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10 Facts About Domino, The 19th Century's Toughest Sprinter

Racehorse Domino, a 19th century sprinter. Sire of Cap And Bells, Commando, and Disguise.
Domino, undated. Keeneland Library Hemmet Collection. This image is protected by copyright and may not be reproduced in print or electronically without written permission of the Keeneland Library.

Domino (1891-1897) is known as one of the best sprinters of the 19th century. He was tough, gritty, and fast. Read 10 facts about him below.

  1. Domino was a very dark color, but some people swore he was chestnut in the sunlight. His “varying” color and great ability earned him several nicknames, including: “The Black Whirlwind” and “The Brown Phenomenon”.

  2. Domino’s regular jockey Fred Taral was known for his liberal use of the whip and Domino hated him for it. He tried biting his jockey every time he got the chance. Domino’s hatred for Taral got so bad that a blanket had to be placed over his head so the jockey could mount.

  3. Foxhall Keene purchased Domino for $3,000 at the 1892 Tattersall’s Yearling Sale in New York. The average price of a yearling that year was $895.

  4. Domino was only beaten once at sprint distances, earning him the reputation of being one of the best sprinters of all time.

  5. Just two days after winning The Futurity in 1893, Domino was entered into a match race with Dobbins. Dobbins had finished third in The Futurity but his owner was sure that his horse was the best. The match race didn’t prove anything to anyone - it ended in a dead heat.

  6. Domino was plagued with injuries throughout his entire career. He bowed both front tendons during timed workouts as a youngster and later dealt with foot problems. Both of these things are what led to his retirement at four.

  7. Domino was named Champion Two-Year Old Colt and Horse of the Year in 1893. He was also Co-Champion Three-Year Old Colt in 1894.

  8. Domino ended his career with a record of 25:19-2-1 and earnings of $193,550.

  9. Domino sired just nineteen horses. Among them were Cap and Bells, Commando, and Disguise. Many great racehorses descend from his bloodlines, including: Colin, Equipoise, Gallant Fox, War Admiral, Whirlaway, Sweep, and more.

  10. Domino died of spinal meningitis in 1897. He had been turned out in his paddock and was later found lying down, paralyzed. Many people believe that he had an accident in his paddock that led to the paralyzation. He was just six years old.


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