Blenheim II

1927 – 1958

1927-1958, brown, by Blandford – Malva, by Charles O’Malley
Bred by Henry Herbert, 6th Earl of Carnarvon. Owned by H.H. Aga Khan III. Trained by Dick Dawson.

1930 Epsom Derby winner Blenheim II ranked with Sir Gallahad III as bold and expensive acquisitions of established European sires, and like Sir Gallahad III, Blenheim II rewarded the faithful with a Triple Crown winner in his first American crop. That was Whirlaway, a champion in every season he raced and produced from a mare sold by A.B. Hancock to Warren Wright’s then-fledgling Calumet Farm. Already the sire of Epsom Derby winner Mahmoud, Blenheim II became one of very few stallions to sire winners of the Epsom classic and Kentucky Derby. The syndicate which brought him to Claiborne for the 1937 breeding season included Hancock and Wright, as well as J.H. Whitney’s Greentree Stud, John D. Hertz’ Stoner Creek Stud, William duPont, Mrs. Thomas H. Somerville, and Robert A. Fairbairn. His Derby win was the first for the Aga Khan and was soon followed by Mahmoud in 1935 and Bahram in 1936. The Aga Khan stood these Derby winners for a time then sold all three to America early in their stud careers due to the financial pressures of the war years.

Blenheim II sired 61 stakes winners from 536 foals in his lengthy stud career. His offspring tended to improve with age and were superior middle-distance runners and handicappers. Others include Kentucky Derby winner Jet Pilot, Champion mare Mark-Kell and her Kentucky Oaks winning full sister Nellie L., Blue Grass Stakes winner Ocean Wave and his brother Free America, top handicap male Thumbs Up and handicap mare A Gleam, and sire Battle Morn. Mahmoud became a huge success at stud and was Leading Sire in America in 1946. Donatello was a top sire in England, and Jet Pilot was useful if not spectacular. Bryan G. sired the Champion filly Cicada. Free America still appears in pedigrees through his son Correlation (in Fappiano and Ogygian) and daughter Prides Profile (in Carson City).

Blenheim II’s best daughter was a close relative of Mahmoud, Mumtaz Begum, who became the dam of Nasrullah, another influential stallion imported to stand at Claiborne. Other important daughters were Broodmare of the Year Easy Lass (dam of champions Coaltown and Wistful), Miss Rushin (dam of Kentucky Derby winner Pensive), Sweep In (dam of Derby/ Preakness winner Kauai King), Jane Gail (dam of Kentucky Derby winner Hill Gail), and Blue Bear (dam of Arc winner Le Paillon).

1941 Leading Sire in North America

Buried at Claiborne Farm.