|Breeder||John W. Galbreath|
|Owner||Darby Dan Farm|
|Trainer||Loyd Gentry, Jr.|
|Graustark is a thoroughbred racehorse out of Flower Bowl by Ribot. He was born around 1963 in the United States, and was bred by John W. Galbreath.|
Arch Ward Stakes (1966)|
Bahamas Stakes (1966)
|Leading broodmare sire in Britain & Ireland (1985)|
|Horse (Equus ferus caballus)|
|Last updated on November 21, 2006|
Bred by renowned sportsman John W. Galbreath at his Darby Dan Farm near Lexington, Kentucky, Graustark was named for the fictional country used as the setting in several early 20th century novels by George Barr McCutcheon. He had a beautiful chestnut color like Man o' War (whose nickname was "Big Red"). Graustark's long stride was believed to be at least as long as Man o' War's. Graustark's nickname was "The Big G" (he was 16.5 hands tall).
Sired by the great European champion Ribot, Graustark was born in the same year as Ogden Phipps' future Hall of Fame colt, Buckpasser. Racing at age two in 1965, Graustark competed in three races - including the Arch Ward Handicap which he won by six lengths handily on a very muddy track - but an injury (shin splints) sidelined him for the rest of the year. Although he won all of three races by wide margins, there were not enough races to be considered for the Eclipse Award for Outstanding 2-Year-Old Male Horse. Buckpasser, who won the award based on his nine impressive wins in eleven races, would go into the 1966 racing season as the early favorite for the Kentucky Derby.
In early 1966 Graustark came back from his injury after five months of recuperation. Ridden by jockey Braulio Baeza, (who was also Buckpasser's jockey), he made his three-year-old debut with another impressive win in the Grenada Purse at Hialeah Park. He then began winning race after race and was soon being talked about as a serious rival to Buckpasser, in fact at the time Baeza considered Graustark as the best horse he had ever ridden. He was touted as a superhorse who was likely to win the Triple Crown, thus ending the drought since Citation's win. Their much anticipated showdown at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May never happened after Buckpasser suffered a quarter crack injury and had to miss the U.S. Triple Crown races. Graustark then became the heavy favorite for the Derby. Unfortunately, after winning seven straight races, he sustained a career-ending coffin bone break while in the lead in the Blue Grass Stakes. Racing on a very muddy track, he was in front by six lengths in the back stretch but lost by only a nose to Abe's Hope (who nearly beat Buckpasser in the Flamingo Stakes). Prior to the last race, a safety pin was found stuck in Graustark's frog/hoof but after icing he was declared fit to run. (This also happened to Spectacular Bid prior to his Belmont Stakes defeat).
Despite his short racing career, horse experts agreed that Graustark was an exceptional talent and with his pedigree, he was syndicated for a record $2.4 million, an enormous amount at the time. Standing at stud at Darby Dan Farm, Graustark proved reasonably successful as a sire. Among his progeny was the 1972 U.S. Champion 3-Year-Old Colt, Key To The Mint, Avatar, winner of the 1975 Santa Anita Derby and Belmont Stakes, and the exceptional Jim French. He was also the damsire of multi-millionaire, Bien Bien.
Graustark's full brother was His Majesty who was a good runner - establishing a new track record of 1:46 2/5 for 1 1/8 miles at Hialeah Park Race Track. His Majesty was also a Leading sire in North America, whose offspring included Pleasant Colony, winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes and 1981 - 3 yo Eclipse Award Winner.
Graustark died at age 25 on August 21, 1988 and was buried in the equine cemetery at Darby Dan Farm.