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10 Facts About Bold Ruler

Bold Ruler at Churchill Downs on 4.30.57. Photo from the Keeneland Library Meadors Collection. This image is protected by copyright and may not be reproduced in print or electronically without written permission of the Keeneland Library.

1. Bold Ruler is apart of a three-generation Preakness Stakes winning chain. He won the Preakness in 1957, his son Secretariat won it in 1973, and Secretariat’s son Risen Star won it in 1988. There is only one other three-generation Preakness chain in horse racing.

2. Bold Ruler excelled in both sprint races and in distance races. His combination of speed and stamina helped him tremendously as a sire.

3. Although Bold Ruler’s career was plagued with unsoundness issues, he managed to races 33 times, ending his career with a record of 33:23-4-2.

4. Trainer Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons contributed Bold Ruler’s loss in the Kentucky Derby to a sore tongue. He had caught his tongue on something in his stall when he was a yearling and nearly ripped it in half. Fitzsimmons applied a cloth bandage around Bold Ruler’s tongue before the Preakness Stakes to alleviate some of the pressure from the bit. The change worked and Bold Ruler easily won the race.

5. In 1957, Bold Ruler was named Horse of the Year and Champion Three-Year Old Male. He was named Champion Sprint Horse the following year.

6. Though good on the racetrack, Bold Ruler truly excelled at stud. Of his 366 named foals, Bold Ruler sired 240 winners and 80 stakes winners.

7. 11 of Bold Ruler’s foals became Champions including horses like Secretariat, Gamely, Lamb Chop, and Bold Bidder.

8. Bold Ruler was the grandsire of horses like Ruffian, Foolish Pleasure, Bold Forbes, and Spectacular Bid.

9. Claiborne Farm was the birthplace and the final resting place of Bold Ruler. He is buried near his great son Secretariat.

10. Bold Ruler was the first horse to ever be given radiation therapy for cancer. He was euthanized because of sinus cancer in 1971.


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