Twitter icon
Facebook icon

Henry of Navarre

Henry of Navarre (NMR Collection)..jpg

Henry of Navarre (NMR Collection)
Henry of Navarre
Induction Year: 
Lucien O. Appleby
Byron McClelland; August Belmont II
Byron McClelland; John Hyland
Knight of Ellerslie
Moss Rose
Career Years: 

Tab Wrapper


Bred in New Jersey by Lucien O. Appleby in 1891, Henry of Navarre was a son of 1884 Preakness Stakes winner Knight of Ellerslie. He was sold privately to Kentucky horseman Byron McClelland, who raced him in his green and gold silks at ages 2 and 3, while also serving as trainer.


As a 2-year-old in 1893, Henry of Navarre won six of his 10 starts, but was not considered in the same class as the year’s best juvenile, Domino. Unbeaten in all nine of his starts that year, Domino set an earnings record of $170,790 that stood for 38 years. Henry of Navarre, meanwhile earned $10,785 in 1893.


When the calendar turned to 1894, Domino and Henry of Navarre met for the first of five times in the Withers Stakes. Domino prevailed by a head, but it was the only time in five meetings he ever defeated Henry of Navarre. Their next meeting, a match race, resulted in a dead heat. In a special race, Henry of Navarre defeated Clifford with Domino coming up lame in his final race of the year. In 1895, Henry of Navarre bested Domino both times they met.


Henry of Navarre enjoyed his best campaign as a 3-year-old in 1894, winning 13 of 20 starts and finishing in the money 19 times with earnings of $37,750. He won the Belmont Stakes that year and soon after began a nine-race win streak that included the Travers, Foxhall, Iroquois, Dolphin and Bay stakes. Henry of Navarre’s biggest victory of the year took place at Morris Park on Oct. 6. A crowd of 25,000 was on hand to see a special contest featuring Henry of Navarre, Domino and Clifford in a three-horse field. Henry of Navarre turned back Clifford by three-quarters of a length with Domino injuring a foot and finishing 11 lengths back.


Clifford’s trainer, John W. Rogers, said after the race: “I thought I had a great horse in Clifford — I still think so — but this Henry of Navarre! He had Domino take him to the lead — and there’s no faster one — and when he had shaken off Domino, Clifford came at him; but he shook off Clifford, too. Any horse that can shake off two horses such as they, in separate attempts, must be a race horse of the first water.”


Henry of Navarre continued to thrive as a 4-year-old, posting a record of 8-1-1 from 10 starts. He began the year with two victories in Kentucky at Latonia then won the Country Club Stakes in Cincinnati, Ohio. At that point, McClelland decided to sell Henry of Navarre to August Belmont II for $35,000. Belmont turned Henry of Navarre over to John J. Hyland to train.


In his first start for Belmont, Henry of Navarre finished second to Rey El Santa Anita in the Twin City Handicap at Sheepshead Bay. Henry of Navarre was then the even-money favorite when he met Domino and Rey El Santa Anita at level weights for 1⅛ miles in a special race on Sept. 11 at Sheepshead Bay. Domino hung tough in the stretch, but Henry of Navarre was able to win by a neck with Rey El Santa Anita three lengths back.


Henry of Navarre then defeated Clifford by 1¼ lengths at Sheepshead Bay at 1¼ miles with Domino, Rey El Santa Anita and Sir Walter completing the order of finish. The five horses were widely considered to be the five best in training at the time. Clifford got a measure of revenge when he next defeated Henry of Navarre in the Oriental Handicap. Henry of Navarre, however, quickly shook the loss off and won the Manhattan Handicap under 127 pounds, 20 more than runner-up Sir Walter. Henry of Navarre then closed out his season with a victory in the Municipal Handicap.


Henry of Navarre won a purse race on May 21, 1895 to begin his 5-year-old season before contesting the Suburban Handicap on June 23. In the Suburban, which many historians consider his greatest victory, Henry of Navarre was saddled with 129 pounds, more than any other Suburban winner up to that time. The Commoner, a 4-year-old carrying 113 pounds, led in the stretch before Henry of Navarre rallied furiously and won by a length. Clifford finished third.


Following the race, Henry of Navarre was retired to Nursery Stud in Kentucky with a career record of 29-8-3 from 42 starts and earnings of $68,985. He produced only a few stakes winners before being shipped to Belmont’s stud farm in France in 1909. He remained there for two years before returning to America.


In 1911, Belmont announced he would give the United States government six stallions for use in the cavalry and to start a national breeding bureau. Henry of Navarre was one of the stallions and spent the remainder of his days at the Army Remount Depot at Front Royal, Va.


Henry of Navarre died in 1917 at the age of 26.