Posts Tagged ‘Nedda’

The qualities that Nedda had, she passed on to her daughter Nedda Guy, and Nedda Guy passed them to On Time who passed them on to the great racehorse and sire Good Time, his full sister Our Time, and several of her other nine foals (all winners). These enduring qualities were a result of several factors – but probably the most significant one is a thoroughbred mare called Esther.According to www.worldclasstrotting.com entry (this site has a great section on foundation mares/remarkable dams)

“Esther is the only thoroughbred that ranks as a foundation mare with the harness horse. And it all started with Leland Stanford, who wanted to experiment by crossing thoroughbred mares to his sire Electioneer 125.”


Expressive, dam of Atlantic Express (sire of Nedda)

In 1879 he bought several mares, one of which was Esther, and the resulting foals were all raised as trotters.

One of Esther’s daughters was Expressive (by Electioneer) who was a great racing mare and left some good progeny later in her broodmare career including Atlantic Express, the sire of Nedda.  Atlantic Express is also the damsire of Dean Hanover, one of trotting’s quality racehorses of the 1930s who became a good sire and such an influential damsire. It is Dean Hanover who sired Goddess Hanover, the dam of super mares Cassin Hanover and Arpege – a ‘golden family’ of trotting that led to Angus Hall, Andover Hall, Texas, world champion Ayres,  and many more.

Another of Esther’s daughters was Mendocita (by Mendocino, a son of Electioneer), who didn’t race but whose own daughter Cita Frisco was the dam of the outstanding Volomite.

Volomite, sire of On Time

Volomite, mated with Nedda Guy to produce On Time, Olympia and Mighty Ned

So when Nedda’s daughter Nedda Guy was bred to Volomite, her progeny were 4×5 to Esther on maternal lines. The results are covered in my previous blog.

(Nedda herself was bred once to Volomite for a colt called Prologue who took a mark of 2.10 as a 3yo in 1932 and later stood in a very small way as a sire, first in US and then in Sweden.  But that’s breeding, it doesn’t work 100% of the time for many reasons.)

But let’s get back to Esther – what makes her so special? Followers of standardbred breeding will be familiar with the “x factor” theory, which points to strong evidence of large hearted lines being carried on the x chromosone, and thus able only to be passed from from dams to sons and daughters, but not from sires to sons. Esther is a thoroghbred mare that traces back through her dam Colisseum to Glencoe, sire of Pochahontas – and Glencoe is one who is recognised as a primary carrier of the giant heart of Eclipse. If you want more on this, find the books by Marianna Haun which although mainly about applying the theory to thoroughbred lines also cover trotting examples.

Nedda had another card up her sleeve – her own great-grandam was Ethelwyn (the great trotting family also known as Kathleen) who traces back in two directions on x lines to Eclipse.

Now none of this would have guaranteed Nedda the ability, speed and courage that she showed and that she passed on. But it certainly would have helped maximise her chances.

Sometimes harking to the best of those great heart lines even well downstream can work. That might be by double ups, or it might be by referencing very compatible bloodlines again.

For example, as John Bradley points out in Modern Pacing Sire Lines, some of Good Time’s most successful sons and daughters had 3×3 crosses to Volomite (e.g. Race Time, Good Counsel) and others had 4×4 or similar double ups to Guy Axworthy who was Nedda Guy’s sire.

But I’d like to finish by returning to where this 3-part blog began – a salute to wonderful mother and daughter trotters, Nedda and Nedda Guy.  They had speed, determination, public affection, and even the ability to give punters a fright by making a slow getaway in a race…. Some things never change! For Nedda, born almost 100 years ago, to trot a mile in 1.581/4 is something to marvel at. What a sweetheart! What a trotter!

I was wondering what modern day mother-daughter combination has caught the trotting imagination like this? Petite Evander-Pride of Petite in New Zealand  immediately sprang to mind.

Any others you can think of? Comments please!

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Nedda Guy was one of Nedda’s five foals and by far the most significant. She inherited her mother’s speed and toughness – and her ability to win public admiration as well as races. She was the star of the 1931 trotting season until a career and life-threatening injury occured – but even that didn’t stop her.

Henry McLemore, writing a column in The Huntingon Daily News on August 18 1932 sums up her public affection nicely:

“The roar goes up when Nedda Guy won the first heat of the Shepherd Stake… “A game little filly,” someone explains. “She’d a won the Hambletonian last year but for injuries in the opening heat.”

There are several accounts of that 1931 Hambletonian, but The Milwaukee Journal of August 16, printed this report from Goshen, NY where the heats were held at W H Cane’s farm on a three-corned one-mile track:

“Nedda Guy, 3-year-old filly owned by W H Cane, which went lame during the running of the second heat of the Hambletonian Friday, probably never will start in another race. The little bay filly, which was pre-race favourite, is thought to have suffered a fractured pelvis bone during a warming up mile prior to the first heat….If Nedda Guy was injured before the start of the Hambletonian, her performance was remarkable. She finished fifth in the first heat and then staged a great stretch drive to land second place in the second heat back of Calumet Butler, which stepped the mile in 2.031/4.”

Nedda Guy was assisted off the track, but first had to be paraded in front of disbelieving favourite punters to show how lame she was.

