Mad Hatter (horse)

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Mad Hatter
Sire Fair Play
Grandsire Hastings
Dam Mad Cap
Damsire Rock Sand
Sex Stallion
Foaled 1916
Country United States
Colour Brown
Breeder August Belmont, Jr.
Owner Rancocas Stable
Trainer Sam Hildreth
Record 41: 16-10-4
Earnings $70,290
Major wins
Bellerose Stakes (1918)
Pimlico Autumn Handicap (1919)
Minneola Handicap (1919)
Latonia Championship Stakes (1919)
Yorktown Handicap (1920)
Bowie Handicap (1920)
Jockey Club Gold Cup (1921, 1922)
Metropolitan Handicap (1921, 1922)
Toboggan Handicap (1923)
Suburban Handicap (1924)
Queens County Handicap (1924)
U.S. Champion Older Male Horse (1921)
Last updated on September 20, 2006

Mad Hatter (foaled 1916 in Kentucky) was an American-bred Thoroughbred racehorse who was named U.S. Champion Older Male Horse in 1921.


Bred by August Belmont, Jr., he was sired by the great Fair Play, the sire of Man o' War, out of another Rock Sand mare, Mad Cap. He was foaled one year earlier than Man o'War and was a full brother to Belmont Stakes winner Mad Play.

Trained by Sam Hildreth and ridden most of the time by the great jockey Earl Sande, Mad Hatter was known as much for his erratic temperament as for his racing ability. Sande was one of the few jockeys that understood Mad Hatter, especially in his later years.

Racing career[edit]

Late to mature, Mad Hatter was lightly raced and won the Bellerose Stakes as a two-year-old.

At three, he won the Minneola Handicap easily, having only been to the post twice before and never at more than a mile. Then he lost to Sir Barton in the Maryland Handicap at Laurel Park Racecourse, placing second after running fractions of :22 2/5, and :46 3/5. Sir Barton beat him by two lengths.

After winning the inaugural Latonia Championship Stakes over a muddy track by 8 lengths, Mad Hatter went on to Pimlico Race Course in November in the Pimlico Autumn Handicap, beating Sir Barton, who placed a distant third, twelve lengths behind him.

In his next race, the Saratoga Handicap, again against Sir Barton and Exterminator, he got into a speed duel with The Porter and placed last.

In 1921, Mad Hatter won the Jockey Club Gold Cup and the Metropolitan Handicap and was named U.S. Champion Older Male Horse.

Mad Hatter continued to win graded stakes races as a campaigner with a repeat win of the Jockey Club Gold Cup in 1922, the Toboggan Handicap in 1923, and the Suburban and Queens County Handicaps in 1924.

Stud career[edit]

Fertility problems were reported for Mad Hatter. His brother, Belmont Stakes winner Mad Play, was completely sterile. However, out of 177 foals, Mad Hatter sired 23 graded stakes winners such as The Nut, Cocked Hat, Cresta Run, and the champion filly Snowflake.