10 Facts about Equipoise

Updated: Sep 4, 2019

Equipoise, champion racehorse from 1930 to 1935 and unofficial Horse of the Year .
Keeneland Library Cook Collection. This image is protected by copyright and may not be reproduced in print or electronically without written permission of the Keeneland Library.

Equipoise raced from 1930-1935, earning himself a record of 51:29-10-4. Read 10 facts about this incredible racehorse below!

1. Equipoise was nicknamed “The Chocolate Soldier” by his fans because of his liver chestnut coat and the balance he possessed.

2. The horse’s career was plagued with feet problems. He had thin-soled and thin-walled hooves. However, it was tendon injuries that caused the horse to retire.

3. The 1930 Pimlico Futurity is considered one of Equipoise’s greatest races. The colt was left at the post, threw both of his front shoes, sustained a quarter crack, and still won the race!

4. Equipoise was not as celebrated when he was a yearling. He was considered an “ugly-duckling” because he was small and unimpressive. It was because of this that he was sent to the Whitney family’s second-string trainer, Fred Hopkins.

5. Equipoise never got much of a chance to prove himself at stud. He stood for just four seasons before passing away at ten years old. He was named Champion Sire when his son Shut Out won the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes four-years later.

6. When Equipoise’s breeder Harry Payne Whitney passed away, the horse was transferred to the care of Harry’s son Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney. Equipoise got him his very first victory as an owner, convincing him to carry on his father’s racing legacy.

7. Equipoise landed in the 21st slot of BloodHorse’s ranking of the top 100 horses of that century.

8. Equipoise received many honors during his racing career. He was Co-Champion Two-Year Old Male in 1930, Horse of the Year in 1932 and 1933, and Champion Handicap Horse from 1932-1934.

9. Equipoise was honored in Saratoga’s 2013 inaugural class for their Hoofprints Walk of Fame.

10. Equipoise is mentioned in one of the opening numbers of the popular musical Guys & Dolls. The song is all about choosing which horse to bet on in the races and one of the characters mentions that Equipoise is the great-grandfather of one of the horses in the race.

[Video: Hear the song from fact #10 here]


Author - Kaeli Bartholomew: I run Champions of the Track as a way to spread the love of horse racing through writing, photography, and videography. The best way to increase the popularity and respect for this sport is by sharing stories and memories! Thank you for joining me on my mission to improve and grow the sport of horse racing.

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Unofficial Thoroughbred Hall of Fame

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