In Reality, 1968

Charles Hatton on In Reality from the 1969 American Racing Manual.


Mrs. Frances Genter’s homebred In Reality had the misfortune to be foaled in the same crop as Dr. Fager and Damascus, but also had the class to make his mark before joining them in retirement to stud as 4-year-olds at the end of 1968. Before breaking a foot in midseason, he had notched an important victory in the Metropolitan Mile for his 14th career victory in 27 starts, bring his total earnings to a princely $795,825.

In the course of his career, In Reality won the Pimlico Futurity, Hibiscus, Fountain of Youth, Florida Derby, Jersey Derby (on the disqualification of Dr. Fager), Rumson, Choice, Campbell and Carter. He was second to Damascus in the Preakness and American Derby and to Dr. Fager in the New Hampshire Sweepstakes. The misstep which put finish to his onslaughts came in the Suburban of ’68.

One always had the feeling a mile was In Reality’s best game, as it was his sire Intentionally’s, and perhaps both should have lived before, when races “once around the park” were in a vogue and a miler’s prestige and potential values were greater. Crack milers such as Osmand and Roman were considered archetypal rather than diminished.

This is not to imply that eight furlongs marked the absolute end of In Reality’s tether. Trainer Melvin “Sunshine” Calvert supposes one of his best performances was at 10 furlongs when confronted by Dr. Fager and a weight disadvantage in the 1967 New Hampshire Sweepstakes. He conceded the winner six pounds and proved a splendid foil as they ran the diastance in 1:59 4/5, a new Rockingham record. It is just that, when he was trained specifically for it, a flat mile would have thrown his talents into bas relief.

Calvert is a profound horseman who gave In Reality every chance of producing his maximum effort. The colt was never rushed unduly for any particular engagement nor started . . . when the least off color in condition. The Genters gave Calvert carte blanche, and his first concern was ever for the horse, just as it had been for the colt’s dam, that graceful ballerina of a mover My Dear Girl.

Everything about In Reality’s physical and temperamental organization suggested him as a fast and highly courageous animal, characteristics consonant with the form and proclivities of both his sire, Intentionally, and his dam. A sweeter tempered mare than My Dear Girl, who won a Gardenia despite rather tricky knees, never looked though a bridle, and there never was one who could skim over the loam more gracefully.

Well Muscled in Hind Quarters

Anybody could ride My Dear Girl in a halter and the same appeared true of her son. In Reality is a short-coupled 15.3 to the eye, with an extravaganza of muscularity about the hind quarters. He is a bay with black points and a small star, and is a very thick set individual whose legs are set well under him.

He has a straight profile, strong paw, rather short thick neck and heavy shoulders. He forks narrowly enough and the angulation before the saddle, about the scapula, humerus, radius, cannon and pasterns is correct. The pasterns are strong, the antitype of the spoollike pasterns seen in light-boned, shelly individuals, and they are of fair length.

It is behind the saddle that In Reality is almost abnormal. He has a fairly straight, short loin but is very broad at the hips, and the muscular investiture of the quarters and stifle is rarely seen outside the quarter-horse breed. In fact, In Reality evokes a vivid recollection of J. W. Parrish’s Percentage, a blaze-faced chestnut pater familias of the quarter-horse. Even that flier had no greater evident thrust back of the saddle.

All’s Well Until Suburban Mishap

In Reality’s action is clever. He can be off like a flash, but is perfectly amenable to rating. And he is equally dangerous using a long or short fuse, so to say. A smart colt from the first, he never seemed to put a foot down wrong until his mishap in the Suburban. He was a good shipper and all tracks appeared to look alike to him.

In Reality’s conformation is that of his sire in miniature. His dam was fashioned along lighter and more supple lines. Intentionally and My Dear Girl came to a sort of All American pedigree, with no asterisks to be noted until the fourth stirp and just three importations among his first 30 antecedents.

Intentionally is by Intent and the male line is that of Man o’ War, though the Super Horse and In Reality are poles apart in type and individuality. Indeed, In Reality is inbred 3×3 to Man o’ War’s savage, not to say mad son War Relic. Perhaps he could be presented as a case-in-point fro those who argue that inbreeding tends to foreshorten the physique and concentrate speed at the expense of stamina.

Fortunately, In Reality does not look anything like the individuals to whom he is inbred, neither does he behave like some of that rampageous breed. Also, he seems to have escaped the tendency toward thick wind in many descendants of Friar Carse’s ancestress, Problem. As we recall, Problem was obtained by George Strate for about $60 and was a magnificent, big mare to look at. She founded a classy family, but one cursed for generations with roaring.

My Dear Girl is by Rough’n Tumble of the Himyar male line through Questionnaire. Her dam, Iltis, by War Relic, was a frequent winner. She also has Rock Sand and Fairy Gold. Rock Sand was an English Triple Crown winner, rather effeminate in appearance though very bloodlike, and the sire of many notable producers. Fairy Gold was a smallish daughter of Bend Or. Bred to Rock Sand, she foaled Fair Play’s half-brother Friar Rock, ancestor of Pilate and Eight Thirty.

This is an old-fashioned pedigree, but In Reality is “with it,” as they say in the vibrant present. In fact, immediacy was his long suit.


In Reality was the first (and best) stakes winner produced by My Dear Girl but not the last. In all she produced 15 foals, 14 starters, 13 winners, and seven stakes winners: In Reality (1964), Return to Reality (1969 gelding by Intentionally), Watchfulness (1974 filly by Native Charger), Really and Truly (1975 colt by What a Pleasure), Gentle Touch (1976 filly by Chieftain), Superbity (1977 colt by Groshawk), and My Dear Lady (1980 filly by Mr. Prospector).

My Dear Girl was a foal of 1957. Note that she produced Superbity at the age of 20 and My Dear Lady at the age of 23.

Needless to say, My Dear Girl was never rewarded the title Broodmare of the Year.

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