Charles Hatton on 1959 champion two-year-old filly My Dear Girl from the 1960 American Racing Manual.
The two-year-old fillies are an infallibly interesting age and sex division. In this they frequently differ radically from the three-year-olds and handicappers, whose ranks can be so decimated by what are called the “vicissitudes” that races for them can be pretty banal for discriminating turfgoers. As between two-year-old fillies and their male contemporaries, the former are usually more precocious and quicker to learn. The good ones are notable for their regularity. Fillies such as 1959’s My Dear Girl, Irish Jay and Heavenly Body are typical. They have generosity, gentility, uncomplicated psyches and an instinctive zest for racing. Unfortunately for them in their class struggle, Irish Jay and Heavenly Body did not have the underpinning to match their stout hearts, and in the end My Dear Girl outpointed them for the season’s honors.
We suppose everybody knows the charming story of how My Dear Girl became the property of Mrs. Frances A. Genter, who, with her husband Harold, a retired Minneapolis manufacturer, raced the filly’s sire, Rough’n Tumble, whom Melvin “Sunshine” Calvert trained to win a Santa Anita Derby. At the outset of his stud career, Rough’n Tumble stood in Maryland, where he attracted few mates. He then was farmed out in Florida, with the proviso that the Genters were to have their choice of his first yearlings. They wisely chose My Dear Girl, who in ’59 won five of seven starts, $185,622, and the vote of a majority of the experts.
My Dear Girl began, unobtrusively, in a three-furlong dash at Hialeah Park in February, then won the Florida Breeders’ and moved to Chicago, where she split Monarchy and Heavenly Body in the Lassie while bucking her shins. Moving east to Garden State Park, she won the Gardenia, corroborating her showy from with another victory in the “Big A’s” Frizette, both run in the slop. With the exception of Round Table’s delicate but determined sister Monarchy, she beat all the best fillies who could be mustered against her. And in the course of her conservative campaign she showed a becoming impartiality about track conditions and distance, winning from three furlongs to a mile and a sixteenth.
For the sake of candor, My Dear Girl’s pedigree is something less than the dernier cri of fashion and she was not nominated for the Selima and several other early closing stakes, else she might conceivably have compiled an even more imposing record. But Calvert, after having afforded her plenty of time when her shins became sore in midsummer, decided to give her more time at the close of the season, on the assumption she was an Oaks filly in the making. We might add that the former jockey is not given to deluding himself in these matters and cultivating any false hopes. He learned in a hard, practical, sophisticated school, beating about the Texas bushes as a rider and “gypping” on the minor circuits as a trainer before Rough’n Tumble came his way. My Dear Girl convinced Calvert early in the summer that she was a filly of multifaceted talents, if only he could teach her manners at the gate, which he did, and remedy her sore shins. His patience was amply rewarded.
My Dear Girl is an engaging individual, thoroughly feminine and one who somehow recalls Misty Isle in her chestnut color and exquisitely modeled head, and her unexpected combination of airy graces and unremitting courage. “Genuine” is the much used, and occasionally misused, word for it. The gGnter filly probably will mature at approximately 15.3 and has a gay, bright chestnut coat with a very small star. At a glance, she is of medium stature, nicely balanced and has but one inherent structural flaw. We refer to her somewhat sickle hocks, a hallmark of the line of Sting and Questionnaire. But those two stalwarts, and such as Requested, Spur, My Request and Miss Request managed to get along swimmingly despite this fault, which is popularly supposed to create a strain on the back and militate against carrying high weights. The line is among the stoutest stemming from Himyar.
The Genter filly has a straight loin, rather cuts away at the croup, excellent development of the semimembranous muscling about the hind quarters, the girth and deep middle of a good doer, an oblique shoulder, strong forearms and gaskins and short tendons, if rather rough joints.
Her pasterns are at the correct, 45-degree angle and the formations of her coronets and hoofs are beyond cavil. She has a stout, rather breedy neck and her patrician head is set on an arching throatlatch, extending into deep, wide jowls. The eye is not particularly large, like that of the champion handicap mare Tempted, but is bright and alert, while her ears have the fine penciling that is another hallmark of the descendants of Questionnaire, with an inward turn at the tips enhancing her aesthetic appeal and contributing to the impression of awareness. Her head is “full of blood,” as the French would say.
Dam Is War Relic Mare
My Dear Girl’s pedigree is, in most its stirps, as American as corn on the cob. Not only does she come of one of the stoutest staying branches of the Himyar family tree, but her dam, Iltis, is by War Relic, one of Man o’ War’s best sons. War Relic is in turn out of Friar’s Carse, a slashing big chestnut daughter of Friar Rock who was one of the best race mares of her day despite being a congenital roarer. At stud, Friar’s Carse produced also War Relic’s sister, Speed Boat, and at S. D. Riddle’s Faraway founded a family of increasing importance. No fewer than three of 1959’s champions are traceable to Friar’s Carse. Apart from My Dear Girl, there is the Horse of the Year, Sword Dancer, and the champion sprinter, Intentionally.
Friar’s Carse is not the only “old blue hen” appearing in My Dear Girl’s pedigree. Her third dam was Coil. E. R. Bradley’s animated gold mine Clonaslee, who foaled good winners in redundancy, in fact 16 from 18 foals. My Dear Girl’s immediate dam, Iltis, was considerably better than an empty stall, winning about $20,000 in four fairly industrious campaigns. She just missed stakes class. Though those who genuflect before the asterisk may find the Genter filly’s pedigree rather plebeian, as their rather arbitrary caste system goes, it is indigenous, of, by and for America’s rigorous racing.
There is in My Dear Girl’s origins something heartening for the struggling young Florida Thoroughbred industry. She and Needles are its champions.