Letter to the Editor: Rinaldo del Gallo

Ruthless | racingmuseum.org

by Rinaldo del Gallo

One hundred and fifty years ago, in 1867, the filly Ruthless won the fourth running of the Travers S. When Ruthless took the Travers, it was 14 furlongs (1 3/4 miles), the distance of the first 26 runnings, and she ran it in 3:13.75.

It has been a long time since a filly won the Travers–102 years ago to be exact when Lady Rotha won in 1915. But no fewer than seven fillies have won the Travers, four in the first 12 runnings of the race, three of which were sired by the great Lexington including Maiden. The winner of the second Travers in 1865, Maiden was to become the breed-shaping sire Nearco's sixth dam, forever assuring that Lexington blood would be central to the breed.

Ruthless is most notable for being the first horse to win the Belmont and one of only three fillies to do so. Rags to Riches (A.P. Indy) won the Belmont in 2007 in a famous showdown with Curlin (Smart Strike), and Tanya won in 1905. The Belmont was run in the clockwise tradition of British racing at Jerome Park, which it did until 1921.

When Ruthless won the first Belmont, it was 13 furlongs. Four horses started, three finished, and the horse that broke down, Monday (her stablemate), a grandson of Lexington, went on to sire five winners of the California Derby, launched in 1873, the same year as the Preakness. It is still run to this day.

Ruthless' dam Barbarity was born in 1854 in Ireland. Richard Ten Broeck was to purchase her as a 4-year-old. Legend has it that Barbarity was passed into the ownership of Francis Morris as part of the settlement of a lawsuit between himself and Richard Ten Broeck. But another has the story being that they were partners. Richard Ten Broeck was to lend a horse the name “Ten Broeck,” who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1982.

Regret's full-sisters had similarly pugnacious names inspired by her dam Barbarity, such as Relentless, Remorseless, Regardless, and Merciless and were known as the “Barbarous Battalion.” Ruthless' full-sister Regardless won the third running of the Alabama S. in 1874, while Merciless won the fifth Alabama S. Relentless only raced once, winning the Saratoga S. at age 2. Remorseless won no fewer than five stakes including the inaugural running of the Flash S.

Ruthless was bred in New York, and met her demise when she was shot by a “vagrant gunner” (as described by Vosburgh) in her paddock in Westchester, New York. She died five days later. According to a July 26, 2013, article in the Times Union, Ruthless is one of only two New York-bred horses to be in the Hall of Fame. The next New York-bred to win the Travers was Thunder Rumble in 1992. (Pedigreequery.com lists Thunder Rumble as the first New York-bred to win the Travers, but this is not so.)

Ruthless won seven of 11 races and finished second in the other four, often because her stablemate Monday was declared the winner. Ruthless was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1975 and has a listed stakes race named after her, the Ruthless S. at Aqueduct, run since 1974.


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