The story has a happy ending, as reported in The Evening Independent the following year:

“When examination disclosed the fracture she was to suffer the usual fate of seriously injured racing horses, but Walter Cox gave her such excellent care that she is now in sound condition and an outstanding contender for honors in the four-year-old division.”

It’s as a broodmare that Nedda Guy is now remembered – one of her five foals was On Time (by Volomite) born in 1938 who was developed as a pacer. She went on to be the dam of fantastic race horse, sire and damsire Good Time, and thus appears in the pedigree of many top racehorses of both sexes and in many leading sires and broodmares. On Time produced not only Good Time, but a younger full sister Our Time who set a world record for 2yo fillies in 1948 and won over $50,000 that year. Our Time was ranked by Frank Irvin alongside Adios, Bret Hanover, Good Time and Good Counsel as the five best horses he had trained, and she pops up in some pedigrees as grandam of Whata Baron (himself a world champion racehorse).

Another of Nedda Guy’s daughters, Olympia (by Volomite), led to a less illustrious line but one that finishes with a flourish – as the bottom line of Big Towner’s pedigree – notice my old favourite Shadow Wave as the damsire, adding his contribution! Big Towner was a horse with tremendous speed who hardly ever raced on the big tracks where he could use it to full advantage.

Yet another of Nedda Guy’s foals by Volomite was Mighty Ned, born 1942, who appears to have been exported to Italy as a trotter where he won the Prix d’Amerique at 6 and 9 years old and was also second in that race at 7 years old (before having a career at stud).

At its best, this  line appears to really stamp progeny – small in stature (Nedda the “little mare”, Nedda Guy the “game little filly”, Good Time who notoriously started racing at 13.1 hands and ended it as a 14 hand sire) but with a big motor (heart), real speed and excellent gait. As a sire, Good Time often passed on those attributes, and the big heart (through his x line to his female foals) has helped him be such a positive factor in many modern bloodlines.

John Bradley’s book Modern Pacing Sire Lines has an excellent chapter on Good Time

Where did that big heart come from?

This is where Volomite comes in.

And Atlantic Express.

That’s what I’ll look at in the next blog – which is also about a thoroughbred mare called Esther.

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In my last few blogs I’ve been peeking into the future, looking at some of the new damsires appearing at the yearling sales. In the next few blogs I want to dive back almost 100 years and celebrate two exceptional trotters, a mother and daughter, and the damsire that added so much value to their pedigree.

As breeders and owners, we are delighted when our filly or mare takes a record of, say, 1.58 mile rate. Just going 2 minutes these days doesn’t really stand out from the crowd.

So imagine a trotting mare who went 1:591/4 in race conditions and 1.581/4 in a speed trial – 90 years ago.

Her name was Nedda, and she was an outstanding world champion trotting mare who took her record in 1922. This wasn’t a fluke – although in today’s standards her lifetime stake earnings of $12,294 look small, she won 23 of her 43 starts. Incredible!

Nedda is the great-grandam of the wonderful sire and broodmare sire Good Time, so you will find her in many pedigrees of top pacing sires wherever Good Time appears – including Most Happy Fella, No Nukes, Jate Lobell. Through a slightly different route, she’s also in the bottom line of Big Towner’s pedigree.

At Lexington on October 4 with Harry Fleming in the cart (trainer and driver for many of her races), Nedda lowered the world’s record for trotting mares to 1:581/4, which held good for 16 years until Rosalind reduced it to 1:563/4 in 1938.

A New York Times article of August 13 1922 indicates she was in great form that season:

“Sensational Trotter Will Make Speed Trial At Philadelphia Grand Circuit Races.
Nedda, the sensational trotter by Atlantic Express, that stepped to a mark of 1:591/4 last week over the Toledo track, will be one of the features in the Grand Circuit meet at the Belmont Driving Park here the coming week….”

About a month previously, at another Grand Circuit meeting in Toledo, she competed in three heats of The Maumee 2:05 Trot (value $2,620) winning the first heat and coming second in the others, but still pipped for the purse by a gelding called Peter Coley who won two of the three heats. The Lewiston Daily Sun of July 14 records:

“In the first heat, Nedda overtook the field at the quarter post after a bad start and pulled away for a length win…Nedda trotted a great race in the second heat after getting away fully four lengths behind the others at the flag. Peter Coley won by a nose from the fast stepping favourite but Nedda went the fastest mile of the year, separately timed, completing the circuit in 2.023/4. The little mare made the first half in 59 seconds, the fastest half of the year.”

If you think she sounds tough, just wait till you read about her daughter, Nedda Guy, in my next blog!

It is hard to find photos of these historic race horses unless they became sires. I’ve located one of Nedda on the front cover of a USA trotting magazine from the 1930s (appears to be her rather than daughter Nedda Guy) but cannot reproduce it at this stage – will do so later.

I’ll cover Nedda’s breeding record briefly in the next blog, but any photos or other Nedda anecdotes are welcome – searching the web on dial up is a little frustrating (visualise smiley face with gritted teeth..) 

A quirky footnote: Also at that same July 1922 meeting in Toledo where Nedda was competing in trotting heats, a pacing event was run over four heats. The third placed horse overall (with a 1st, 9th, 3rd and 3rd) was a black pacing entire called Abbedale, who of course went on to many great things including siring Hale Dale, one of the most important sires in our pacing history. You can never tell how things will turn out!

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