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Bushranger

1995.2.1655 Keeneland Morgan.jpg

Bushranger (Keeneland-Morgan)
Bushranger
Induction Year: 
1967
Foaled: 
1930
Breeder: 
Joseph E. Widener
Owner: 
Joseph E. Widener
Trainer: 
J. Howard Lewis
Sire: 
Stefan the Great
Dam: 
War Path
Damsire: 
Man o' War
Career Years: 
1932-1936
Starts: 
21
First: 
11
Second: 
3
Third: 
1
Earnings: 
$20,635.00

Tab Wrapper

Bio

Originally intended to be a flat racer, Bushranger made his mark when converted to a steeplechaser as a 4-year-old. He went on to become one of the sport's most prolific jumpers.

 

A chestnut son of Stefan the Great out of the Man o’ War mare War Path, Bushranger was bred and owned by Joseph E. Widener, one of the leading owners of steeplechasers in the sport.

 

As a 2-year-old in 1932, Bushranger was winless in five starts on the flat. He was then sent to trainer J. Howard Lewis for a shot at a jumping career. Bushranger did not race as a 3-year-old while learning the nuances of the jumping game. He returned as a 4-year-old in 1934, posting a record of 4-1-0 from seven starts in minor events.

 

As a 5-year-old, Bushranger became a stakes winner with victories in the Broad Hollow Handicap and Appleton Memorial Cup. His best season was in 1936 when he won the Brook Steeplechase and carried a then-record 172 pounds to victory in the Grand National. The place finisher carried 15 less pounds than Bushranger and every other competitor was saddled with 32 less pounds than the winner. John Hervey wrote in American Race Horses, 1936, that Bushranger was well rated off the pace in the early stages of the Grand National.

 

“This he resented, being anxious to go on, and at the first water jump he made a poor landing, but recovered quickly and after that fenced perfectly in complete control,” Hervey wrote. “Bushranger was given play, and he rushed past the leaders without ceremony. He had too much strength and speed, and won without being ridden out. The immense crowd greeted this exhibition with tumultuous applause.”

 

Bushranger also won his second consecutive Broad Hollow Handicap in 1936, carrying 159 pounds while setting a stakes record of 3:42⅗ in the 2-mile event. He posted a record of 4-0-0 from five starts that year and was recognized as the best steeplechaser in the land. His brilliant career, however, came to a tragic end when he fractured a leg while schooling at Belmont Park in June 1937. Bushranger was humanely put down following the accident.

 

Overall, Bushranger compiled a record of 11-3-1 and earnings of $20,635 from 21 career starts.

Horse