Round Table and Bold Ruler were both foaled at Claiborne on the night of April 6, 1954. Both were Hall of Fame racehorses, and both went on to illustrious careers as Claiborne stallions, joining that elite club siring 20% stakes winners from foals. In the words of Pete Axhelm, “The coincidence of the birth date is mind-boggling. The odds of two horses of such stature being born in the same year are considerable; the chances of arriving on the same farm on the very same night infinitesimal.”
Claiborne’s John Sosby described Round Table as tough to handle in his youth, “He broke away at least once from every man that tried to lead him.” At the track, he quickly learned to break away from his competition. Round Table won 43 of 66 starts, 31 stakes and $1,749,869. Five times he blazed 1 ¼ miles in under two minutes, three while carrying 130 pounds or more. The fans’ darling drew huge crowds who made him the favorite 47 times. He set course records on dirt and turf and was the leading earner of 1957 with $600,383 and in 1958 won a single-season record $662,780. At four and five, Round Table carried 130 pounds or more in 23 races. He won seven of ten thrilling photo-finishes, and in two losses conceded 17 and 21 pounds to the photo winners.
The first-ballot Hall of Famer was Thoroughbred racing’s all-time leading money-winner when he entered stud at Claiborne and became the first million-dollar winner to sire a million-dollar winner, Royal Glint. His 83 stakes winners also included Champion Apalachee as well as Poker and Advocator. His modern influence on the breed is seen primarily as the broodmare sire of 124 stakes winners including Seattle Slew. The warrior survived to the age of 33, and Dell Hancock recalls his later years fondly, “In his last years, Round Table lived in a paddock right behind the house. Every evening, we’d grate up carrots and go out to him. He’d see us coming and take off on those little old peglegs and hurry over. He was one of the kindest horses I’ve ever been around.” Undoubtedly, and in every conceivable way, Round Table was kind to the Hancocks.
Pensioned in 1979
Buried at Claiborne Farm