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Damascus

1995.2.1833 Damascus_Blood Horse small.jpg

Damascus, Willie Shoemaker up (The Blood-Horse)
Damascus
Induction Year: 
1974
Foaled: 
1964
Breeder: 
Edith W. Bancroft
Owner: 
Edith W. Bancroft
Trainer: 
Frank Whiteley, Jr.
Sire: 
Sword Dancer
Dam: 
Kerala
Damsire: 
My Babu
Career Years: 
1966-1968
Starts: 
32
First: 
21
Second: 
7
Third: 
3
Earnings: 
$1,176,781.00

Tab Wrapper

Bio

Damascus was named Horse of the Year and set a single-season earnings record in 1967 when he turned in one of the most impressive seasons by a 3-year-old colt in racing history.

 

Bred and owned by Edith W. Bancroft and trained by Frank Whiteley, Jr., Damascus was by Sword Dancer out of the My Babu mare Kerala. He was foaled at Jonabell Farm near Lexington, Ky.

 

After winning three of four starts as a 2-year-old in 1966, including the Remsen Stakes, Damascus won the Wood Memorial, Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes, Leonard Richard Stakes, Dwyer Handicap, American Derby, Travers Stakes, Aqueduct Stakes, Woodward Stakes and Jockey Club Gold Cup as a 3-year-old to earn Horse of the Year and Champion 3-Year-Old Colt honors for 1967. He posted a record of 12-3-1 from 16 starts that year and a single-season earnings record of $817,941 (which stood until surpassed by Secretariat in 1973).

 

It was a season for the ages. In the Woodward, Damascus defeated Dr. Fager and Buckpasser in what many historians consider to be among the top races of the 20th century. Under Willie Shoemaker, Damascus pulled away to win by 10 lengths before a crowd of 55,259 at Aqueduct. In the Travers, Damascus won by a record 22 lengths, equaling Buckpasser’s track record of 2:01⅗ for 1¼ miles. He also set a track record in the American Derby.

 

As a 4-year-old in 1968, Damascus won the Malibu Stakes and San Fernando Stakes in California before returning to the East and adding wins in the Brooklyn Handicap, William du Pont Jr. Handicap and Aqueduct Stakes. In the Brooklyn, Damascus set a track record in defeating Dr. Fager and became the eighth horse in racing history to surpass $1 million in career earnings. Damascus bowed a tendon in the Jockey Club Gold Cup and finished last. It was his final career start and the only time in 32 career starts he finished off the board.

 

Damascus was retired to Claiborne Farm in Kentucky with a career record of 21-7-3 from 32 starts and earnings of $1,176,781. He sired 71 stakes winners, including Private Account, Time for a Change, Timeless Moment, Ogygian, Zen and Crusader Sword.

 

Damascus died Aug. 8, 1995 at Claiborne at the age of 31.

 

Horse