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Vagrancy (horse)

Sire Valkyr
Grandsire Man o' War
Gender Mare
Foaled 1939
Country United States
Color Bay
Breeder Belair Stud Farm
Owner Belair Stud Farm
Trainer "Sunny" Jim Fitzsimmons
Record 42: 15-8-8
Earnings $ 102,480
Vagrancy is a thoroughbred racehorse by Valkyr. She was born around 1939 in the United States, and was bred by Belair Stud Farm.
Major wins
Coaching Club American Oaks (1942)
Pimlico Oaks (1942)
Delaware Oaks (1942)
Alabama Stakes (1924)
Gazelle Stakes (1924)
Test Stakes (1924)
Beldame Stakes (1942)
Ladies Handicap (1942)
American Champion 3-Year-Old Filly (1942)
American Champion Older Female Horse (1942)
Vagrancy Handicap named in honor at Belmont Park
Horse (Equus ferus caballus)

Vagrancy the 1942 champion 3-year-old filly and handicap mare was honored with a race in her name which is run at Belmont Park. Most acknowledge her grit and determination in that she had 12 starts against males, although she never finished better than second. Vagrancy raced for Belair Stud and was trained for most of her career by “Sunny” Jim Fitzsimmons.

1942 and 1943 racing seasons

Vagrancy was a bay filly born in 1939 out of Valkyr by Man o' War was a promising winner at two-years old and then ran an incredible twenty one times in a "Sunny" Jim Fitzsimmons campaign for the ages that made her the 1942 American Champion Three-Year-Old Filly. She was also the champion "handicap" filly that season after beating the older crops in head-to-head races. At age three she bloomed into the champion of her crop, with a delightful list on nine stakes races won including some of the best Belair targets, winning the Coaching Club American Oaks, the Pimlico Oaks, the Delaware Oaks, the Alabama Stakes, the Gazelle Stakes and the Test Stakes against her own age, and the Beldame Handicap and Ladies Handicap against older fillies and mares. At age 3, she made 21 starts, compiling a record of ten wins, four seconds, and one third. She was first or second in eleven straight races against her own sex; her second against the boys came in the Lawrence Realization.

Vagrancy raced 42 times and hit the board in 31 of her starts. She won most of the most important stakes races in New York at the time for fillies, including the Ladies Handicap, the Alabama, the Test, the Coaching Club American Oaks, and the Gazelle[1]. One of Vagrancy's most famous race was probably the Beldame Stakes (because of a rare grade 1one outcome), in which she led for most of the race but was caught at the wire by Barrancosa; following a review of the photo, the race was declared a dead heat. Better than losing, certainly, but I can’t imagine that William Woodward left the racetrack feeling satisfied either. From The Times: “William Woodward, of Belair Stud was chairman of the Jockey Club and breeder and owner of Vagrancy, flipped a coin in the unsaddling enclosure after the finish and thereby lost possession for the coming year of the Beldame Trophy. It will travel West to Bing Crosby and Lin Howard, owners of Binglin Stock Farm and importers of Barrancosa.” Win the race and lose the coin toss. Ouch![1].

As a Broodmare

During the 1940s Vagrancy as a mare accounted for the vast majority of Belair's wins with most of their other key victories came abroad. Vagrancy contributed mightily producing Black Tarquin, winner of English stakes races from the historic Gimcrack Stakes at to the longest of the classics, the St. Leger Stakes and the good filly Vulcania, who also became an important broodmare [2]. Another daughter, Natasha, also became a major producer, and her daughter Natashka was Broodmare of the Year in 1981. In foaling Black Tarquin, she seemed to justify her importation. Black Tarquin was a huge colt that often demonstrated his brilliance by ascertaining victories in sprints, one-mile distances as well as marathons. He finished second in the Ascot Gold Cup, all told winning eight of fifteen starts and being recorded as England's champion three-year old of 1948.[2].


  1. [Article related to Rachel Alexandra on May 23, 2009, 9:18 am, "The Day the Fillies Were the Feature," By Teresa Genaro in the column "The Rail, The Race for the Triple Crown," Post tagged with VAGRANCY]
  2. Legacies of the Turf : A Century of Great Thoroughbred Breeders, 2003, By Edward L. Bowen


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