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Coaching Club American Oaks: A Very Brief History | Superfectablog v3.0

Racehorses in History

June: Fairy Chant
b. 1937
Why: A champion at 3 and 4, Fairy Chant won the Beldame twice. She was in the money for 26 of her 42 races.

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Coaching Club American Oaks: A Very Brief History

The Coaching Club American Oaks may have been run at a variety of distances throughout its history, but it is notable that one of the purposes in creating the race in 1917 was to select the very best racemares to become stars in the breeding shed. Indeed, the NY Times described the Coaching Club’s 1920 support of the race as ‘a praiseworthy act‘ and that the winner of the race would be:

‘…the type of race mare which through her progeny should enrich the thoroughbred horse families of the future in the United States.’

From its very inception, the purpose of the race was quite clearly stated – it was to emulate the Epsom Oaks and to improve the breed:

‘…the Westchester Racing Association points to the need of such events for mares, as the question of elimination for breeding purposes is a vexed one.’

The more recent history of that race does bear out the intentions of the creators – My Flag, daughter of Personal Ensign and winner of the 1996 edition of the race, has been a notable success as a broodmare. The same can be said of Chris Evert, the 1974 winner and dam of Chief’s Crown. Going further back, champion filly Vagrancy won in 1942 and she went on to become a very important part of the studbook.

While the first Coaching Club American Oaks was run at a 1 1/8 mile, plans to make it a 1 1/4 mile were afoot even before it was run – it was noted that the longer races were easier to fill – although some of those future entries had to be regarded as highly speculative, for a few yearlings (‘practically untried‘) were penciled in for the third running. The ‘historical Singleton Cup‘ (which had previously been awarded for an early-19th century race held in South Carolina over 3-mile heats) would also be awarded to any owner whose fillies managed to win three editions of the new race. The distance has, as mentioned above, varied over time – it was a 1 1/2 mile race for many years (off and on), but it switched back to its current 1 1/4 mile distance (again) in 2004.

The race may best be know today as the second leg of the often-overlooked Triple Tiara (depending on what races are comprising it at the time, that is), won by such luminaries as Shuvee and Ruffian (pictured), but it has a worthy history of its own.

Whether Livin Lovin or Funny Moon will go on to join the Coaching Club American Oaks sisterhood remains to be seen, but sometimes even the best ones lose – even the great Serena’s Song lost the Coaching Club American Oaks – but she won the Jim Beam and the Haskell. It’s worth watching.

3 comments to Coaching Club American Oaks: A Very Brief History

  • dana

    I love the CCAO! The first time I ever went to the track was CCAO day 2006. Swifty had the winner, Wonder Lady Anne L and I went with Pine Island, didn't win but had a blast.

  • Anonymous

    You mention Mine That Bird "ducking" Rachel. Do you not recall that Birdie has had plans in West Virginia much longer than Rachel has had her plans for the Haskell? You might want to go back and check articles to see who has been planning on going where for quite some time. Your comment about Birdie seems quite snide and is not necessary.

  • Bill P.

    What was Ruffian time in the Coaching Club American Oaks???

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