Foaled and raised at Claiborne for her breeder Nelson Bunker Hunt, DAHLIA was a trailblazer and set the bar very high for those who came after.
Dahlia began her career racing sparingly at two, but from three on, she dazzled racegoers on both sides of the Atlantic. After winning the Prix St. Alary-G1 and the Irish Oaks-G1 in 1973, she took on the boys in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes-G1. The field included the winners of the English, French and Irish Guineas and the subsequent winner of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe-G1. In a lengendary performance, Dahlia flew past them all and won by six lengths. She was shipped to America and defeated a field of older runners in the Washington D. C. International-G1 at Laurel Park. She was named England’s Horse of the Year and Europe’s Champion 3-Year-Old.
She may have been even better in 1974. She won the Gran Prix de St. Cloud-G1, repeated in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth S.-G1, the Benson and Hedges Gold Cup S.-G1, defeating the Derby and Arc winners. Sent across the pond for a second year, she won the Man o’ War S.-G1, the Canadian International S.-G1 and closed out her year with an unlucky third in the Washington D. C. International. She became the first filly or mare to earn more than a million dollars and more accolades came her way with another Horse of the Year title in England and Eclipse Award as Champion Turf Horse.
She raced two more seasons, taking another addition of the Benson and Hedges Gold Cup S.-G1 at five and the Hollywood Invitational-G1 at six and retired with earnings of $1,535,443. She had competed in 31 G1 races, defeated nine classic winners and at the time of her retirement, she was the first horse to win G1 races in five different countries.
In the breeding shed, Dahlia proved equally brilliant. She produced four individual G1 winners in Dahar, Rivlia, Delegant and Dahlia’s Dreamer and two additional graded stakes winners. She died in 2001 at the age of 31.