|Breeder||Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney|
|Owner||Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney|
|Counterpoint is a thoroughbred racehorse out of Jabot by Count Fleet. He was born around 1948 in the United States, and was bred by Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney.|
Peter Pan Handicap (1951)|
Belmont Stakes (1951)
Lawrence Realization Stakes (1951)
Jockey Club Gold Cup (1951)
Empire City Handicap (1951)
Empire City Gold Cup (1951)
San Fernando Stakes (1952)
Whitney Handicap (1952)
U.S. Champion 3-Yr-Old Colt (1951)|
United States Horse of the Year (1951)
|Horse (Equus ferus caballus)|
|Last updated on December 24, 2006|
Counterpoint (1948–1969) was an American Thoroughbred racehorse. Sired by 1943 U.S. Triple Crown champion Count Fleet, as a yearling he injured an ankle bone severely enough that his racing future was put in doubt. However, he healed to where could be trained and although late in the season, at age two he started in two races but showed little, most likely hampered by the effects of injury and a late start in developing his strength.
In his three-year-old campaign in 1951, Counterpoint was entered in the Blue Grass Stakes, an important test race for Kentucky Derby hopefuls. Raced in two divisions that year because of the number of entrants, Counterpoint finished fourth in the second division of the Blue Grass but then was moved up to third place after the winner Sonic was disqualified. Still believing the colt had potential, his handlers put him in the Kentucky Derby. But, after making a move at the three quarters pole that got him from eighth place to fifth, he tired badly and wound up a very disappointing eleventh to winner and half-brother, Count Turf.
Despite his poor showing in the Kentucky Derby, Counterpoint was still competed in the Preakness Stakes. Dismissed by bettors, he went off at 25:1 odds. Although he finished seven lengths behind Brookmeade Stable's winning colt Bold in the second fastest time in Preakness history, Counterpoint's second place finish was a sign of things to come.
Counterpoint was entered in the June 16th Peter Pan Handicap at Belmont Park. Here, he showed his true brilliance, not just by winning the race, but doing it in track record time. Although scheduled just one week later, the colt was raced in the 1½ mile Belmont Stakes, the longest of the Triple Crown races. In the Belmont, Counterpoint would establish himself as the dominant three-year-old of 1951, running away from a strong field to win by four lengths over George Widener, Jr.'s colt and U.S. Two-Year-Old Champion, Battlefield. For regular jockey David Gorman it was his first and only Classic Race win and for owner Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney and trainer Sylvester Veitch it was their second Belmont Stakes win together, having captured the 1947 edition with Phalanx.
Horse of the Year
Unfortunately, Counterpoint bruised a foot and was out of racing for two months but in early fall returned to the track in impressive fashion with a win in the important Lawrence Realization Stakes. He was then entered in the Jockey Club Gold Cup where he had to compete against older horses, notably the heavily favored previous year's winner and 1950 Horse of the Year, Hill Prince. Counterpoint won the demanding two-mile long race then defeated Christopher Chenery's Hill Price for the second time in the Empire City Gold Cup while equaling the track record and assuring himself the 1951 Horse of the Year title.
Raced at age four, Counterpoint won the inaugural San Fernando Stakes and the Whitney Stakes before being retired to stud duty at owner C.V. Whitney's breeding farm in Lexington, Kentucky. Although Counterpoint sired a number of Graded stakes race winners including Hollywood Gold Cup winner Dotted Swiss, none achieved the level of racing success he had.
Counterpoint died in 1969 at the Whitney farm (today part of Gainesway Farm) and was buried in its equine cemetery next to a number of other prominent horses owned both by Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney and his father, Harry Payne Whitney.