*Medley was the most significant American stallion during the last
quarter of the 1700s, reigning between the eras of *Fearnought and
*Diomed. He was a horse of extraordinary beauty and class who passed
on his best qualities to his offspring with great consistency.
*Medley was a
grey colt foaled in 1776 and bred in England by Lord Grosvenor, although
the General Stud Book shows him as the property of "Mr. Medley."
His sire was the tough little Gimcrack, also a grey, and a very popular horse in his racing days. Medley's dam, Arminda, was a full sister to Papillon, sired by Snap out of Miss
Cleveland (by Regulus), next dam Midge (by a son of Bay Bolton), next
dam by Bartlet's Childers, next dam "a Sister to the Two True Blues"
by Honeywood's Arabian-next dam the "Dam of the Two True Blues" by
the Byerley Turk, founder of Family #3.
*Medley was owned
during his racing career by "the wild" Sir John Lade. The grey horse
was a very successful runner over four seasons of racing in the early
1780s, winning 11 plates, including two matches. He became the property
of Richard Tattersalls who, after his racing career was over, sold
him for about $500 to the firm of Hart and McDonald of Louisa, Virginia.
*Medley's journey to America came in the company of half a dozen other
stallions purchased as an investment to be resold upon their arrival
in America. They were part of the steady flow of English stallions
that had begun immediately following the 1783 repeal of the Non-Importation
Act of 1771, which had forbade stallions from being imported into
Virginia during that time of political strife.
*Medley and his
companion stallions arrived in 1784 in Virginia on Captain McNabb's
good ship "Theodorick." Malcolm Hart, a partner in this
venture, was apparently taken by Medley and decided to keep the elegant
grey for himself, standing him at his stable at Hanover Court House
in Virginia and so *Medley became known as "Hart's Medley". Hart maintained
ownership but moved the stallion to a new location within the Old
Dominion every season for eight years, although eventually, he sold
fifty percent of the horse to James Wilkinson. Not long after, *Medley
colicked and died at Wilkinson's Millbrook Plantation in Southampton
County, Virginia along the banks of the Mechanic River. The year was
1792 and *Medley was only 16-years-old.
In his eight
seasons at stud, however, *Medley had cut quite a swath. Like his
sire Gimcrack, he was a small grey horse, standing just a half inch
over 14 hands, but unlike Gimcrack, *Medley showed remarkable quality,
with exceptional legs, balance, strength, and good looks. Much of
the latter was attributed to his dam's sire Snap. *Medley's offspring
followed suit, highlighted by the fact that many of them were also
grey, and generally small like himself. *Medley's progeny also had
tremendous stamina, good legs, bold eyes, and a physical beauty that
was proclaimed to demonstrate their "exceptional purity of blood".
One of *Medley's best patrons was John Tayloe III of the famed Mount
Airy stud who noted that *Medley's stock "is decidedly the best we
have had. His colts were the best racers of their day, although they
were generally small; but their limbs were remarkably fine, and they
were distinguished for their ability to carry weight." *Medley, it
was said, "like Sir Archy, could get a winner on any sort of a thoroughbred
mare - and some times on mares that were not thoroughbred."
many winners, the best as a racer and a sire was Tayloe's Bellair II,
a grey colt foaled in 1786, bred and owned Tayloe,
although the records have failed to record the identity of his dam.
A tremendous runner, "champion of the Virginia turf," his only defeat came at the hands of another
son of *Medley named Gimcrack. At stud Bellair's lasting influence
comes mainly through his daughter, The Pryor Mare, whose dam, a daughter
of *Medley (making The Pryor Mare inbred 2x2 to *Medley), was the
founder of the American Family A3. Another daughter of Bellair produced
the great racemare Haynie's Maria (by Diomed). A third is a key link
in the A15 family. Bellair also sired Northumberland, who had a few
daughters who appear in pedigrees. Bellair is in the pedigree of Fair Play, who has two other strains of Medley, and Enquirer, broodmare sire of Domino, who had other strains of Medley as well.
*Medley sired a score of other top class sons. Tayloe's Quicksilver
was a good sire, and a daughter of his is a key link in the A13 family
tracing to Picayune. Tayloe's Grey Diomed sired three important daughters,
Belle Maria (the dam of Robin Grey, in the pedigree of Lexington's
dam), and the second dams of Princess Ann and Fanny Wright. GreyDiomed's daughter, Amanda, was a good four mile racehorse and dam of Duroc, an erratic racer, who sired American Eclipse. Page's
Boxer sired Mendoza. Hoskin's Melzar sired Maria (also in the dam
line of Lexington) and Minerva. Barry's Grey Medley was a foundation
sire in early Tennessee breeding. Randolph's Gimcrack (who had defeated
Tayloe's Bellair) sired the second dam of Directress. Craig's Alfred
sired Hart's Maria (out of The Pryor Mare by Tayloe's Bellair). Young
Medley and Lamplighter were also good sons of *Medley.
were equally effective. A close second to Bellair in quality on the
track and at stud was *Medley's daughter, Tayloe's Calypso. Medley
also sired mares who founded three American families, A3, A4, and
A36. Medley Mare #1, out of "a thoroughbred mare belonging to T. D.
Owings of Virginia", was the founder of A3. Dam of the previously
mentioned The Pryor Mare, from her sprang American greats including
Spendthrift, Wildidle, Sweep On, Hyder Ali, and many others. Medley Mare #2, Calypso, an own sister to Bellair II, was defeated only once in her racing carrer. She is the founder of A4. She produced a mare by Stirling, dam of the famous
Fanny Maria, from which descend an extremely broad-reaching family
including Wanda, Durbar II, Swaps, Iron Liege, Kauai King, and modern
representatives Gulch, Althea and Green Desert, the latter two being
a daughter and grandson respectively of the 1983 Kentucky Broodmare
of the Year, Courtly Dee. The A36 family is not as distinguished,
but produced Kentucky Derby winner Judge Himes. Yet another important
daughter was Johnson's Old Medley Mare, dam of the great racemares
Vanity and Reality, both sired by Sir Archy.
And so *Medley's
line flourished through both his many capable sons and daughters.
Best of all, *Medley nicked particularly well with the successor to
his crown as Leading Sire in America, the great *Diomed.