Horseracing StoriesCarreras de Caballos

Kelso, photo from Thoroughbredmemories.com


Foaled in 1957, by Your Host out of Maid of Flight, Harsh Thakor

This horse was an equivalent of a prophet to Horse Racing. For durability and toughness, he was possibly the greatest racehorse of all time. To capture the Horse of the Year title for five consecutive years was an unprecedented feat.

Kelso was like an emperor conquering territories all over the world over a considerable period of time. The horse won over various distances and on all types of going.Secretariat or Phar Lap certainly had greater natural ability and achievements but with regards to durability Kelso is superior. In that regard Forego is Kelso' greatest challenger.

His owner Allaire du Pont bred Kelso in Wean Stock Farm in Maryland. He was gelded as a yearling as a fault had been detected in his stride. The stud veterinarian, Dr.John Lee, thought a strangulated condition was the cause.

Kelso made his race debut at the age of 2 yeras-old, on September 4th 1959 at Atlantic City, he came from 7th place with an amazing burst to win by a length and a quarter. In his remaining two races, he finished 2nd.

The following year in 1960, ex-jockey Carl Hanford was hired to train Kelso. In that season, Kelso displayed the smoothness of a seal swimming winning 8 out of 9 starts. The gelding had captured his first Horse of the Year Title.

The following year, in 1961, Kelso wrote an epic in the history books by capturing the handicapping Triple Crown. This comprised the Metropolitan, the Suburban and Brooklyn Handicaps-achieved previously twice.He carried 130lb, 133 lb and 136 lb to win the events. He went on to win the Jockey Club Gold Cup and the Woodward Cup. For the second consecutive year the horse captured the Horse of the Year Tittle.

The following year, Kelso had a minor set back under Willie Shoemaker, losing 3 of his first 4 starts. After jockey Ishmael Valenzuela replaced The Shoe, Kelso returned to his winning ways. A second Woodward Stakes was captured and in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, he triumphed for the 3rd time by 10 lengths, winning in a track record time. In that race, he broke the American record for two miles, winning in 3:19.8 secs. He won like an emperor leading a victory procession. For the 3rd consecutive year Kelso was the Horse of the Year.

Kelso, from bryanchinastore.safeshopper.com

In 1963, Kelso won 9 of his 12 starts, including the Woodward and the Gold Cup. He won the Horse of the Year Crown for the 4th consecutive time.

In 1964, Kelso had a series of battles with Gun Bow. Witnessing their mutual rivalry was one of Racing's greatest spectacles.

At the start of the season, Kelso was beaten in two starts in California, where he was unplaced. On returning home, he captured an overnight handicap less than 136 lb. In the Suburban Handicap, after a long tug of war with Iron Peg, he was beaten conceding 15lb.

On September 4th in the Aqueduct Stakes at equal weights, Kelso overpowered Gun Bow by ¾ of a length. This was followed by an enthralling battle for supremacy between the two horses in the Woodward Stakes where Gun Bow won by the smallest of margins. However, in the Jockey Club Gold Cup like an emperor determined to keep his throne and confirm his superiority. Kelso won by 5 and a half-lengths, breaking his own track record in the bargain. That day Kelso’s rivals were simply flesh devoured by a tiger.

The Washington International turned out to be one of Racing's epics. Two horses stood out. They were Kelso and Gun Bow.

Gun Bow took the early lead, followed by Kelso, 4 lengths behind. In the backstretch, after being urged by jockey Valenzuela, Kelso joined the leader. In the backstretch, the two horses drew away from the rest of the field and it appeared that a major two horses battle for supremacy would emerge. To the public's amazement like a plane taking of a runaway, Kelso pulled away to win by 4 and a half lengths in the record time of 2:23.8 secs. The ovation Kelso received after his triumph in the winner's enclosure was like Napoleon being cheered after winning a famous battle. For the 5th year in succession, he captured the Horse of the Year Title.

After being retired to Stud at Woodstock Farm, Kelso was impossible to handle and was restarted into racing. In 6 starts he won 3 times. These included a dramatic nose win over Malicious in the Whitney Stakes and an 8 length win in the Stymie Handicap. During that race, he was hit in the eye by dirt and his eye was injured. After being put away for the rest of the year, he was so nervous that he had to be brought back to the track at the age of 9 years.

After finishing 4th in a six furlong allowance race at Hialeah and preparing for the Donn Handicap, Kelso took a false step. A hair-line fracture of the right inside sesamoid was discovered and the superstar was retired.

Kelso had earned a record Usd 1,977,896. In 63 starts, he won 39 times. He was the greatest flat gelding ever. Kelso was an equivalent of a relentless army commander to racing.

The impact he made on racing was comparable to Secretariat, Nijinsky and Man o'War. For durability, only Forego or John Henry compared favourably with Kelso. For 5 consecutive years, he ruled flat racing like an emperor. That feat may never be surpassed as long as horse racing exists.

Year Age Starts 1st 2nd 3rd Earned Usd
1959 2 3 1 2 0 3,380
1960 3 9 8 0 0 293,310
1961 4 9 7 1 0 425,565
1962 5 12 6 4 0 289,685
1963 6 12 9 2 0 569,762
1964 7 11 5 3 0 311,660
1965 8 6 3 0 2 84,034
1966 9 1 0 0 0 500
Totals 63 39 12 2 1,977,896

Career Highlights:

* 1960 Champion 3-yr-old Male, Horse of the Year
* 1961 Champion Handicap Male, Horse of the Year
* 1962 Champion Handicap Male, Horse of the Year
* 1963 Champion Handicap Male, Horse of the Year
* 1964 Champion Handicap Male, Horse of the Year
* Only 5-time Horse of the Year in history
* First 3-yr-old named Horse of the Year who didn't win a Triple Crown race.
* Won 5 consecutive editions of the Jockey Club Gold Cup, the most consecutive wins of a major stakes by any horse in history.
* Won 3 consecutive editions of the Woodward Stakes.
* Three-time winner of the Whitney Stakes.
* Two-time winner of the Aqueduct Stakes.
* Two-time winner of the Suburban Handicap.
* Won 8 of 9 races (7 stakes) in 1960.
* Won 8 consecutive races (last 6 of 1960 & first 2 of 1961).
* Carried 130 pounds on 24 occasions, winning 13, placing in 5, and finishing third once.
* Won 39 of 63 starts (62%).
* Finished in the money in 53 of 63 starts (84%).
* In 1961, joined Whisk Broom & Tom Fool as the third in history to win the New York Triple of the Metropolitan, Suburban (135 lbs), and Brooklyn (136 lbs) handicaps.
* Set a new American record for 1 1/2 miles while on turf in the 1964 Washington D.C. International.
*Retired the all-time leading money earner with Usd 1,997,896.


Kelso's Pedigree

Your Host Alibhai Hyperion
Boudoir II Mahmoud
Maid of Flight Count Fleet Reight Count
Maidoduntreath Man o'War
Mid Victorian