Hindoo was the name of the winner of the 1881 Kentucky Derby. Born April 12, 1878 on Daniel Swigert's Stockwood Farm near Lexington, Kentucky, Hindoo was a bay colt with a star and one white hind leg. Mr. Swigert had also raised and trained Baden-Baden at Stockwood.1 Hindoo was a descendent of the Byerley Turk and his success briefly revitalized this line at the end of the 19th century.2,5

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          |            | Hymenia           |                           
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As a two-year-old, Hindoo raced nine times under training by Lee Paul. His first race was the six furlong Colt and Filly Stakes at Lexington, which he won. Next he won the four furlong Alexander Stakes and the six furlong Tennessee Stakes in Louisville, then the Juvenile Stakes and 1 mile Jockey Club Stakes (which he won by six lengths) in St. Louis. Traveling next to Chicago, Hindoo won the six furlong Criterion Stakes and the 1 mile Tremont Hotel Stakes. After his good showing in Chicago, Hindoo was turned out (to pasture) for the season, undefeated. Then, in a poorly-planned move, he was suddenly returned to training and finished second in the Day Boat Line Stakes and third in the Windsor Hotel Stakes, both at Saratoga.3

Despite his performance in the last two races, Hindoo was without a doubt the champion of his age group. At the end of the year, he was sold to brothers Mike and Phil Dwyer for $15000. The colt was not large, standing just under 16 hands and weighing about 900 pounds, and he was not especially beautiful to look at, but his courage never failed. He never gave more than was asked of him, but he always had a reserve of energy to call upon at the end of a race. He either ran with the pack or came from behind, but once the competition was beaten, he could finish in a canter. Hindoo did not seem to mind a grueling schedule of frequent long races, and that fit the Dwyer brothers' ambitions as well.

In his third year, Hindoo went to the post 20 times, winning 18 times and never finishing out of the money. His 18 consecutive stakes wins still stands as the longest streak in thoroughbred racing history. Even more remarkable is that the streak covered only four months, from May through August of 1881. Trained by James Rowe Sr., Hindoo won a race every six days that summer, including the Blue Ribbon Stakes (1.5 miles), Clark Stakes, Tidal Stakes, Coney Island Derby, Ocean Stakes, Lorillard Stakes, Monmouth Sweepstakes, Travers Stakes (1.75 miles), Sequel Stakes, Unites States Hotel Stakes, Kenner Stakes (2 miles), Champion Stakes, and New Jersey St. Leger Stakes. He won all of these by no less than one length, and some by a much larger margin. He also won two match races in mile heats against Sir Hugh. Six days after the second match race, he finished third to Crickmore in the September Stakes, and two weeks after that he finished second, again to Crickmore, in the Brighton Beach Handicap. Nevertheless, Hindoo was universally recognized as the champion three-year-old of 1881. He was also the leading money winner of the year in American, bringing home $49100. (Only two English racers, Foxhall and Iroquois, earned more in 1881.1)

Near the beginning of Hindoo's great win streak of 1881, he ran away with the seventh Kentucky Derby. On May 17 a field of six contenders pounded a fast track under blue skies. Hindoo carried 105 pounds, including jockey Jim McLaughlin, and was clearly the favorite. None of the other horses could catch him and he lead from wire to wire, winning by four lengths in a time of 2:40, earning $4410. The other colts, in order of the finish, were Lelex, Alfambra, Sligo, Getaway, and Calycanthus.4 True to his calm, businesslike personality, Hindoo was never overtly excited by crowds or competition. The Spirit of the Times racing magazine once pronounced "A sweeter-tempered colt never sported silk."1 James Rowe became the youngest trainer to win a Derby (he was only 24).

Hindoo's four-year-old season began with a second-place finish to Checkmate in the Dixiana Stakes at Louisville, but then he hit his stride and tallied wins in the Louisville Cup (2.25 miles), Merchants' Stakes, Turf Handicap, Coney Island Handicap, and Coney Island Cup (2.25 miles). Following the Coney Island Cup at Sheepshead Bay, Hindoo experienced swelling of a tendon sheath and he was retired from racing rather than risk him in further gallops. Hindoo ran 35 races in his three-year career, finishing first 30 times and never worse than third. He earned almost $72000. Ezekial F. Clay and Catesby Woodford purchased Hindoo from the Dwyer brothers for $9000 and a filly by Billet named Miss Woodford. He was brought to Runnymeade Stud near Paris, Kentucky, where he remained until his death at age 23 in July of 1901.

Hindoo's first crop of foals include Hanover (winner of the 1887 Belmont Stakes), Jim Gore, and Hindoo Rose who were very successful, winning a combined 35 races and $103,352. Later crops produced the great mare Sallie McClelland (dam of Whisk Broom II, Crusader, and others). Preakness winner Buddhist (1889) was sired by Hindoo as well. Hindoo was made a charter member of the thoroughbred racing Hall of Fame (1955), and a 8 1/4 furlong stakes race at Churchill Downs preserves his memory.

Notes:
1. http://www.thoroughbredchampions.com/gallery/hindoo.htm
2. http://www.tbheritage.com/Portraits/Hindoo.html
3. http://sportsfacts.net/history/horse_racing/triple_crown/kentucky_derby_winners.html
4. http://www.thoroughbredchampions.com/library/kyderby.htm
5. Chew, Peter, The Kentucky Derby: The First 100 Years, Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, 1974.

Hin"doo, Hin"du (?; 277), n.; pl. Hindoos (#) or Hindus. [Per. HindU, fr. Hind, HindUstAn, India. Cf. Indian.]

A native inhabitant of Hindostan. As an ethnical term it is confined to the Dravidian and Aryan races; as a religious name it is restricted to followers of the Veda.

 

© Webster 1913

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