Hoist the Flag was purchased by the late Mrs. Stephen Clark Jr. as a yearling for a mere $37,000 as he had sustained an eye injury while in transport to Saratoga, However, he soon turned out to be quite a bargain – undefeated Champion 2-year-old, Experimental Free Handicap Highweight and winter-book favorite for the 1971 Kentucky Derby. The way he skimmed through his wins conjured up images of his immortal grandsire, Triple Crown winner War Admiral. Classic hopes crumbled for Mrs. Clark and his legion of fans, when he shattered a hind leg in a training accident while being prepared for the Kentucky Derby. With the heart of a champion, Hoist the Flag overcame great odds and survived ground-breaking surgeries in the months following his injury.
Retired to Claiborne, Hoist the Flag went on to sire two-time Arc de Triomphe winner Alleged, and an American champion who lived up to her name, Sensational. He is the broodmare sire of 85 stakes winners, including champions Personal Ensign, Sacahuista, and sires Cryptoclearance and Broad Brush. Thirty years after Hoist the Flag’s Triple Crown campaign came to a sudden and disappointing halt, his great-great grandson and Personal Ensign’s grandson, War Emblem, fulfilled the family’s promise with wins in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.
In 1987, Claiborne sires topped the General Sire List (Mr. Prospector) and the Broodmare Sire List (Hoist the Flag). Not entirely coincidentally, that nick is responsible for more than 70 stakes winners including a winner of America’s richest race, the Breeders’ Cup Classic-G1. Like his racing career, Hoist the Flag’s stud career was brilliant and all too brief – he sired 51 stakes winners from only 246 foals during his eight seasons in the Claiborne breeding shed.
Buried at Claiborne