Crusader (horse)

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SireMan o' War
GrandsireFair Play
DamStar Fancy
DamsireStar Shoot
CountryUnited States
BreederSamuel D. Riddle
OwnerGlen Riddle Farm
TrainerGwyn R. Tompkins (at 2)
George H. Conway (at 3)
Record42: 18-8-4
Major wins
Manor Handicap (1925)
Dwyer Stakes (1926)
Riggs Handicap (1926)
Havre de Grace Handicap (1926)
Jockey Club Gold Cup (1926)
Suburban Handicap (1926, 1927)

American Classic Race wins:
Belmont Stakes (1926)

U.S. Champion 3-Yr-Old Colt (1926)
United States Horse of the Year (1926)
United States Racing Hall of Fame (1995)
Last updated on September 22, 2006

Crusader (1923–1940) was an American Thoroughbred racehorse. In a career which lasted from 1925 to 1928 he ran forty-two times and won eighteen races. He was the leading American three-year-old of 1926 when he won a number of important races including the Suburban Handicap, the Belmont Stakes and the Dwyer Stakes. He continued to race for a further two seasons but his form declined after he was injured at Aqueduct Racetrack in June 1927.


Crusader was sired by Man o' War from the mare Star Fancy, from the same family which also produced leading performers such as Whisk Broom, Venetian Way, Timber Country and Dubai Millennium.[1] As a son of Man o' War, Crusader was a representative of the Godolphin Arabian sire line, unlike the majority of modern thoroughbreds, who descend from the Darley Arabian. He was bred by Samuel D. Riddle and was raced by his Glen Riddle Farm. He was usually ridden by either Earl Sande or Albert Johnson.

Racing career[edit]

1925: two-year-old season[edit]

As a two-year-old in 1925, Crusader won the Potomac Purse at Belmont Park, but his most important win of the year came in the $10,000 Manor Handicap at Laurel Park Racecourse on October 24.[2]

1926: three-year-old season[edit]

In 1926 Crusader defeated older horses including his stable companion American Flag to win the Suburban Handicap.[3] Against his own age group he won the Belmont Stakes a week later, beating Espino by a length in front of a crowd of 25,000.[4] On 3 July at Aqueduct he won the Dwyer Stakes by a nose from Chance Play, setting a course record of 2:29.6 for the mile and a half.[5] In the $30,000 Cincinnati Derby on July 25, Crusader set another track record of 2:02.0 for ten furlongs, beating the Preakness Stakes winner Display with "remarkable ease" by three lengths.[6]

On September 26 at Havre de Grace Racetrack Crusader won the Havre de Grace Handicap by ten lengths from Son of John, Display and Sarazen equaling the nine furlong track record of 1:50.0. According to The New York Times, the win was "wildly acclaimed" and established Crusader as the Horse of the Year.[7] Crusader finished fourth to Croyden when favourite for the Laurel Stakes but returned to win the inaugural running of the Riggs Handicap at Pimlico Race Course on November 1.[8] On his final start of the season he finished second when attempting to concede thirty-three pounds in weight to the filly Edith Cavell in the two and a quarter mile Pimlico Cup.[9] After this race it was reported that Crusader would be retired to a stud career in Europe.[10]

Although there were no formal awards in 1926, Crusader was recognised as the Champion 3-year-old Male Horse[3] and the Horse of the Year. His earnings of $166,033 made him the season's leading money-winner.[11]

1927: four-year-old season[edit]

In 1927, Crusader's early runs were disappointing, but he returned to form to become the first horse to win successive runnings of the Suburban Handicap, beating Black Maria by eight lengths on June 4.[12] In his next race, the Brooklyn Handicap, he sustained career-threatening injuries when he was kicked in the leg by another horse.[13] Although he returned to racing after a break, he was unable to recapture his best form.[14]

1928: five-year-old season[edit]

Crusader's five-year-old campaign was a disappointment as he failed to win in seven starts.[15]

Stud record[edit]

Crusader began his stud career at Colonel Phil T. Chinn's Himyar Stud in 1929, but returned to Riddle's own Faraway Farm stud to stand at a fee of $1,500 when Chinn was declared bankrupt a year later.[16] He was not a great success as a stallion, attracting a disappointingly small number of mares and siring only six stakes winners.[17] He did get Crossbow II (Sanford Stakes) and Royal Crusader (Del Mar Handicap). In 1938 Riddle leased Crusader to the Rancho Casitas, at Ventura, California, where he died in 1940.[16]


Crusader was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1995.[15]


Pedigree of Crusader (USA), chestnut stallion, 1923[18]
Man o' War (USA)
Fair Play
Hastings Spendthrift
Fairy Gold Bend Or
Dame Masham
Rock Sand Sainfoin
Merry Token Merry Hampton
Star Fancy (USA)
Star Shoot
Isinglass Isonomy
Dead Lock
Astrology Hermit
Dolly Higgins
Migraine Top Gallant
Frances McClelland Bermuda
Sallie McClelland(Family:4-m)[1]
  • Crusader was inbred 4 × 4 to Cinderella, meaning that this mare appears twice in the fourth generation of his pedigree.


  1. ^ a b "Magnolia - Family 4-m". Retrieved 2012-03-03.
  2. ^ Edward L. Bowen (2002-06-25). War Admiral. The Blood-horse Inc. p. 28. Retrieved 2012-03-04.
  3. ^ a b Edward L. Bowen (2002-06-25). War Admiral. The Blood-horse Inc. p. 29. Retrieved 2012-03-04.
  4. ^ Ilsley, Henry R. (1926-06-13). "25,000 SEE CRUSADER WIN BELMONT STAKES". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-03-03.
  5. ^ "Crusader Breaks Record". Evening Independent. 1926-07-03. Retrieved 2012-03-03.
  6. ^ "Crusader Wins Second Cincinnati Derby". Youngstown Vindicator. 1926-07-25. Retrieved 2012-03-03.
  7. ^ Special to The New York Times. (1926-09-26). "CRUSADER IS VICTOR AS 25,000 LOOK ON". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-03-03.
  8. ^ "Crusader Takes Baltimore Race". Evening Independent. 1926-11-02. Retrieved 2012-03-03.
  9. ^ "Edith Cavell Wins Pimlico". Youngstown Vindicator. 1926-11-14. Retrieved 2012-03-03.
  10. ^ Norman E. Brown (1926-11-24). "Sports Done Brown". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved 2012-03-03.
  11. ^ "Greenbacks Make This Golden Era". Ottawa Citizen. 1927-05-11. Retrieved 2012-03-03.
  12. ^ "Crusader Triumphs in Suburban Handicap". Sunday Morning Star. 1927-06-05. Retrieved 2012-03-04.
  13. ^ "Crusader Out With Injuries". Milwaukee Journal. 1927-06-21. Retrieved 2012-03-04.
  14. ^ Avalyn Hunter (2003-05-25). American Classic Pedigrees (1914-2002). Blood-Horse Publications. p. 120. Retrieved 2012-03-04.
  15. ^ a b "National Museum of Racing, Hall of Fame, Thoroughbred Horses". Archived from the original on 2012-06-02. Retrieved 2012-03-04.
  16. ^ a b Rommy Faversham - Google Books (2005). Great breeders and their methods. Russell Meerdink Company Ltd. p. 111. Retrieved 2012-03-04.
  17. ^ Avalyn Hunter (2003-05-25). American classic pedigrees (1914-2002). Blood-Horse Publications. p. 122. Retrieved 2012-03-04.
  18. ^ Rommy Faversham - Google Books (2005). Great breeders and their methods. Russell Meerdink Company Ltd. p. 59. Retrieved 2012-03-04.