Friday, January 21, 2011

Let's Thank the Colonel

The Colonel E.R Bradley at Fair Grounds tomorrow is named in honor of the owner/ breeder/ businessman and philanthropist who owned the track from 1926 to 1934. During that time he was responsible for spending a great deal of money in improving and renovating the Louisiana track. During his early life, be it fact or fiction, it is written that he was a gold miner, a steel mill worker and a cowboy ( he knew Billy the Kid). When he testified before the US Senate he described himself as a “speculator, raiser of race horses and a gambler”. Political pundits would have a ball with that one now!

Edward Riley Bradley, (1859-1946) received the title of ”Colonel” after moving to Kentucky and becoming a breeder of great racehorses. He bought Ash Grove Stock Farm in Lexington, added to it, and later renamed it Idle Hour Stock Farm. Part of that property is now Darby Dan Farm.

He owned 4 Kentucky Derby winners including Behave Yourself, Bubbling Over, Burgoo King and Broker’s Tip. And he was famous for naming all his horses staring with the letter “B.”

One of his greatest breeding accomplishments was importing the great French mare La Troienne to this country. For this we should be very grateful, as she was one of the most influential broodmares of the 20th Century. Though she never won a race, she was the granddam of the great filly Busher who was named Horse of the year in 1945. In addition she produced the Hall of Famer, Bimelech. She was also the granddam of Busanda, who was the dam of the great Buckpasser. When you see the name La Troienne in a pedigree you know there is quality there. When the Colonel died, his breeding stock was sold to a syndicate comprised of Greentree Stable, King Ranch and Ogden Phipps.

The Col. E.R Bradley is a Grade 3, for 4 and up, at a mile and 1/16 on the Fair Grounds turf. I like both the newly turned 4 year olds in this spot. Both Joinem and Red Strike seem to be both improving types. You can throw out Red Strike’s last when he stumbled. Both seem to handle the turf if it is less than fast, which will probably be the case on Saturday. Gran Estreno always hits the board and loves to win. The rider switch to Rosie might make a difference here. And although he is 8 years old, he is none the worse for wear, firing a bullet best out of 66, 4 days ago.


  1. Susan,
    Thanks for the history lesson on Col Bradley. One of the cool things about horse racing is how it honors the past through stakes races named after influential people and great horses. A good way to learn about and maintain our ties to the past. When so much in mainstream sports is overly commercialized, it's nice to see a Colonel E. R. Bradley Stakes instead of say, a Taco Bell Stakes.

    I like your thoughts on the race itself because it checks with my opinion too. For me this is a really tricky betting race, because I had a hard time throwing any horses out. Even the long shot INSIDER TIP looks to have a shot. To narrow it down, RED STRIKE may have the most upside; he's lightly raced so we don't know how good he really is; the same can be said for JOINEM. The ML odds for both are attractive as well. Let's hope we're on to something.

  2. Steve,
    Thanks for visiting. I remember my dad telling me about the Colonel, and all his "B" horses, but I never knew about his importing La Troienne. That just blew me away.
    I need a lot of luck at the Fair Grounds today as I just decided to jump in to the Twin Spires / Horse Players World Series ( or whatever it's called) contest.
    BTW, I have seen your Derby Dozen and I will be checking it periodically.
    Good Luck with all your wagers!

  3. Burgoo King.

    FYI that's my favorite fast food joint. :P

  4. I wonder if they were selling Burgoo at Keeneland back then?
    Now that's good stuff!
    TKS you better "Behave Yourself", looks like things were "Bubbling Over" at another blog today.
    Sorry, couldn't resist.....