initial inductees into the Hall of Fame.
He was a chestnut stallion with a white blaze on his nose and he was foaled in Richmond, Virginia. Boston was bred by the Virginia attorney John Wickham (who had been Aaron Burr's counsel in his trial for treason). He was by the very good racehorse, Timoleon (by the great Sir Archy), his dam was Sister to Tuckahoe by Ball’s Florizel. Boston was inbred to Diomed in the third generation (3m x 3f). He was a half-brother to the Shylock mare who founded a successful family. They were from the number 40 family which traced back to the imported mare, Kitty Fisher.
As a two-year-old, Boston was lost by his breeder in a card game and was given to Wickham's friend Nathaniel Rives, of Richmond to repay his debt of $800. He was named after a popular card game and later given the nickname of "Old Whitenose". Boston had a wilful temperament and was difficult to train. Sent to the stable of John Belcher, and then to the trainer L. White, and then back to Belcher, White said, "The horse should either be castrated or shot—preferably the latter."
On April 20, 1836, he was entered into a match in Richmond against a colt of White's. Boston ran away with the race, gaining a long lead, only to stop and sulk.
Back under saddle, Boston won fifteen races in succession. From Georgia to New York, he raced until he was a ten-year-old, winning 40 of his 45 starts. In those days, races weren't stakes, graded or otherwise, and they weren't run on specially prepared racecourses. They were heats across open country and 30 of his victories were in these four-miles heats, while another 9 wins were in three-mile heats. Boston had established himself as a great—if tempestuous— race horse and more than once, his then owner (Colonel W.R. Johnson, called the "Napoleon of the Turf") was paid good money not to race, in order to encourage other owners to enter their horses in an event.
Boston versus Fashion Match Race
The accepted wisdom is that Boston lost on his merit only once. In May 1842, he met the filly Fashion, the daughter of Trustee and Bonnets o' Blue, in a well touted match race at the Union Course on Long Island, New York. 70,000 people witnessed the event. In the first heat, the nine-year-old Boston (carrying 126 pounds) cut open a long jagged gash on his hip against a rail and both he and five-year-old Fashion (carrying 111 pounds) were upset by the crowd often surging onto the track. Boston led for three miles, but in the end Fashion won it by 60 yards setting a new world record of 7:32½ for a four-mile heat.
Boston was the leading sire in 1841, 1842 and 1843, beginning his stud career even before he raced against Fashion. (He'd covered 42 mares before the match at $100 each.) He stood, at first, in Hanover County, Virginia, then in Washington, D. C., and was then led over the mountains to Kentucky where he spent his last seasons in Woodford County, Kentucky. It was in Kentucky that he was finally bred with mares of good quality which enabled him to become a leading sire. He was also a sire of trotters.
Some Boston’s noted progeny were:
- Ringgold, an outstanding galloper and sire of Tipperary (sire of Belmont Stakes winner Calvin)
- Commodore who became a good sire
- Lexington, foaled in 1850 after Boston’s death. He became America's leading sire for 16 years and maintained his sire-line through Norfolk 1861 - Emperor Of Norfolk 1885 - Americus 1892 to Golden Rod (GB) 1906. Lexington’s progeny captured a record seven Triple Crowns as well as a nine Travers Stakes races.
By 1849, Boston was blind and in such poor health he could stand only with the aid of a harness. He was found dead in his stall on January 31, 1850, blind and emaciated from illness. His two best sons, Lexington and Lecomte were born in the spring after his death.
- Morris, Simon; Tesio Power 2000 - Stallions of the World, Syntax Software
- Bobinski, Captain Kazimierz & Zamoyski, Lt-Colonel Stefan Count; Volume I: Family Table of Racehorses, New York Jockey Club, 1953
- Thoroughbred Bloodlines: Boston Retrieved 2010-9-13
- Thoroughbred Heritage: Boston Retrieved 2010-9-13
- Montgomery, E.S, "The Thoroughbred", Arco, New York, 1973 ISBN 0-668-02824-6
- Thoroughbred Heritage: BostonvsFashion Retrieved 2010-9-13
- National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame Retrieved 2010-9-13