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Stymie (horse)

Sire Equestrian
Dam Stop Watch
Grandsire Equipoise
Damsire On Watch
Gender Stallion
Foaled 1941
Country United States
Color Chestnut
Breeder Max Hirsch
Owner Ethel D. Jacobs
Trainer Max Hirsch
Hirsch Jacobs (from 4/43)
Record 131:35-33-28
Earnings $918,485
Stymie is a thoroughbred racehorse out of Stop Watch by Equestrian. He was born around 1941 in the United States, and was bred by Max Hirsch.
Major wins
Brooklyn Handicap (1945)
Butler Handicap (1945)
Westchester Handicap (1945)
Pimlico Cup Handicap (1945)
Riggs Handicap (1945)
Saratoga Cup (1945, 1946)
Continental Handicap (1945)
Grey Lag Handicap (1945, 1946)
Gallant Fox Handicap (1946, 1947)
New York Handicap (1946)
Manhattan Handicap (1946)
Edgemere Handicap (1946)
Whitney Stakes (1946)
Gold Cup (1947)
Massachusetts Handicap (1947)
Aqueduct Handicap (1947, 1948)
Metropolitan Handicap (1947, 1948)
Sussex Handicap (1947, 1948)
Questionnaire Handicap (1947)
U.S. Champion Handicap Horse (1945)
U.S. Racing Hall of Fame (1975)
#41 - Top 100 U.S. Racehorses of the 20th Century
The Stymie Handicap at Aqueduct Racetrack
Horse (Equus ferus caballus)
Last updated on February 7, 2007

Stymie (April 4, 1941 - 1962) was an American Thoroughbred racehorse. Stymie was bred by Max Hirsch, and was born on King Ranch, in Texas.

As a young horse, Stymie possessed so terrible a disposition that his ability to race was hampered; his trainer did not see much in him. Therefore, two of Stymie's first three starts were claiming races.

On June 2, 1943, Stymie was bought by Hirsch Jacobs, one of the time's leading trainers. Jacobs bagged the horse for $1,500 for his wife Ethel Jacobs.

Stymie was to race ten more times before being led to the winner's circle. However, even then his racing record was still unimpressive; seven wins out of fifty starts.


Racing Career and Wins

At age two, Stymie lost every race he ran save one. The best he could do in better company at two was place in the Ardsley Handicap and show in the Thomas K. Lynch Memorial Handicap. He also lost most of his three-year-old races. At three, he came in second in the Wood Memorial Stakes, and third in the Gallant Fox Handicap, Westchester Handicap, Riggs Handicap, Pimlico Cup Handicap, Flamingo Stakes, and the Shevlin Stakes.

In 1945, the US government shut down racing for four months. Stymie, meanwhile, enjoyed a seven month rest, which did infinite good to him. As the ban was lifted from the racetracks, he reappeared eager and refreshed.

Stymie won the Brooklyn Handicap, Butler Handicap, Westchester Handicap, Pimlico Cup Handicap, Riggs Handicap, Saratoga Cup, Continental Handicap, Grey Lag Handicap, came in second in the Suburban Handicap, the Queens County Handicap and Yonkers Handicap, and third in the Pimlico Special, Jockey Club Gold Cup, Merchants' and Citizens' Handicap, and the Whitney Stakes. At age five, he won the Gallant Fox Handicap (beating the winner of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, Assault), New York Handicap, Grey Lag Handicap, Manhattan Handicap, Edgemere Handicap, Whitney Stakes, and the Saratoga Cup, placed in the Brooklyn Handicap, Dixie Handicap, Jockey Club Gold Cup, Monmouth Handicap, and the Pimlico Special, and showed in the Suburban Handicap, Butler Handicap, Saratoga Handicap and Sussex Handicap. At six years of age, Stymie won the Gold Cup, Gallant Fox Handicap, Massachusetts Handicap, Aqueduct Handicap, Metropolitan Handicap, Sussex Handicap, Questionnaire Handicap, placed in the Brooklyn Handicap, Butler Handicap, Edgemere Handicap, Manhattan Handicap, and Queens County Handicap, and came home third in the Jockey Club Gold Cup and Whitney Stakes. When he was seven, he won the Aqueduct Handicap, Metropolitan Handicap, Sussex Handicap, took second in the Suburban Handicap, Dixie Handicap, Queens County Handicap, and third in the Brooklyn Handicap and Excelsior Handicap. In his last year at eight, he was second in the New York Handicap.

In 1947, His racing career came to an abrupt end in the Monmouth Handicap when he suffered a fractured a sesamoid bone in his right forefoot.

Career Starts and Wins

Out of 131 lifetime starts, he won 35, placed in 33, and showed in 28. Stymie's career winnings added up to $918,485. That made him, at the time, the richest race horse in America. At Suffolk Downs on July 7, 1947, Stymie became the first horse ever to eclipse the $700,000 earnings mark. Stymie was so heavily bet that a minus show pool of $25,887 was created that day, and the tote board briefly, jammed due to the flood of money wagered on him.


A grandson of Equipoise and inbred to Man O' War, in 1975, he was elected to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. In the Blood-Horse magazine ranking of the top 100 U.S. thoroughbred champions of the 20th Century, Stymie is ranked #41.

Jacobs, who died in 1970, was elected as a trainer to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1958. He and his wife named their Sparks, Maryland breeding operation Stymie Manor.

Stymie died in 1962.


  1. ^ Explained by Jane Smiley, author of "Horse Heaven." "Claiming races are for what you might call working class horses who haven't made it into the big time or the bigger time. When the trainer enters his horse in a claiming race, he is saying that the horse is for sale. If another owner or trainer wants the horse, he puts down the required amount of money (set by the value of the race and some other factors) any time up to fifteen minutes before the start of the race. As soon as the horses leave the gate, the horse belongs to the one who claimed it, whether it wins or loses, lives or dies. After the horses head back to the receiving barn, a track official comes out and hangs a red tag on the horse's bridle, and the horse goes to the barn of its new owner. Needless to say, you can run a horse over and over in claiming races, hoping that it will get claimed, and it won't, or you can risk it once, hoping that it won't get claimed, and it will. One reason to put it in a claiming race even though you don't want it to get claimed is that you think it has a good chance of winning the pot and a small chance of getting taken because it has obscure breeding or something like that. There's also an element of daring and gambling in claiming races that track people like."


  • Champions The Lives, Times, and Past Performances of America's Greatest Thoroughbreds, Daily Racing Form


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