Gallant Fox Triple Crown Winner

Gallant Fox
Jockey: Earl Sande

Trainer: James E. “Sunny Jim” Fitzsimmons

Owner: Belair Stud

Career record: 17-11-3-2

Gallant Fox was born in 1927, this talented horse would sire two stellar progeny in Omaha and Granville.

Gallant Fox proved himself early on, in the world of horse racing, he was destined for greatness beginning in 1929, as he won 11 of the 17 races he participated in. As he began his three-year-old season, many watched as he embarked on his journey to win the Triple Crown.

Gallant Fox is one of the Triple Crown winners that often seems to get overlooked in discussions of the horse racing’s great champions. By the time he began his racing career in 1929, America was on the verge of a financial disaster. The misfortune of the timing of his birth could explain why the bay colt has been excluded.

Known best as the second Triple Crown champion ever, Gallant Fox was born in 1927 and had a brief but brilliant Thoroughbred racing career. Bred and raced by Belair Stud’s William Woodward, Gallant Fox was a bay colt with a white blaze.

Gallant Fox proved what he was capable

Early in his career, he was capable of while winning the 1929 Flash Stakes and Cowdin Stakes as a juvenile. He won the Flash Stakes at Saratoga at 10-1 odds and would never finish worse than third again in his career. He also raced valiantly in the Belmont Futurity, where he placed third. His 2-year-old record was two wins from seven starts.

Gallant Fox was ridden by Earl Sande, and the pair would enter the 1930 season as the favorites for the Preakness Stakes, which was the first leg of the Triple Crown at the time. He won the Preakness by three-quarters of a length, then claimed victory in the Kentucky Derby two weeks later. He then won the Belmont Stakes in fine fashion three weeks later, beating Which one, who had beaten him at the Belmont Futurity one year prior.

The rivalry between Which one and Gallant Fox would take center stage at the Travers Stakes in the summer, but both would lose to 100/1 longshot Jim Dandy. Gallant Fox rebounded with late-season wins in the Saratoga Cup and the Jockey Gold Cup before retiring to stud at the conclusion of the 1930 season.

In a 17-race career, Gallant Fox went 11-3-2 and earned $328,165. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1957. He was also the 1930 Horse of the Year and 1930 Champion 3-year-old male.

The Kentucky Derby

The first Kentucky Derby to feature a starting gate saw Gallant Fox get bounced around in traffic during a rough run past the stands. Under the careful guidance of the veteran jockey Earl Sande, the horse surged to the front on the backstretch and maintained a comfortable two-length lead all the way to the finish line. Favored at just under 6-5, Gallant Fox stopped the clock in 2:07 3/5 over a good track.

The Preakness Stakes

Back when the Preakness was contested prior to the Kentucky Derby, Gallant Fox ran into traffic during the early going, forcing jockey Earl Sande to take him farther off the pace than usual to find racing room. Once clear, Gallant Fox rallied resiliently to wear down his rivals and score by three-quarters of a length in 2:00 3/5, his closest call in the Triple Crown series. At this time, Gallant Fox was known as “the red-headed-horse” which is how people began to recognize him as he went into the final leg of the Triple Crown.

The Belmont Stakes

Slightly troubled trips forced Gallant Fox to work for victory in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, but there was no drama in the Belmont Stakes. Though he wasn’t favored to win—that honor fell to champion 2-year-old Which one—Gallant Fox was never seriously challenged during the 1 1/2-mile test, leading through fractions of 23 4/5, 50 1/5, and 1:16 before kicking clear to score by three lengths in 2:31 3/5 over a good track.

Retirement to Claiborne Farms was kind to Gallant Fox, who sired many winning foals including Omaha and Granville. The latter would be the 1936 Horse of the Year but the former would win the 1935 Triple Crown. That made Gallant Fox and Omaha the first father-son combo to win the prestigious Crown. He also sired Omaha’s brother Flares, who won the 1938 Ascot Gold Cup in England.

Gallant Fox Race Record

1929

  • Flash Stakes Winner (USA, 5.5FD, Saratoga)
  • Junior Champion Stakes Winner (USA, 8FD, Aqueduct)
  • 2nd United States Hotel Stakes (USA, 6FD, Saratoga)
  • 3rd Futurity Stakes (USA, about 7FD, Belmont)

1930

  • Kentucky Derby Winner (USA, 10FD, Churchill Downs)
  • Preakness Stakes Winner (USA, 9.5FD, Pimlico)
  • Belmont Stakes Winner (USA, 12FD, Belmont)
  • Classic Stakes Winner (USA, 10FD, Arlington Park)
  • Dwyer Stakes Winner (USA, 12FD, Aqueduct)
  • Jockey Club Gold Cup Winner (USA, 16FD, Belmont)
  • Wood Memorial Stakes Winner (USA, 8f+70yD, Jamaica)
  • Lawrence Realization Stakes Winner (USA, 13FD, Belmont)
  • Saratoga Cup Winner (USA, 14FD, Saratoga)
  • 2nd Travers Stakes (USA, 10FD, Saratoga)

Gallant Fox Honors

  • National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame (inducted in 1957)
  • American Horse of the Year (1930)
  • American champion 3-year-old male (1930)
GALLANT FOX, 1930 TRIPLE CROWN WINNER

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