Unofficial Thoroughbred Hall of Fame


The leading yearling sales of the mid-nineteenth century were held by Daniel Swigert at R.A. Alexander's Woodburn Stud in Kentucky, home of the great sire Lexington and the first commercial thoroughbred farm in America. When he left Woodburn, Swigert began his own operation at Stockwood Farm, breeding horses and pinhooking yearlings. Here, he raised and trained such horses as 1870 Belmont Stakes winner Kingfisher, 1873 Belmont Stakes winner Springbok, and 1877 Kentucky Derby winner Baden-Baden. He was later the breeder of the champions Salvator and Firenze, as well as the Kentucky Derby winners Ben Ali and Apollo.

The best homebred to race for Daniel Swigert was Hindoo, a bay colt foaled at Stockwood Farm in April of 1878. Hindoo was by Virgil, the Leading Sire of 1885, and out of Florence, a half sister to Kentucky Derby winner Fonso sired by Woodburn Stud's phenomenal Lexington. Florence also produced Florida, the dam of Firenze. Captain Jim Williams, upon seeing the colt as a suckling foal, offered Swigert one thousand dollars. Daniel Swigert turned him down.

As a juvenile, Hindoo was trained by Lee Paul, and carried the colors of Daniel Swigert, breaking his maiden in his first attempt when he cantered off with the Colt and Filly Stakes at Lexington.

Six days later, Hindoo scored a length and a half victory in the Alexander Stakes at Churchill Downs, and won at that track again five days later when he took the Tennessee Stakes.

In St. Louis he won the Juvenile Stakes by four lengths and three days later took the one mile Jockey Club Stakes by two lengths. The story was the same in Chicago, where he won the Criterion Stakes and the Tremont Hotel Stakes in a span of five days.

At Saratoga he ran third in the Windsor Hotel Stakes and second in the Day Boat Line Stakes. Having won seven straight races, Hindoo was forgiven the two losses at Saratoga. He was clearly the class of his division, having won $9,800, and the Dwyer Brothers paid fifteen thousand dollars to add him to their stable.

Conditioned by James Rowe, Sr., Hindoo made his three-year-old debut in Lexington's Blue Ribbon Stakes, winning by three lengths.

Five days later he went to post as the favorite in the Kentucky Derby. He led from wire to wire, easily shaking off challenges by virtually every member of the field to win by an effortless four lengths, eased up. Hindoo proceeded to knock off a series of eighteen straight victories, a feat no modern horse had duplicated. Cigar and Citation come closest, each having won sixteen straight.

After the Derby, Hindoo raced once more at Churchill Downs, winning the Clark Stakes by six lengths, before heading east. He took a pair of purses at Jerome Park within a span of three days. At Sheepshead Bay he won the Tidal Stakes, then was sent off at odds of one to twenty in the Coney Island Derby. Hindoo did not disappoint, winning by ten lengths.

At Monmouth Park Hindoo won the Ocean Stakes and the Lorrillard Stakes, and having sufficiently chased off the competition, won his final race there in a walkover. At Saratoga he won the Travers Stakes, then run at a mile and three quarters; the Sequel Stakes, which he won by six lengths; the United States Hotel Stakes, which at the time was a mile and a half event for three-year-olds; the two mile Kenner Stakes, which he won by five lengths.

Upon Hindoo's return to Monmouth he galloped off with the Champion Stakes at a mile and a half, winning by three lengths, and three days later took the Jersey St. Leger by four lengths.

Next came a purse of mile heats at Sheepshead Bay, in which he won the first heat by four lengths and the second by six. Hindoo won another purse at Sheepshead Bay only four days after the heat race.

The eighteen wins covered a span of less than four months, while Cigar was given about nineteen months to accumulate his sixteen wins a century later. Citation took a little more than eight months.

When Hindoo ran second to Crickmore, whom he had beaten four times previously, in the Brighton Beach Handicap, and then third behind him in the September Handicap, it was evident that Hindoo needed a rest. He was retired for the year with earnings of $49,100.

As a four-year-old, Hindoo ran second to in the Dixiana Stakes at Churchill Downs in his season debut. Two days later he won the Louisville Cup at two and a half miles. Next came the Merchants Stakes, only four days later, and Hindoo was again the winner. He won the Turf Handicap by eight lengths, then returned to Sheepshead Bay.

Hindoo won the Coney Island Stakes and the Coney Island Cup before coming up lame. Retired with a bowed tendon, he had accumulated a career total of $71,875 in earnings, with thirty victories in thirty five starts. The great horse had never been out of the money. Hindoo was sold to Colonel E.F. Clay and Colonel Catesby Woodford for $9,000 cash and a two-year-old filly by Billet destined to become the first American runner to earn $100,000.

At stud, Hindoo ranked near the top of the sires' list for many years, siring the champions Hanover and Sallie McClelland, the classic winner Buddhist, and numerous stakes winners including Hindoocraft and Merry Monarch. He also sired the dams of 1906 Preakness winner Whimsical, the champion colt Helios, and the champion filly Blue Girl.

Hindoo was a charter member of the Hall of Fame, which was created in 1955, and was a member of the Daily Racing Form'sHall of Fame much earlier. He passed away in July of 1901.

Hindoo's Race Record

Year Starts Wins Seconds Thirds Earnings
Lifetime 35 30 3 2 $72,340

Hindoo, 1878 bay colt

Virgil Vandal Glencoe Sultan
Mare by Tranby
Hymenia Yorkshire St. Nicholas
Miss Rose
Little Peggy Cripple
Peggy Stuart
Florence Lexington Boston Timoleon
Mare by Florizel
Alice Carneal Sarpedon
Weatherwitch Weatherbit Sheet Anchor
Miss Letty
Daughter of Birdcatcher


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

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