Gallant Bloom, 1968

Charles Hatton on 1968 champion 2-year-old filly Gallant Bloom from the 1969 American Racing Manual.


Robert Kleberg Jr.’s homebred Gallant Bloom was appropriately awarded the palm among the season’s two-year-old fillies, as she displayed surpassing ability both in the sprint stakes and in the more searching tests around two turns. These dual qualities were consonant with her patrician pedigree and they were developed to the highest degree by 88-year-old trainer.

In a sense, there were two Gallant Blooms–the dashing catch-me-if-you-can nine-length winner of the six-furlong Matron, and the filly who pro-rated her speed and stamina a mile and a sixteenth in the lucrative Gardenia, cutting down her rivals with studied deliberation and assurance.

Sandwiched between these important events, marking an unusual transition in her techniques, was a disappointing race at a flat mile around one turn in the Frizette at Belmont Park. In this fixture she made a vainglorious attempt to smother her field with sheer speed, as she had done in the Matron. Deep in the stretch she had cashiered her resources and began to hang, with the consequence Shuvee improved all through the last quarter and beat her a thrusting neck.

Racing Style Had to Be Changed

“This left me no alternative but to experiment with changing her way of going,” Hirsch later reflected. “Very few horses are so adaptable that you can do this successfully. It goes against their natures, and usually the horse is only confused and resentful and gets so he doesn’t do anything well.

“I had no recourse but to break off Gallant Bloom behind one or two horses training her in the morning, steadying her the first furlongs of her work then asking her to run at the leaders. She has a lovely disposition and could not have been more cooperative.

“She rated perfectly for Rotz in the afternoon with this schooling and won going a mile and 70 yards before winning the Gardenia.” Incidentally, she turned the tables on Shuvee in the latter race, outmaneuvering her clearly on the final bend then resisting her challenge by more than a length.

In less experienced and sensitive hands, a generous and nimble filly like Gallant Bloom might easily have become speed crazy and never have realized her potential.

Running 10 times, on fast and slow surfaces, under four different riders, the Texan won six of 10 starts, finished once second and earned a tidy $231,400. She might conceivably have earned somewhat more, except that she unaccountably washed out badly before the Sorority and was stood on her head at the outset of the Spinaway. She emerged in the fall far more sophisticated as a racing tool.

Gallant Bloom is not an imposing big filly, but “plenty big enough,” as horsemen say. She is neatly turned and beautifully balanced from stem to stern, her 15.3 hands frame free of excess lumber. Her moving parts all conjoin harmoniously as the mechanism of a fine watch, and she is the sort who picks to pieces well.

She is a hard bay with black points and a bit of white on her near hind pastern. Her coat is thin and shows a lot of blood. She has some quality about the head, which is wide between mild eyes. The rein length is fair, the shoulders good, the humerus fairly upright, in the approved fashion to facilitate liberty of action and length of stride.

The ribs are well sprung and she is smooth over the loins, which are broad and followed by a long pelvic area. The stifles are well dropped and perhaps the salient points of her organization are her relatively short cannons, complemented by long forearms and length from hip to hock.

Her pasterns are the right length and not too light while her hoofs are round and open. The tout ensemble comes to a precisioned point and counterpoint of conformation one is accustomed to seeing in the progeny of Princequillo, though she has none of his blood. She does not wear blinkers and fights back bravely when challenged.

Sire Was Belmont Stakes Winner

Gallant Bloom is fortified with the right sort of blood to prove an Oaks filly. She is by the Belmont Stakes winner Gallant Man, who did not know the difference between five furlongs and five miles. He was, in turn, by Bois Roussel, a half-brother to Sir Gallahad III and Bull Dog, who brought off a coup in the Epsom Derby. Gallant Man is out of Majideh, who was the most attractive of the Aga’s mares at stud in Ireland and who produced, apart from Gallant Man, the Epsom and Irish Oaks winner Masaka. She was by Mahmoud out of Quarrat-al-Ain, a mare the Aga bought an entire stud to obtain.

Gallant Bloom is out of Multiflora, who ran 14 times without winning but certainly not because she stepped on her pedigree. This mare is by Beau Max, a son of Bull Lea and Col. E. R. Bradley’s splendid Bee Mac. Beau Max introduces a second crossing of the blood of the matriarchal Plucky Liege, the dam of Bois Roussel.

Another Infusion of Mahmoud Blood

Multiflora is out of Flower Bed, a brilliant two-year-old filly by Beau Pere out of Boudoir II, who introduces another infusion of Mahmoud. Boudoir II was a small gray mare of Oaks caliber, physically quite unlike her kinswoman Majideh, a clipper-rigged chestnut mare of fair size at the withers. She produced Your Host, the sire of mighty Kelso, and gave other hostages to fortune through Flower Bed, from whom descend Flower Bowl, Bowl of Flowers and the spectacular Graustark.

Trainer Hirsch may say again, “She comes from a good family.”

Actually, Gallant Bloom is bred very like the late Miss Eleanora Sears’ Gallant Man filly Spicy Living, with her accumulation of the blood of “The Flying Filly” Mumtaz Mahal. Fortunately, she escaped the excitable temperament of Miss Sears’ Acorn and Mother Goose winner.

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