Numbered Account, 1971

Charles Hatton on 1971 champion 2-year-old filly Numbered Account from the 1972 American Racing Manual.

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Numbered Account is the sort of filly who would make an indelible impression in any generation, and she was the champion among the two-year-olds of her sex in 1971. We should think it would be madness to pretend to be privy to her future, but on the evidence of the superlative quality she displayed last season it will surprise no one if she continues to make others of her age and sex division feel a bit redundant.

Having captured eight of 10 races, seven of them important stakes, and amassed $446,584 in her initial campaign, Jockey Club Chairman Ogden Phipps’ homebred filly achieved a tremendous vogue for her youthful progenitor Buckpasser as a member of his first crop of foals. Interestingly, their familiars consider his second crop generally better, actually, which encourages the thought she is an earnest of their high character.

A filly of imposing size and substance from foalhood, Numbered Account always was rather eye-catching. Additionally, she was and is sound, and has a disposition like Mary’s lamb. Indeed, her handlers found her deportment at breaking time so cooperative and ingratiating, some wondered if she had the competitive spirit which is the prerequisite of a mettlesome, high class racemare.

Rose to Occasion When Necessary

Once brought to the races, Numbered Account allayed these suspicions. Her illustrious sire will be remembered as a notoriously idle horse in training, and a blinker and stick horse in competition, but one who was fiercely competitive once his blood was up. Cheerfulness itself in the morning, Numbered Account was never more dangerous than when defeat seemed imminent in the afternoon.

Racing fortunes are so quaint. Roughly a carload of crack Phipps two-year-olds had been fragmented through severe campaigning over the years, never to reproduce their high form. Numbered Account appeared strong enough to make circumstances serve her, and there was a departure from the “bird in the hand” policy in outlining her campaign. She was handled most conservatively until the very end, when she was the first filly to attempt winning both the Gardenia and the Garden State.

Together with her hollow victory in the Selima, this came to three mile and a sixteenth races in two weeks. She was rather rushing her fences, and her failure to rally in the Garden State forced capable young trainer Roger Laurin to conclude she had essayed to put too many races too close together.

There long had been a great deal of cut and thrust over the relative merits of Riva Ridge, conditioned by Laurin’s father, and the Phipps filly. Their widely advocated and eagerly awaited clash in the Garden State gave that purse-proud fixture tremendous panache.

Didn’t Run Her Race Against Males

If one may say so without your inferring it would have mattered to the result, which was a res0nant victory for Riva Ridge, the unblinking fact remains the filly did not quite run her race.

Riva Ridge’s legions were triumphant, and some found time to say their “I told you so’s,” though this is never considered good form. There is a stupid superstition in American turf circles that questions the wisdom of running a filly against a colt, though Anita Peabody, Artful, Regret, Tanya and a whole Pantheon of others of the so-called weaker sex had beaten the best colts across the years.

Owner Phipps is a realist, nor did he have to stretch a point to think Numbered Account exceptional. We salute his sportsmanship in deciding she should take her chance, though his good example did not meet with the result it deserved.

There are those who conjecture that were Numbered Account to have forfeited the Matron to meet Riva Ridge in the Champagne, she might have been in condition to give a better account of herself, but that is just kibitzing. Conceivably, she would have declined the Garden State except it was the final start of the season, to be followed by six months out of action.

It was rumored in the fall that Numbered Account had a bit of a knee, but trainer Laurin was vehement in denying this, attesting he had her X-rayed from the soles of her feet to her ears is assuming the late Eddie Neloy’s post, as he did not want it said he had broken her down. He proclaimed her sound as a stick.

“She is perfect in every respect,” he permitted himself to say. “She is a pleasure to train, a doll at home and is in no way emotionally erratic going to the races. I only put the blinkers on her because she goes away from the gate sort of casually and I don’t want those boys hitting her and perhaps souring her.” She has never struck us as a difficult filly, on the contrary is sociable, dutiful and contained at all times.

Numbered Account is 16.1 at the withers, and has the embonpoint to match. Actually, she was larger than many fillies a year or two her senior when first she came to the races, winning by 10 increasing lengths on the occasion of her entry into public life in May. She is a hard, whole colored bay, verging on brown, with just a dime’s worth of star as her only marking. Her points are black, extending well up the legs.

Regarded in the round, our subject impresses as a filly of grand size, substance and scope, having good but not coarse bone, and very smooth throughout. But like her male counterpart Riva Ridge she is rather more “country looking” than stylish, which is largely owing to their languid postures, for both have their appealing good points and none at which one could cavil. “Stand like an ass at a horse fair,” as the Irish say.

