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Chance Play

Chance Play
Sire Fair Play
Dam Quelle Chance
Grandsire Hastings
Damsire Ethelbert
Gender Stallion
Foaled 1923
Country United States
Color Chestnut
Breeder August Belmont, Jr.
Owner Log Cabin Stable
Trainer 1) Louis Feustel
2) G. Hamilton Keene (7/1926)
3) John I. Smith (1927)
4) George M. Odom (1928)
Record 39: 16-9-2
Earnings US$137,946
Chance Play is a thoroughbred racehorse out of Quelle Chance by Fair Play. He was born around 1923 in the United States, and was bred by August Belmont, Jr..
Major wins
Youthful Stakes (1925)
Campfire Handicap (1926)
Potomac Handicap (1926)
Merchants and Citizens Handicap (1927)
Jockey Club Gold Cup (1927)
Lincoln Handicap (1927)
Saratoga Cup Handicap (1927)
Havre de Grace Handicap (1927)
Toboggan Handicap (1927)
Aqueduct Handicap (1928)
Combat Handicap (1928)
Continental Handicap (1928)
American Champion Older Male Horse (1927)
American Horse of the Year (1927)
Leading sire in North America (1935, 1944)
Chance Play Purse at Sportsman's Park
Horse (Equus ferus caballus)
Last updated on March 31, 2010

Chance Play (foaled 1923) was an American Champion Thoroughbred racehorse and Champion sire. Bred by August Belmont, Jr., he was out of the mare Quelle Chance, a daughter of 1900 Metropolitan Handicap winner, Ethelbert. He was sired by Fair Play who also sired the legendary Man o' War. Chance Play was as well a full brother to 1927 Belmont Stakes winner, Chance Shot.[1]

In 1923, New York city financiers W. Averell Harriman and Bert Walker bought a stable of Thoroughbred horses which they raced under the nom de course Log Cabin Stable, sporting orange and white silks. As part of a private purchase of twenty horses, in January 1925 Harriman and Walker acquired Chance Play from the estate of August Belmont, Jr. [2]


At two

Chance Play was conditioned for racing by Louis Feustel who had been the trainer of Man o' War.[3] Racing at age two, the colt won his May 12, 1925 debut at Jamaica Racetrack in Jamaica, New York. Four days later he got the most important win of the when he captured the Youthful Stakes on the same racetrack.[4] During the remainder of 1925, Chance Play was outshone by William Coe's outstanding colt, Pompey to whom he finished third in the two most important races of the year for two-year-olds, the August 29 Hopeful Stakes [5] at Saratoga Race Course and the September 12 Futurity Stakes at Belmont Park.[6]

At three

As a three-year-old, Chance Play won the June 7, 1926 Campfire Handicap, a six-furlong dash for three-year-olds at Belmont Park.[7] He did not run in any of the Triple Crown races as it was uncertain if he could handle any distance beyond six furlongs.

In July, Louis Feustel resigned as the Log Cabin Stable trainer.[8] Although he was replaced by John Smith, conditioning for Chance Play was handed over to G. Hamilton Keene, trainer for the stable of Joseph E. Widener.[9]

Chance Play's only other win of significance in 1926 came in early October when he had strengthened enough to run at longer distances and at Maryland's Havre de Grace Racetrack he defeated Pompey to win the mile and a sixteenth Potomac Handicap.[10] A disagreement between the two owners of Log Cabin Stable in the fall of 1926 led to the partnership being dissolved and Averell Harriman became the stable's sole owner.[11]

A Champion at four

Trainer Hamilton Keene died in January 1927 and John Smith took over. The winner of several of the year's top events, including the Merchants and Citizens Handicap, Jockey Club Gold Cup and Toboggan Handicap, Chance Play was selected the retrospective 1927 American Champion Older Male Horse and Horse of the Year.[12]

At five

Chance Play continued to race at age five in 1928 but under a new trainer, the future Hall of Fame inductee George M. Odom [13] for whom he won the Aqueduct, Combat and Continental Handicaps.

As a sire

Retired to stud duty, Chance Play initially stood in New York but Warren Wright purchased him for $70,000 and brought him to stand at his Calumet Farm.[14] The leading sire in North America in 1935 and 1944, Chance Play was the sire of twenty-three stakes winners and the broodmare sire of twenty stakes winners. Among his progeny were:

  • Some Chance (b. 1939) - multiple stakes winner including the 1942 and 1943 editions of the Roseben Handicap

The grandsire of Piet, whose wins included three consecutive editions of the Jamaica Handicap, Chance Play was also the damsire of Next Move, the 1950 American Champion Three-Year-Old Filly and 1952 American Champion Older Female Horse.

Pedigree of Chance Play
Fair Play
Hastings Spendthrift Australian
Cinderella Tomahawk
Fairy Gold Bend Or Doncaster
Rouge Rose
Dame Masham Galliard
Quelle Chance
Ethelbert Eothen Hampton
Maori Poulet
Queen of Cyprus
Qu'elle Est Belle II Rock Sand Sainfoin
Queen's Bower St. Florian
Gipsy Queen



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