has long been considered one of the greatest runners in American racing.
He is also important as a progenitor because it's through his male
descendants that the Domino male line survives into modern times.
Bred in Kentucky
by James R. Keene at his Castleton Stud, Colin was from the third
crop by Commando, who died from tetanus in March of the year his greatest
son was foaled. His dam, stakes-winning *Pastorella, had produced
two foals in England by St. Serf and Donovan, and was imported in
foal to Kendal in 1899. Keene purchased her in 1901 when she was offered
in the dispersal of Marcus Daly's Bitter Root Stud, paying $10,000,
which was the top price for a mare at that sale.
colt was named for the pastoral poem "Poor Colin" by English poet
laureate Nicholas Rowe, as an honor to Keene's trainer, James Rowe. It might
not have seemed much of an honor at the time, since the colt was born
with an enlarged hock. But nothing proved to slow Colin down.
He was undefeated
in 12 starts at two, and set or equaled speed marks set by older horses
on three occasions. He broke his maiden in his debut by two lengths.
He won the National Stallion Stakes in his second start, setting a
new track record of :58 for five furlongs. Although bucking shins,
he won the Eclipse Stakes by a head over Beaucoup, the closest anyone
ever got to beating him. He then won nine more stakes that season
starting with the Great Trial Stakes, then the Brighton Junior, Saratoga
Special, Grand Union Hotel Stakes, Futurity, Flatbush, Produce, Matron,
and Champagne Stakes. In the Flatbush Stakes, he equaled the track
record at Sheepshead Bay for seven furlongs. He defeated Fair Play
by five easy lengths in the Produce Stakes. He carried 129 pounds
to again defeat Fair Play (122) in the Matron Stakes. In the Champagne
Stakes, he set a new American record of 1:23 for seven furlongs.
At three, Colin
started only three times, opening the season with a whirlwind score
in the one mile Withers Stakes by two lengths over Fair Play and King
James. He went into the 1 3/8 miles Belmont Stakes with rumors that
he had bowed a tendon in his previous effort, and had actually pulled
up lame in his last workout prior to the classic event. His trainer,
James Rowe advised against starting in the classic, but Keene insisted
his horse was good enough to overcome anything. Colin won the Belmont
by a furious head over Fair Play in a heavy rain, both horses full
extended. Following that race there continued to be talk that Colin
wasn't right in one foreleg. He returned in the 1 1/4 miles Tidal
Handicap three weeks later, which he won with ease by two lengths
over Dorante. This victory proved to be his last race.
In June of 1908,
betting on racing had been declared illegal in New York, and Keene,
like many Americans, sent a substantial string of horses to England
to race. Colin was among them, given to Sam Darling at his Beckhampton
yard. Colin trained and won a trial, but went wrong in that weakened
leg before he could start as a four-year-old. He was finally retired
with a record of 15 wins in as many starts and earnings of $178,100.
Colin in the Stud
The American-bred son of Commando stood
his first season in 1909 at Heath Stud, near the English breeding
center at Newmarket, for a fee of 98 guineas. Despite Keene's pride
in the great colt, fortune cast one last blow. Colin proved extremely
infertile, and English breeders looked elsewhere. Only one foal from
his English excursion left the slightest influence, the colt GENTLE SHEPHERD (out of Yesterling by Sterling) who sired Shepherdess, the
second dam of the sprinter *Fair Truckle.
James R. Keene
died in 1913 and the Castleton Stud bloodstock was dispersed on September
2, 1913 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Colin, who was still
in England at the time of the sale and whose fertility problems were
already common knowledge, was purchased for $30,000 by Wickliffe Stud,
a partnership between James Corrigan and Price McKinney. After only
five years, the Wickliffe bloodstock was dispersed on January 15,
1918 and the 13-year-old Colin was purchased for $5,100 by Edward
B. McLean, who stood the horse at Captain Raymond Belmont's (son of
August Belmont II) Belray Farm, near Middleburg, Virginia. It was
here that Colin died in 1932 at the age of 27.
As a stallion,
Colin was a mixture of success and failure. He suffered from serious
fertility problems, getting only 83 foals in 23 crops, but of those,
11 were stakes winners, for an excellent 13 percent, and his name
persists in enough important pedigrees to hint that had he been a
normal foal-getter, his stallion record would have been much more
His best runner
was JOCK (1924 out of Kathleen by *Sempronius), a tough campaigner
with 17 wins in 68 starts and $95,255. Stakes-placed at two, he was
a stakes winner at three, four, and five, and was placed third in
the 1927 Kentucky Derby. He was not a good sire, however, with only
five stakes winners. Another
good one was NEDDIE (1926 out of Black Flag by *Light Brigade), a
stakes winner at two, and the sire of Good Goods, who sired the champion
|ON WATCH (1917
out of Rubia Granda by Greenan) was a stakes winner and the good sire
of stakes winners War Plumage, Sortie, Tick On, Time Clock, and the
broodmare Stop Watch, who produced the champion Stymie. On Watch also
sired Sortie's winning brother Brazado, who became a useful sire for
King Ranch, getting Curandero and Flash Burn as well as Rocket Gun,
the dam of champion High Gun.
daughters became good broodmares and show up in influential pedigrees.
SLOW AND EASY was the dam of three stakes winners as well as Easy
Lass, dam of champions Coaltown and Wistful. HERD GIRL produced the
champion racemare Late Date (dam of War Date, Beau Busher, and important
broodmare Stolen Hour). Stakes winner DREAM OF ALLAH produced Time
Maker. Garden Rose, a sister to Dream of Allah, produced the good
runner and sire Rosemont. Dina Did produced He Did. COMIXA produced
Sun Mixa and Lady Nicotine.
Colin was a big
horse, on the leg but well-balanced with powerful muscling, especially
in his hindquarters. Like his sire, Commando, he was not the most
refined specimen and his profile was somewhat roman. A seal brown
horse, he had a star on his forehead, separated from a narrow blaze
that began half way down his muzzle and ended in a snip going into
his right nostril. He also had three white feet, the left front ankle,
left hind ankle, and right hind with a half stocking.
Despite all efforts
toward extinction, first with Domino's death after two seasons at
stud, then with his son Commando's death after only four seasons,
and despite Colin's serious infertility, the male line of Domino has
managed to survive into the 21st Century. From Colin, it passed through
Neddie, sire of Good Goods, sire of Alsab, sire of Armageddon, sire
of Battle Joined, sire of Horse of the Year Ack Ack, who sired of
America's 1994 Leading Sire Broad Brush.
to the greatness of Colin lies in the words of his trainer, James
Rowe Sr., one of the greatest trainers in American racing history.
He wanted for his epitaph three simple words: "He trained Colin."
-- Anne Peters