A.B. (Bull) Hancock Jr. happened to be in Churchill Downs’ racing secretary’s office when Double Jay’s trainer, Duke McCue, was touting his colt’s prospects for winning the Kentucky Jockey Club. McCue guaranteed that his horse would be in front “at every pole” and backed up the promise by offering to bet one hundred dollars per furlong to that effect. Hancock went back for the races just to see it. “I thought no horse in the world could top [race favorite] Education, and if he did, I didn’t think it possibly could stay a mile. Double Jay topped him and won it. So I made up my mind right then and there that I wanted to stand that horse.”
Double Jay went on to earn championship honors and the highest weight assignment on the Experimental Free Handicap at two. Though Hancock had perfected the art of stallion syndication, by the time Double Jay retired at the end of his five-year-old season, he had lost the glamour of his two-year-old brilliance. Feeling the timing was bad for his syndication, Hancock agreed to stand Double Jay as the property of Tigani for a fee of $500.
“Pretty soon he was up to $5,000 and the man was having so much fun he didn’t want to syndicate him. Finally he sold a quarter to Mr. [John D.] Hertz and a quarter to me,” recalled Hancock. The sire of champions Doubledogdare (bred and raced by Hancock) and Double Ripple among his 45 stakes winners, Double Jay represented old American bloodlines of Domino and Broomstick – quite unlike the preponderance of Claiborne stallions of that era. While never quite reaching the top of the General Sire List, Double Jay earned four titles as Leading Broodmare Sire and finished second on three other occasions. Hall of Famer and two-time Horse of the Year John Henry and Kentucky Derby winner Ferdinand stand out among the 112 stakes winners produced from Double Jay’s daughters.
Buried at Claiborne Farm.