Unofficial Thoroughbred Hall of Fame

Sir Archy

The first great thoroughbred to be foaled in America was Sir Archy, a bay son of *Diomed, the first Epsom Derby winner, and *Castianira, a blind granddaughter of Highflyer. He was born in Cumberland County, Virginia, in 1805, and after a successful racing career, became a sire second to none. His vast influence was explained in the American Turf Register of 1828:

"He had done as much for the Turf stock of this country as the Godolphin Arabian, King Herod, or Highflyer for that of Great Britian. Most of the best stock at present in this country are either immediately from the loins of Sir Archy or have been produced from his sons and daughters."

Colonel John Tayloe III won more races than any other American breeder of his time. Between 1791 and 1806, his horses won a remarkable 113 races in 141 starts. The best horse he ever bred, however, did not race in his name. Sir Archy was bred by Tayloe in partnership with Captain Archibald Randolph, owner of the Ben Lomond Plantation, and he was sold as a two-year-old to Ralph Wormeley IV, who gave the colt his name.

Hoping for a profit, Wormeley offered the horse for sale, describing him as "a fraction over 16 hands high, vigorous, clean limbed and swift, of ideal proportions." There were no buyers, however, and Sir Archy contracted a case of strangles, which is an extremely contagious bacterial infection of the upper respiratory tract. He had still not fully recovered when he made his first start, and the colt was distanced in a sweepstakes in Washington, D.C.

The next time out, Sir Archy ran in the Fairfield Sweepstakes at Richmond. Wrangler, the winner of the first heat, fell during the second four miles, and Colonel William Ransom Johnson's True Blue prevailed in the second and third heats. Sir Archy was third behind Virginus, but nevertheless attracted the attention of Colonel Johnson, who paid $1,500 for him.

Put under the management of Arthur Taylor, Sir Archy came back as a four-year-old to break his maiden, winning his third start. In the Jockey Club Purse at Fairfield, he distanced the good horse Wrangler, and he also won a Jockey Club Purse at Petersburg. In the final race of his career, he defeated General Stephen Carney's Blank and set a new record of 7:53 for four miles. Retired for lack of competition, he was sold to General William R. Davie for $5000.

As a sire, Sir Archy dominated American breeding. It was said that the first breeding nick established in America was "Sir Archy on Sir Archy," and his blood could be found in almost every good horse in nineteenth century America. Among his sons and daughters were Sir Henry, Sir Charles, Lady Lightfoot, Timoleon, and Duroc. They called him the Darley of America.

Sir Archy passed away in 1833, and became a charter member of the Hall of Fame in 1955.

Sir Archy's Race Record

Year Starts Wins Seconds Thirds Earnings
Lifetime 7 4 1 1 $

Sir Archy, 1805 bay colt

Diomed Florizel Herod Tartar by Partner
Cypron by Blaze
Daughter of Cygnet Cygnet by Godolphin Arabian
Mare by Young Cartouch
Sister-to-Juno Spectator Crab by Alcock Arabian
Mare by Partner
Sister to Horatius Blank by Godolphin Arabian
Mare by Flying Childers
Castianira Rockingham Highflyer Herod by Tartar
Rachel by Blank
Purity Matchem by Cade
Pratt's Old Mare by Squirt
Tabitha Trentham Gower's Sweepstakes by Gower Stallion
Miss South by South
Daughter of Bosphorus Bosphorus by Roger's Babraham
Mare by Williams' Forester


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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