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El Rio Rey

El Rio Rey
Sire Norfolk
Dam Marian
Grandsire Lexington
Damsire Malcolm
Gender Stallion
Foaled 1887
Country United States
Color Bay
Breeder Theodore Winters
Owner Theodore Winters
Trainer Alfred H. Estell
Record 7: 7-0-0
Earnings US$46,835
El Rio Rey is a thoroughbred racehorse out of Marian by Norfolk. He was born around 1887 in the United States, and was bred by Theodore Winters.
Major wins
Hyde Park Stakes
Kenwood Stakes
Dunmow Stakes
Brewers Stallion Stakes
Great Eclipse Stakes
White Plains Handicap
Prospect Stakes
American Champion Two-Year-Old Colt (1889)
Horse (Equus ferus caballus)

El Rio Rey (foaled January 16, 1887 in California) was an American Thoroughbred Champion racehorse. He was bred by Nevadan Theodore Winters at his Rancho del Rio breeding farm near Sacramento, California where he stood both El Rio Rey's important sire, Norfolk and his dam, Marian. Norfolk was voted the retrospective American Champion Three-Year-Old Male Horse of 1864. El Rio Ray was a full brother to Emperor of Norfolk. The outstanding mare of her era in the American West, Marian (1871–1893) was also the dam of Yo Tambien as a result of Theodore Winters mating her to his stallion, Joe Hooker.

The Greatest Colt Ever Foaled

El Rio Rey's race conditioning was supervised by the head of the Theodore Winters racing stable, Alfred H. Estell, as well as trainer, William H. McCormick. [1] As a two-year-old racing in 1889, El Rio Rey competed at racetracks in Chicago and St. Louis, Missouri before heading to New York where the publicity surrounding his racing abilities as a full brother to the great Emperor of Norfolk drew a huge crowd to Morris Park Racecourse to see him win the August 25 Great Eclipse Stakes. On the same track, he then won the inaugural running of the six furlong White Plains Handicap on August 31 against a field of fourteen horses in track record time while carrying 126 pounds. The next day's issue of the New York Times declared him the best two-year-old in the country, stating that horsemen consider him "the greatest colt ever foaled." [2] El Rio Rey followed up with another win in September's Prospect Stakes at the Gravesend Race Track. The colt ended his two year-old campaign undefeated, having won all seven starts. [3] He was voted the retrospective American Champion Two-Year-Old Colt of 1889.

In 1890, El Rio Rey was scheduled to run but breathing problems led to the belief that he was a roarer and his career eventually ended without making a start at age three. [4] That year, Theodore Winters sold his California properties to return to Nevada after he had been selected the Democratic Party's candidate for Governor of Nevada. He relocated his breeding operations to his Rancho del Sierra in Nevada's Washoe Valley with El Rio Rey and Joe Hooker as his main stallions. [5]


  • Robertson, William H. P. The History of Thoroughbred Racing in America (1988) Random House ISBN 978-0517002049


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