Crusader (KY)

Horse of the Year in 1926 and the first horse to win consecutive runnings of the Suburban Handicap, Crusader was a son of Man o' War bred and owned by Sam Riddle.

Crusader (Earl Sande up) in the winner's circle (Keeneland Library Cook Collection/Museum Collection)
Inducted

1995

Foaled

1923

Sire

Man o' War

Dam

Star Fancy

Damsire

Star Shoot

Breeder

Samuel D. Riddle

Owner

Samuel D. Riddle

Trainer

G. R. Tompkins
George Conway

Career

1925-1928

Earnings

$203,261

Racing Record

42

Starts

Year Starts First Second Third Earnings
Year Sts 1 2 3 $
1925 11 5 1 2 $15400 $15,400
1926 15 9 4 0 $166033 $166,033
1927 9 4 0 0 $16975 $16,975
1928 7 0 3 2 $4853 $4,853

Biography

Horse of the Year in 1926 and the first horse to win consecutive runnings of the Suburban Handicap, Crusader was a son of Man o' War bred and owned by Sam Riddle.

A golden chestnut standing 16 hands, Crusader was foaled at Riddle’s Faraway Farm near Lexington, Kentucky. As a 2-year-old, Crusader was trained by G. R. Tompkins, who brought him out for the first time April 16, 1925, at Havre de Grace in Maryland. Crusader was unplaced that day and did not break his maiden until his third start, covering 4½ furlongs at Pimlico in 0:54⅖.

Crusader won his first stakes race that October at Pimlico by 10 lengths in the $10,000-added Manor Handicap, covering one mile in 1:41. Overall, Crusader posted a juvenile record of 5-1-2 from 11 starts with earnings of $15,400. He was considered a solid horse at the time, but nothing special.

George Conway took over training duties for Riddle’s horses in 1926. Crusader didn’t make his seasonal debut until May 20 and started out slow, finishing second in his first two outings. Crusader finally delivered a breakthrough performance when he won the Suburban Handicap by five lengths. Crusader’s stablemate, the standout American Flag, finished second.

Crusader followed his Suburban victory by earning the biggest purse share of his career, $48,550, in winning the Belmont Stakes. He added victories in the Dwyer Stakes (setting a track record of 2:29⅗ for 1½ miles), Cincinnati Derby (defeating Preakness winner Display in track-record time of 2:02 for 1¼ miles), Huron Handicap, Jockey Club Gold Cup, Havre de Grace Handicap (defeating older standouts Sarazen and Princess Doreen in equaling the track record of 1:50 for nine furlongs), Maryland Handicap, and Riggs Memorial Handicap (carrying high weight of 130 pounds). Crusader completed his 3-year-old season with a record of 9-4-0 from 15 starts and earnings of $166,033. He was recognized as Horse of the Year for his efforts.

Returning as a 4-year-old in 1927, Crusader was unplaced while carrying top weight in his first two starts. He returned to top form with an impost of 127 pounds in winning the Suburban again, securing a seven-length victory. No horse won consecutive editions of the Suburban for almost 70 years until Devil His Due accomplished the feat in 1993 and 1994.

Crusader was injured in the Brooklyn Handicap and kept away from the races for the next three months. He won three times in five starts in purse races upon his return but was no longer the same horse. As a 5-year-old in 1928, Crusader was winless in seven starts, although he placed three times and finished third twice.

Recognizing Crusader’s best days had passed, Riddle retired him with a career record of 18-8-4 from 42 starts and earnings of $203,261. Crusader was unsuccessful as a stallion, siring only six stakes winners in 12 seasons, and died May 4, 1940, at the age of 17 at Walter Hoffman’s Rancho Casitas near Ventura, California.

Achievements

Horse of the Year — 1926
Champion 3-Year-Old Colt — 1926

Triple Crown Highlights

Won the Belmont Stakes — 1926

Media

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