|Breeder||Colonel E. R. Bradley|
|Owner||Idle Hour Stock Farm|
|Trainer||William J. "Bill" Hurley|
|Bimelech is a thoroughbred racehorse out of La Troienne by Black Toney. He was born around 1937 in the United States, and was bred by Colonel E. R. Bradley.|
American Classic Race wins:|
Preakness Stakes (1940)
Belmont Stakes (1940)
American Champion 2-Year-Old Colt (1939)|
American Champion 3-Year-Old Male Horse (1940)
U.S. Racing Hall of Fame (1990)|
#84 - Top 100 U.S. Racehorses of the 20th Century
|Horse (Equus ferus caballus)|
|Last updated on November 4, 2006|
Bimelech (1937–1966) was foaled on February 27, 1937 at Colonel E. R. Bradley's Idle Hour Stock Farm near Lexington, Kentucky. As usual with Colonel Bradley, he named the latest La Troienne foal with a name beginning with B. But since the friend he named him after, John Harris, went by the nickname Abimelech, Bradley had to drop the A. Bimelech was the last colt sired by Bradley's major stallion, Black Toney, and was a full brother to Black Helen, the 1935 champion three-year-old filly. (Black Toney was also the sire of, among many other exceptional horses, Hall of Famer Black Gold.)
Bimelech began his racing career with a bang. Going undefeated as a two-year-old, his first race was a romp over maidens at Suffolk Downs, which he won by three lengths. In his next race, an allowance at Empire City, he wired the field.
Bimelech's first stakes race occurred one month later at Saratoga Race Course. He trounced Briar Sharp and Andy K. in the Saratoga Special Stakes even though he was bumped both at the start and in the stretch. He then went on to win the Hopeful Stakes by a neck.
By now, it was obvious to all that Bimelech was quite the race horse. Bimelech ended his first season with a length and a half victory in the Belmont Futurity Stakes and a four length win in the Pimlico Futurity. He was named American Champion Two-Year-Old Colt. He was also the Experimental Free Handicap Highweight at 130 pounds, a prodigious weight for a young horse. With all this, few had doubts he would win the 1940 Kentucky Derby; so few in fact, that he was made the winterbook favorite at three to one, the lowest odds ever quoted for a Derby favorite up to that time.
Still undefeated, Bimelech was the overwhelming choice for the Derby, which had had its purse raised to $75,000 added. It was his third start in 8 days. At six to one, Charles S. Howard's Mioland was the bettor's second choice. (Charles S. Howard owned and raced the famous Seabiscuit.) Gallahadion was thirty-five to one.
Bimelech ran wide the entire race. Though he was close to the lead, he drifted farther and farther out from the rail. Basically, he ran a much longer race than any other horse and was exhausted in the last few furlongs. Longshot Gallahadion passed him in the final furlong. Bimelech's jockey, Fred Smith, took the blame and from most accounts soundly deserved it.
A short time later, Bimelech left Gallahadion eating his dust in the Preakness. He ran second in the Withers Stakes (records indicate this was due to poor preparation, so, after the Withers, Bimelech went into heavy training), but came sailing home in the Belmont Stakes. He struggled to win his next race, and it was discovered he was racing with an injured foot.
Due to the foot injury, Bimelech was done for the year. Even so, he took that year's honor of American Champion Three-Year-Old Male Horse.
In 1940, Bimelech discovered the new starting gates. He hated them, acting up very badly as he was loaded into them. After two races, Bradley, fearing Bimelech would hurt himself, retired his horse.
In 1946, Bradley died and all his horses were sold. A syndicate (Greentree Stud, King Ranch, and Ogden Phipps) bought Bimelech. They stood him at Greentree Stud, where he sired 30 stakes winners, including Be Faithful, the second dam of Never Bend. He also sired Better Self, the broodmare sire of Dr. Fager. Daughters of Bimelech produced 50 stakes winners.
After a long and successful life, Bimelech died in 1966. He was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1990. In the Blood-Horse magazine List of Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th Century, Bimelech was ranked number 84.