Boston, from the painting by Edward Troye
|Dam||Sister to Tuckahoe|
2. Col. William R. Johnson & James Long
Capt. John Blecher|
2. Arthur Taylor
|1955 Hall of Fame inductee|
|Last updated on 10 September 2010|
Boston (1833-1850) was an outstanding Thoroughbred racehorse and a Leading sire in North America three times from 1851 to 1853. He started in about 45 races, winning 40, including 15 in succession. Boston was later one of the initial inductees into the Hall of Fame.
He was a chestnut stallion with a white blaze on his nose, and he was foaled in Richmond, Virginia. Boston was bred by Virginia attorney John Wickham (who had been Aaron Burr's counsel in his trial for treason). He was by Timoleon (by the Sir Archy); his dam was a sister to Tuckahoe, by Ball's Florizel. Boston was inbred to Diomed in the third generation (3m x 3f). He was a half-brother to the Shylock mare who founded a successful family. They were from the number 40 family, which traced back to the imported mare Kitty Fisher.
As a two-year-old, Boston was lost by his breeder in a card game and was given to Wickham's friend Nathaniel Rives of Richmond to repay his debt of $800. He was named after a popular card game and later given the nickname of "Old Whitenose". Boston had a wilful temperament and was difficult to train. He was sent to the stable of John Belcher, and then to the trainer L. White, and then back to Belcher. White said, "The horse should either be castrated or shot—preferably the latter."
On April 20, 1836, he was entered into a match in Richmond against a colt of White's. Boston ran away with the race, gaining a long lead, only to stop and sulk.
Back under saddle, Boston won fifteen races in succession. From Georgia to New York, he raced until he was a ten-year-old, winning 40 of his 45 starts. In those days, races weren't stakes, graded or otherwise, and they weren't run on specially prepared racecourses. They were heats across open country and 30 of Boston's victories were in these four-miles heats, while another 9 wins were in three-mile heats. Boston had established himself as a great--if tempestuous--race horse and more than once, his then owner (Colonel W. R. Johnson, called the "Napoleon of the Turf") was paid good money not to race, in order to encourage other owners to enter their horses in an event.
The accepted wisdom is that Boston lost on his merit only once. In May 1842, he met the filly Fashion, the daughter of Trustee and Bonnets o' Blue, in a well-touted match race at the Union Course on Long Island, New York. Seventy thousand people witnessed the event. In the first heat, the nine-year-old Boston (carrying 126 pounds) cut open a long, jagged gash on his hip against a rail, and both he and five-year-old Fashion (carrying 111 pounds) were upset by the crowd often surging onto the track. Boston led for three miles, but Fashion won by 60 yards, setting a new world record of 7:32½ for a four-mile heat.
Boston was the leading sire in 1841, 1842 and 1843, beginning his stud career even before he raced against Fashion. (He'd covered 42 mares before the match at $100 each.) He stood, at first, in Hanover County, Virginia, then in Washington, D.C., and was then led over the mountains to Kentucky where he spent his last seasons in Woodford County, Kentucky. It was in Kentucky that he was finally bred with mares of good quality, which enabled him to become a leading sire. He was also a sire of trotters.
Some Boston's noted progeny were:
By 1849, Boston was blind and in such poor health he could stand only with the aid of a harness. He was found dead in his stall on January 31, 1850, blind and emaciated from illness. His two best sons, Lexington and Lecomte, were born in the spring after his death.
|Sister to Juno|
|Wildair mare||Symmes' Wildair|
Sister to Tuckahoe
|Sister to Juno|
|Wildair mare (Family 40)|