Numbered Account is only three-quarters of an inch taller than the male champion, whose format is more homogenous however, so that the filly appears noticeably leggier and lengthier to the eye. They afford an interesting study in contrasting types, neither subject to disapproval.

Has Large Bulging Forehead

The filly’s ears are long and loosely carried, but she has a large, mild eye and bulging forehead, the seat of the brain pan. Her neck is stouter than most of her sex without being masculine and breedy, and is mortised into a fairly deep shoulder. The barrel is round, with no hint of weakness in the flanks, while she has fair breadth over the hips and ilium, which is flat rather than prominent.

The tail, or flag, is set on slightly low, and was allowed to grow long as a trotter’s, which tends to diminish her stature and aesthetic appeal.

Her legs are superb, tremendously well muscled, though not with the knotty sort seen in muscle-bound sprinters. The muscular investiture is long and incredibly developed in one of her age, while her hind legs set on plumb. The pasterns are correct in their angulation and length in relation to the cannons, forearms and gaskins.

The hooves are capital, and the hocks strong, though we think that we have seen broader and some might wish her knees were more closely knit. Her quarters are smooth, the pelvis of medium length. She boasts tremendous liberty of action, and a splendid, big open stride. It is perfectly controlled, and she has placed it on record she is an all-weather horse.

Won From 5 Furlongs to 1 1/16 Miles

Numbered Account won from 5 furlongs to a mile and a sixteenth. She has a long fuse and is unhurried out of the gate, indeed has come to the quarter pole apparently beaten, then had poured it on with relentless gusto, gathering momentum as she goes. Never has she flinched nor faltered in her attack, except when she ran in jaded fashion for the Garden State, and she has probed through where most of her sex would hesitate.

Baeza is her regular rider, and her technique suits his waiting style perfectly. His confidence in this mount has found him setting her some seemingly impossible tasks the final furlongs, but it is not mislaid. That Numbered Account has sprinting speed once on stride she demonstrated excitingly in the Spinaway, yoking Rondeau in the pace duel of such ferocity her rival was swimming in deep stretch.

Dr. M. A. Gilman of the NYRA measured her for the anatomy of class last October and his soundings are as follows:

Height, 16 hands, 1 inch

Point of shoulder to point of shoulder, 15 inches

Girth, 73 1/2 inches

Withers to point of shoulder, 28 inches

Elbow to ground, 39 inches

Point of shoulder to point of hip, 45 3/4 inches

Point of hip to point of hip, 26 inches

Point of hip to point of hock, 39 1/2 inches

Point of hip to buttock, 24 inches

Poll to withers, 39 inches

Buttock to ground, 55 inches

Point of shoulder to buttock, 66 1/2 inches

Circumference of cannon under knee, 8 1/2 inches.

High priests of pedigrees will find few if any flaws in Numbered Account’s genealogy. It would defeat them to try, considering the luminosity of her performances. Certainly this observer has not the conceit.

Leon Rasmussen, for whose knowledge of pedigrees we have an enormous regard, finds Numbered Account’s ancestry so fascinating he scarcely can think which aspect to consider first. Of course, she is a Buckpasser, and he needs no introduction as a champion two- and three-year-old and handicapper, a Suburban hero by the Suburban hero Tom Fool out of the Suburban heroine Busanda, if you like.

Buckpasser is hopefully expected to carry on for Bold Ruler at the Phipps haras, located at Claiborne Farm, indeed and inevitably will be mated with numerous of that horse’s daughters.

There is some line breeding of a unique notice in Numbered Account’s family tree, for both her sire and dam come of the marvelous family founded by that exquisitely modeled Teddy mare La Troienne.

As you may know, our subject is out of Intriguing. An untimely accident cashiered her high private reputation. Ogden Phipps had no very good luck breeding to Swaps, but that moribund sire’s daughter Intriguing is compensating him for that,

In addition to introducing a second cross of La Troienne in Numbered Account’s pedigree, Intriguing provides another infusion of War Admiral blood. You see, Busanda is by the doughty Admiral, and so is Intriguing’s granddam Striking, an own sister to the marvelous racemare Busher, who at three gave weight and a beating to the older Armed.

Striking herself might conceivably have proved a champion two-year-old filly except for a curious knot on one ankle and the poor judgment to get herself foaled in the same generation with Bed o’ Roses. We do not speak of Intriguing’s immediate dam Glamour. She had ability but was a bit of a counterfeit. But for all her unreliability in training, she foaled four stakes winners and one cannot quarrel with that.

Regarded as an individual, Numbered Account recalls her paternal granddam Busanda, excepting the latter was black and a harder type than any other of her immediate ancestors. But of course she might resemble almost any of them profitably.

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I have a devious reason for posting about Numbered Account right now. Perhaps I will babble about it in the next day or two.

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