The Foxes of Belair
Gallant Fox, Omaha, and the Quest for the Triple Crown
The story of this legendary operation began with William Woodward's childhood memories of grand days at the racetrack, inspiring dreams of breeding a champion or two of his own. During a year working for the American Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Woodward frequented English racetracks, rekindling that childhood dream of breeding and owning champion Thoroughbreds. Woodward turned those dreams into reality, building Belair Stud on his family's Maryland estate, launching what would become the preeminent Thoroughbred breeding and racing empire in America and chasing racing's biggest prizes in both the United States and England.
The defining moment for Belair came when Woodward bred the imported stallion Sir Gallahad III to his mare Marguerite. Their colt, Gallant Fox, became only the second horse in history to win the Preakness Stakes, the Kentucky Derby, and the Belmont Stakes in the same year. In 1935, the farm cemented the Triple Crown as the gold standard for three-year-olds when Gallant Fox's son, Omaha, duplicated his sire's trio of victories, a sweep that sealed the farm's legacy and carved its name in the annals of racing history.
In The Foxes of Belair: Gallant Fox, Omaha, and the Quest for the Triple Crown, Jennifer Kelly examines the racing legacies of Gallant Fox and Omaha and how William Woodward's service to racing during the 20th century forever changed the landscape of the American Thoroughbred industry.
About the Author
"For anyone whose interest in Thoroughbred racing is piqued by a view back into the history of the sport, here's your new hero: Jennifer Kelly. Her latest work, Foxes of Belair: Galant Fox, Omaha and the Quest for the Triple Crown is as good as it gets. Turning pages, I found myself standing next to Sunny Jim and William Woodford, eavesdropping as they gave their jockey his instructions, cheering as their horse neared the finish line. Replete with classic figures in American racing like Man o' War and Citation, Earle Sande and Willie Saunders, Jimmy Breslin and W.C. Vreeland, Kelly's concise history will captivate you from cover to cover just like her previous work, Sir Barton and the Making of the Triple Crown."—John Perrotta, WGAW
"As with her first book, Sir Barton and the Making of the Triple Crown, Jennifer Kelly has given the world a volume in The Foxes of Belair that will delight both racing fans and those who simply enjoy a good read. This tale of the Woodward family and the thoroughbred dynasty it created is both meticulously researched and written with discriminating care, a story that will hold the reader's interest from beginning to end. Here is a book deserving of its place in the winner's circle of racing history."—Mark Shrager, Dr. Tony Ryan Award-winning author of Diane Crump: A Horse Racing Pioneer's Life in the Saddle
"First with Sir Barton, and here with Gallant Fox and Omaha, Jennifer Kelly has taken on the essential role of expanding and preserving the stories of the earliest winners of thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown, even before it was branded and monetized. No sport is more connected to its distant past than racing, and Kelly's research and writing are required reading for modern day enthusiasts of the erstwhile sport of kings."—Tom Layden, NBC Sports
"Spanning more than two centuries of racing lore, The Foxes of Belair traces international currents that created a unique father and son legacy. Illuminating the long view and fine details, Jennifer S. Kelly celebrates the power of intention, perseverance, and passion for the Sport of Kings."—Dorothy Ours, author of Battleship: A Daring Heiress, a Teenage Jockey, and America's Horse
"The Foxes of Belair: Gallant Fox, Omaha, and the Quest for the Triple Crown is author Jennifer Kelly's second volume of Triple Crown history, and it's another good one. With meticulous research and an engaging narrative, Kelly brings the intertwined stories of William Woodard and his Belair Stud champions to life. But the title raises an intriguing question: who are the "Foxes?" Gallant Fox, the winner of the Triple Crown in 1930, is an obvious choice and probably 1935 Triple Crown winner Omaha as well. But Kelly's well-told recounting of how Woodward parlayed the purchase of a few inexpensive mares into the dominant racing stable of the 1930s and the influence he had on racing in the United States and Europe suggest that The Jockey Club chairman was the slyest "Fox" of them all."—Milt Toby, author of Taking Shergar: Thoroughbred Racing's Most Famous Cold Case
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