Unofficial Thoroughbred Hall of Fame


Members of the Whitney family, including Harry Payne Whitney, Mrs. Payne Whitney, Mr. and Mrs. John Hay Whitney, and Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, have been met in the winner's circle by such horses as two-time Horse of the Year Equipoise, Handicap Triple Crown winner Whisk Broom II, the Kentucky Derby winners Regret and Whiskery, the champions Counterpoint, Burgomaster, and Mother Goose, and Citation's champion daughter Silver Spoon. When William Collins Whitney, founder of the Whitney family fortune, President Cleveland's Sectretary of the Navy, and breeder of twenty-six stakes winners, died in February of 1904, his stable was leased to Herman B. Duryea. Among the horses in the Whitney stable was Artful, a two-year-old daughter of Hamburg, the 1898 Horse of the Year for whom John E. Madden named his great breeding farm Hamburg Place.

John W. Rogers was responsible for conditioning Artful. Before working for the Whitney family, he had trained the champion Clifford during part of his career, winning twenty three races with him, and he also handled the Belmont Stakes winners Tanya and Burgomaster. Known for his caution with weight assignments, John Rogers would take his contract rider off of a horse, and replace him with a lighter rider, in order to save a few pounds. His horses did not carry so much as a pound overweight, if it could be avoided.

Artful made her first start in August of 1904, running second to a stablemate, Dreamer. She repeated the performance the next time out, obviously held back so that the other horse, this time Princess Rupert, could win, as Herman Duryea had predicted. The Daily Racing Form's Frank Brunnell hailed her as "a genuine crackerjack" who should have won both races with ease. She never lost again.

Artful in the paddock

The highlight of Artful's career came when she won the Futurity at Sheepshead Bay by five lengths, passing the unbeaten wonder horse Sysonby "as if he were anchored." And indeed the great horse was, for it was later discovered the colt had been tranquilized by a groom from Keene's stable. Also finishing behind the brilliant filly were the future classic winners Tanya and Agile, as well as the previously unbeaten filly Tradition and the Canadian champion Oiseau. It was said to be the finest field of juveniles ever assembled.

After cantering to victory in the Great Filly Stakes, Artful was assigned 130 pounds for the White Plains Handicap. Giving twenty nine pounds to a colt named Dandelion, she effortlessly blazed to a new world record time of 1:08 for six furlongs. It wasn't until 1954, when Vestment ran six furlongs in 1:07 4/5 with the benefits of a straight course and the light burden of 115 pounds, that the filly's time was beaten.


W.C. Whitney's estate auction was held on the day following the White Plains Handicap. Artful was among the twenty four horses sold, as were the rest of the horses that had been leased to Herman Duryea. Harry Payne Whitney paid $10,000 for the champion filly bred by his father. The bargain price was due in part to the lack of opportunity for three-year-old distaffers, and in part to Artful's reputation as a sprinter. Also purchased by H.P. Whitney that day were Burgomaster, who went on to win the Belmont Stakes and earn Horse of the Year honors; Tanya, who also scored in the Belmont Stakes; and Daisy F., who became the second dam of 1915 Kentucky Derby winner and Horse of the Year Regret.

After a pair of six furlong romps, Artful proved herself more than a sprinter, winning the mile and a quarter Brighton Handicap from John A. Drake's four-year-old colt Ort Wells, conqueror of August Belmont's Beldame three days earlier in the Brighton Mile. Artful gained the lead on the first turn, and, the Daily Racing Form reported, "came on leisurely and won pulled up." The beaten field included the champion mare Beldame, as well as Delhi, winner of the 1904 Belmont Stakes.

Retired and sent first to Brookdale Stud in New Jersey, and then briefly to England, Artful produced only four foals. Three of them were winners, but none of them won a stakes race. Artful passed away in 1927, and was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1956.

Artful's Race Record

Year Starts Wins Seconds Thirds Earnings
Lifetime 8 6 2 0 $81,125

Artful, 1902 brown filly

Hamburg Hanover Hindoo Virgil
Bourbon Belle *Bonnie Scotland
Ella D.
Lady Reel Fellowcraft *Australian
Mannie Gray Enquirer
Lizzie G.
Martha II *Dandie Dinmont Silvio Blair Athol
Meg Merrilies Macgregor
Louise T. *Rayon d'Or Flageolet
Spark Leamington
Mary Clark


Recommended titles include: Champions from the Daily Racing Form, Thoroughbred Champions: Top 100 of the 20th Century from Blood-Horse, and Man O' War: Thoroughbred Legends #1 by Edward L. Bowen, as well as Seabiscuit on DVD .
Seabiscuit DVD

This text protected by all applicable copyright laws. Do not duplicate or distribute without written permission. © Spiletta42.