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Breeders Corner \ Teddy

16 June

In the first decades of the 20th Century, racing and breeding took on a truly international flavour. When gambling was outlawed in New York in 1908, many of the leading owners in the U.S. shifted a large part of their racing and breeding stock to England and France to compete.

French bloodlines became more familiar to American breeders, who appreciated the Gallic fascination with stamina; and the French didn't snub American strains that were considered "impure" in England. There was a healthy play back and forth between the continent and America, and few horses epitomized that more than Teddy and his sons.

Born in 1913, Teddy was sold to Capt. Jefferson Davis Cohn, godson of American Civil War Confederate president Jefferson Davis, for 5,400 francs.

His racing career was slim partly due to World War I, which erupted when he was a yearling. He was shipped to the San Sebastian racecourse in Spain, where he began to race as a three-year-old, winning 5 of his 7 starts.

His record in Spain included a win at his maiden race, the Gran Premio San Sebastian (2400m), a win at the "Spanish St. Leger" Premio Villamejor (2800m) and finished third in the Copa d'Oro del Re (2400m).

In France, he won the Prix Darbonnay (1700m), Prix Darney, and Prix des Trois Ans (2400m) - amazingly, within 8 days of each other - and finished third in the Prix d'Elevage. He raced once as a four-year-old, the Prix des Sablonieres (2400m), which he won and retired with a record of 6 wins in 8 starts.

An unmarked bay standing a little more that 16 hands high, Teddy was not the typical French thoroughbred of the time, an era and country in love with stamina.

Although proving he was up to the classic distances, he was a more full-bodied type like his duplicated ancestor Bend Or, but well balanced, with powerful shoulders and large hindquarters. Teddy's forearm was long and cannon short, although he was a little light of bone below the knee. He appeared just slightly over at the knee, a characteristic he shared with his dam's sire Bay Ronald. Teddy's hind leg was a model, with a good angle to the hock. As a sire, he did not stamp his progeny in any particular size, model or aptitude; but he got a good big, handsome individual, usually with that wonderful long forearm, short cannon and big hindquarter.

Teddy covered a few of Cohn's mares as a five-year-old year, including the Spearmint daughter Plucky Liege, which Cohn had acquired from his one-time employer Lord Michelham.

The filly resulting from that union in 1918 was Marguerite de Valois, who was stakes-placed. Imported to the U.S., she is the tail-female ancestress - through the good race mare Hostility - of Fappiano, Ogygian and Quiet American.

Teddy stood at various locations early in his career. When finally let out of training, he stood the 1920 season at Haras de Fitz-James, and later at Haras du Bois Roussel (at Alencon, Orne), which J.D. Cohn leased as a headquarters for his breeding stock for many years.

The Leading Sire in France in 1923, and in the top 3 in 1925, 1926, 1928, 1929, and 1932; Teddy ultimately sired 65 stakes winners. His first top class runner was Sir Gallahad (Poule d'Essai des Poulains - French 2,000 Guineas), foaled in 1920.

Another from that first crop was the stakes-winning filly Lady Elinor, later dam of Vatellor. From his third crop, in 1920, Plucky Liege produced the brilliant colt Sir Gallahad, who helped jump his sire to the top of the French stallion list in 1923. The same crop produced the filly Anna Bolena who added to the glamour with a win in the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (French 1,000 Guineas).

The 1922 crop yielded up Asterus (Poule d'Essai des Poulains, Champion Stakes), and the good colts Aethelstan and Ptolemy, followed by the quality performers Medea, La Moqueuse, Brumeux, Leonidas, Ortello, Elsa de Brabant, while 1927 was a good year for Teddy with both the English Oaks winner Rose of England and Bull Dog, who has been a huge influence as a stallion.

From Teddy's second crop came Sir Gallahad (out of Plucky Liege by Spearmint), one of his best runners and best sire sons. Bred in France by Jefferson Davis Cohn and the second foal out of his great broodmare mother, he was one of the best colts of his crop, but Sir Gallahad's exploits were overshadowed by Epinard, who dominated his crop and was sent to America for a series of special international events. Sir Gallahad scored in 12 races from 24 starts, but his career as a stallion was much more important.

Sir Gallahad was sold to stand at Claiborne Stud in Kentucky, and in 1930 became America's Leading Sire with just 2 crops running, the first including the great Gallant Fox. This led to a pair of significant importations in 1931, the first being Sir Gallahad's full brother Bull Dog, and the second, none other than Teddy himself.

A driving factor in this turn of events may have been Cohn's business reversals in 1929 and an ugly divorce in 1931. A few years later, he sold Haras du Bois Roussel to Leon Volterra lock stock and barrel, including the stallions Admiral Drake and Vatout, and the aging blue hen Plucky Liege (dam of Admiral Drake, Sir Gallahad, Bull Dog, Quatre Bras, Margueritede Valois, Elsade Brabant, etc.), who was carrying Derby winner Bois Roussel at the time.

Another great contributor for Teddy was his non-winning daughter La Troienne who changed the face of American breeding altogether and is considered one of the greatest broodmares in American history.

Teddy's daughters also exerted a lasting influence. The most important, of course, was La Troienne, who produced 5 stakes winners led by champions Bimelech and Black Helen. She's the tail-female ancestress of many champions and classic winners including Busher, Buckpasser, Straight Deal, Numbered Account, Easy Goer and Smarty Jones.

Teddy's other good broodmare daughters were Anna Bolena (dam of Mary Tudor), Rose of England (dam of British Empire, Chulmleigh), Royal Mistress (dam of Atout Maitre), Celerina (dam of Grand Prix de Paris winner Pensbury), Glorieuse (dam of Italian champion Gladiolo), Tara (sire of Norseman, Sans Tares), Lady Elinor (dam of Vatellor), Marguerite de Valois (dam of Hostility), Mercia (dam of Le Petit Prince), Persephone (dam of Amfortas), Queen Iseult (dam of Le Ksar and William of Valence), Assignation (ancestress of Alleged and Secretariat), Coeur A Coeur (a foundation mare for Marcel Boussac and granddam of Djebel), Boxeuse (granddam of Herbager) and Tedmelia.

In Australasia the presence of Teddy has been felt strongly for more than seven decades with the likes of Le Filou, Noble Bijou, Zabeel, Woodman, Sadlers Wells, Snippets, Danehill, High Chaparral, Galileo, More Than Ready, Frankel, Redoutes Choice, Snitzel, Exceed and Excel, Tavistock, Darci Brahma, Dundeel, Kermadec, and our very own Tarzino.

Teddy saw his first dawn in France and ended his days in America. His influence on the breed likewise started in France and crossed the Atlantic many times, making Teddy one of the most important stallions of the twentieth century and a truly international star.

Credit to Wikipedia and Thoroughbred Heritage for the above information.

Pictured: Teddy