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Miss Woodford

Miss Woodford
Miss Woodford beating Freeland in 1885
Sire Billet
Dam Fancy Jane
Grandsire Voltigeur
Damsire Neil Robinson
Gender Filly
Foaled 1880
Country United States
Color Brown
Breeder Catesby Woodford & Ezekial H. Clay
Owner Dwyer Brothers Stable
Trainer James G. Rowe, Sr.
Frank McCabe (at age 5)
Record 48: 37-7-2
Earnings $118,270
Miss Woodford is a thoroughbred racehorse out of Fancy Jane by Billet. She was born around 1880 in the United States, and was bred by Catesby Woodford & Ezekial H. Clay.
Major wins
Spinaway Stakes (1882)
Pimlico Stakes (1883)
Alabama Stakes (1883)
Ladies Handicap (1883)
Monmouth Oaks (1883)
Champion Stakes (1884)
Ocean Stakes (1884, 1885, 1886)
Freehold Stakes (1885)
Monmouth Cup (1888, 1889)
United States Racing Hall of Fame (1967)
Miss Woodford Stakes at Monmouth Park Racetrack
Horse (Equus ferus caballus)
Last updated on March 25, 2007

Miss Woodford (1880-1899) was a big brown Thoroughbred racing filly bred by Colonel Catesby Woodford and Colonel Ezekial Clay of Runnymede Farm near Paris, Kentucky. (Ezekial Clay was chairman of the Kentucky State Racing Commission.) Miss Woodford was by Billet, (imported from England, and the leading sire in America in 1883, due almost entirely to his daughter, Miss Woodford), out of the unraced Fancy Jane, by Neil Robinson.


Buying the best

Miss Woodford was sold to Mike and Phil Dwyer of the Dwyer Brothers Stable, to replace Hindoo, their retired champion. The Dwyers liked to race horses, not breed them, so buying the best was how they built their phenomenal stable of winners. In Miss Woodford's case, they traded Hindoo as a stallion prospect plus a couple of fillies (two daughters of the great mare Maggie B.B.: Red and Blue by Alarm, and Francesca by Leamington; Francesca was a stakes winner) to her then owner, George W. Bowen, in exchange for $9,000 cash and his three-year-old filly. Miss Woodford had already raced for Bowen & Company, winning the Spinaway Stakes. So soon as she was owned by the Dwyers, Miss Woodward, like Hindoo, was trained by Hall of Famer James G. Rowe, Sr. (It was a dispute with the Dwyers concerning Miss Woodford that caused Rowe to resign and become a racing official. Rowe refused to continue over-racing their horses, a characteristic the Dwyers were famous for. Eventually James Rowe returned to his first love, training great runners like Sysonby, Colin, two-time Horse of the Year (1900-1901) Commando: the father of Colin, Peter Pan, Maskette and Sweep.)

At the time of acquiring their new filly, the Dwyer brothers already owned a colt who was considered the best of his crop. He was named George Kinney. With the addition of Miss Woodford, they now owned the best colt and the best filly.

A great little earner

By the end of her fifth year of racing, Miss Woodford was America's leading money winner having earned $98,179. At this point most owners would have retired her for lucrative breeding, but as said, the Dwyers weren’t much interested in that end of the horse-racing business, but were very interested in winning purses, so on she ran. Big and aggressive, she won six races in less than two months at the age of six.

One of the highlights of her three-year-old season was beating George Kinney, her stablemate who had won the Belmont Stakes. At three, four, and five, Miss Woodford won 16 consecutive races. In the end Miss Woodford ran in 48 races and won 37 of them. She placed in 7 and showed in 2. In her three match races, she won two. One of her best efforts was the Eclipse Stake at the Fair Grounds in St Louis. There she faced the first two winners of the American Derby: Modesty and Volante. Miss Woodford won easily and this win pushed her earnings over the $100,000 mark, the first horse ever to do so in a racing career. She also won the Monmouth Cup at Long Branch Racetrack (twice), the Monmouth Oaks, the Ocean Stakes (three times), the Eatontown Stakes and the West End Hotel Stakes.

Her lifetime earnings over the best colts of her day at distances up to 2 ½ miles amounted finally to $118,270. This made her the richest racing filly in American history. Firenze followed her in earnings, and then came Yo Tambien.

One of a kind

She was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, New York in 1967. Miss Woodword, when she was finally allowed to breed by being sold to James B. A. Haggin, proved the Dwyers were right to keep her racing. Although she produced the stakes winners George Kessler and Sombre, as well as three other winners from nine foals, none of her off-spring even approached her abilities.

She died in 1899 at Elmendorf Farm in Lexington, Kentucky.

Of interest

Hall of Fame trainers Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons, Thomas J. Healey, A. Jack Joyner, R. Wyndham Walden, and Rowe, all thought her one of the best fillies of all time. In a poll among members of the American Trainers Association, conducted in 1955 by Delaware Park Racetrack, Miss Woodford was voted the fifth greatest filly in American racing history. Gallorette was voted first.

The Miss Woodford Stakes has been run at Monmouth Park in her memory since 1952.



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