Whitney Tower described 1957’s three-year-old crop as “The Year of Greatness,” and trainer Jimmy Jones said before the start of the Classic season, “I don’t think there’s ever been anything like it before.”
Brilliant performances followed by track records then world records created an aura of excitement around a series of super 3-year-olds – Gen. Duke, Iron Leige, Round Table, and the one who would claim year-end Championship honors, Bold Ruler. In the spring, he gave Mrs. Henry Carnegie Phipps her first taste of Classic success in the Preakness. Then in November, the two Claiborne-raised Champions who were ironically born on the same night, Bold Ruler and Round Table, met another future Hall of Famer, *Gallant Man, in what was termed the “Race of the Lifetime,” the Trenton Handicap. Bold Ruler had won eight stakes at three, *Gallant Man six, and Round Table was on an 11-race winning streak. Afterward, winning jockey Eddie Arcaro told reporters, “I knew Bold Ruler could beat them… but I couldn’t believe I’d be that far in front going so easy.”
His four-year-old season proved that Bold Ruler was truly one of the great weight-carriers in a time when that quality was revered. He had all the attributes that Arthur (Bull) Hancock Jr. sought: early maturity, high speed, middle-distance stamina, weight-carrying ability, and a flawless pedigree. Expectations were high, and his sire potential was immediately verified.
His first foals arrived in 1960, and by 1963 with only two and three-year-olds racing, Bold Ruler led the General Sire List for the first time then stayed on top for the next six years, a modern record. He returned to the top of the standings in 1973 when his son, Secretariat, won the Triple Crown. In addition to Secretariat, his 11 Champions included fellow Hall of Famer Gamely as well as the great racemare Lamb Chop and sires Bold Bidder (sire of Spectacular Bid) and Bold Lad. Diagnosed with a tumor in 1970, he received radiation treatments at Auburn University then sired Champion Wajima in his final crop.
Buried at Claiborne Farm.