Federico Tesio

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Federico Tesio
Born (1869-01-17)17 January 1869
Turin, Italy
Died 22 May 1954(1954-05-22) (aged 85)
Occupation Racehorse breeder, owner and trainer.

Federico Tesio (17 January 1869 – 22 May 1954) was an Italian and one of the most important breeders of Thoroughbreds in the history of horse racing. He has been called "the only genius ever to operate in the breeding world" and "the greatest single figure in the history of Italian racing".[1]

Born in Turin, orphaned at 6 years of age, Federico Tesio obtained a degree from the University of Florence. He served in the Italian Army during World War I and in 1939 was appointed to the Italian Senate.

In 1898 he and his wife Lydia Tesio established the Dormello Stud in Dormelletto, Novara on 19 hectares on the banks of Lake Maggiore in northern Italy. All of the credit for breeding successes is due to him, while his wife played an important role in the social aspects of the operation, being responsible for bringing in Marchese Mario Incisa Della Rochetta as his partner in 1932. An owner/breeder who also always trained his own horses, Tesio was a leading horse breeder whose horses have had a pervasive influence in the breeding of the thoroughbred throughout the world. He bred several undefeated champions including Nearco, Ribot, Braque and Cavaliere d’Arpino, whom he considered the best horse that he ever bred[2] Cavaliere d'Arpino sired Bellini the sire of Tenerani which in turn was the sire of Ribot, acknowledged as the greatest racehorse Europe had seen after winning the Prix Arc de triomphe twice, defeating a very strong field in the 2nd win by 6 lengths. Nearco sired Nearctic, sire of Northern Dancer. 37% of all throroughbred foals in 2012 born in Australia descended in the male tail line to Northern dancer. Donatello II was a certain winner of the Prix du Jockey Club but in his only defeat for Tesio, the jockey was instructed to take the lead, and lost. Donatello then immediately went to stud in the UK. Tesio bred, owned and trained 22 winners of the Derby Italiano

In 1947, Federico Tesio published a book titled Puro-Sangue - Animale da Esperimento (The Pure Blood - An Animal of Experimentation). It was reissued in 2005 in an English translation titled Tesio: In His Own Words which was published by Russell Meerdink Co. Ltd (ISBN 978-0929346762).

The Federico Tesio Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland is named in his honor. The Premio Lydia Tesio race at the Capannelle Racecourse in Rome is named for his wife and the Premio Federico Tesio for him at San Siro Racecourse in Milan and also the registered Group 3 Australian race Tesio Stakes in Melbourne.

He died in 1954, shortly before the debut of Ribot, a horse who has been described as his "masterpiece".[1] In 1999, nearly half a century after his death, he was named at number 18 in the Racing Post's list of 100 Makers of 20th Century Racing.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Randall, John (23 August 1999). "John Randall on the 100 makers of 20th-century racing (Part 4)". The Racing Post. Retrieved 19 April 2013. 
  2. ^ Talmadge Phelps, John and Frank , Dormello-Olgiata, 1961-1962, Derby Publishing Co., Milan, 1962