05/06/2010 10:52AM

Carry Back


The Doctor is Out (probably gallivanting with that Amelia Pond) so we'll simply borrow his TARDIS for a little trip back to 1962 as Carry Back attempted to duplicate his Kentucky Derby victory from the previous season in the Arc de Triomphe.

Let's learn more about Carry Back from the words of the legendary Charles Hatton in his "Profile of Best Horses" column from the 1963 American Racing Manual.

"Carry Back is perhaps the most popular thoroughbred to have appeared since the time of Native Dancer.  Both these TV matinee idols won converts to the sport.  It is quite useless to argue whether they were actually formidable performers of their different years, as some fans of analytical bent are prone to do.  If Carry Back did not win Horse of the Year laurels, he won his way into the hearts of the general public.  His importance to the sport and the contribution he made to it far transcended individual merit, which is after all only relative."

"Carry Back, like Exterminator of yore, had color, character, personal dignity and honor.  There was an aura of drama about everything he did.  In the first place, he was one of the proletariat, with an across-the-tracks pedigree.  Then again he was owned by a "small owner" and breeder, more or less novitiate.  But Jack Price enjoyed owning and racing Carry Back quite as much as the fans enjoyed the thrill of his whirlwind finishes.  Moreover, Price had a flair for showmanship.
Catering to the wishes of the colt's public, Price interrupted Carry Back's campaign at Saratoga to fly him to Cleveland, so that the fans there might see him.  Again, he pulled "CB" out of his stall in midday to show him to New York fans at Belmont Park's pre-season open house, when other stars were to make personal appearances but disappointed the crowd.  Then there was the adventure, or misadventure, of his expedition to France and the Arc de Triomphe.
The romance of Carry Back is the stuff of which legends are made.  He did more to merchandise racing to the general public than any other single factor in 1961 and '62. 
In late October, before "CB" departed the racing stage to enter the stud in Florida, Dr. Gilman made a comprehensive study of his physique.  The evidence of the standard and tape are presented below:

Height:  16 hands plus
Girth:  72 inches
Point of shoulder to point to shoulder:  16 inches
Withers to point of shoulder:  28 inches
Elbow to ground:  37 1/2 inches
Point of shoulder to point of hip:  47 inches
Point of hip to point of hip:  24 inches
Point of hip to point of hock:  41 inches
Point of hip to buttock:  25 inches
Poll to withers:  47 inches
Point of shoulder to buttock:  67 inches
Buttock to ground:  56 inches
Circumference of cannon below knee:  9 1/2 inches
Weight:  970 pounds

In general, Carry Back's conformation is constant with his middle-distance proclivities.  His is the physique of the mile and a quarter horse, par excellence, and of course the majority of America's richest races are at that distance.  Owner-breeder Price himself questions Carry Back is quite capable at a mile and a half.  Ten furlongs long has been considered the "classic distance" in this country, though there now is a tendency toward conforming to the 12 furlongs standard in the rest of the racing world."

"Carry Back comes of a male line distinguished in our middle distances, that descending from the miler Domino, who sired only 20 foals but rewrote the Stud Book.  The first top class horse in tail male in Carry Back's pedigree is the sport's wonderful "Chocolate Soldier," Equipoise, who ran all distances but whose special metier was a mile and a quarter. 
Carry Back's dam Joppy is by the Blenheim II. horse Star Bien and this is the Blandford tribe, one which normally produces horses in the same general mould as Equipoise.  Blenheim II. himself was of medium size and balanced like a teeter-totter.  Thus Carry Back could not very well be other than he is, physically, without some remarkable quirk of atavism.
Carry Back is well bred in the sense his sire and dam were of much the same type."

"What is supposed to be compensatory breeding, with the little horses bred to the big mares and vice versa, has rarely produced the desired results, indeed has resulted in more malformed individuals than IBM can count.  It is probably fortuitous that Joppy and Saggy were "of a sort" physically, for it seems unlikely Price was perusuaded by considerations of conformation when he booked the mare.  But it is deplorable that so many breeders are too preoccupied with bloodlines to give this question the importance it warrants.
'Breed for individuals,' the late J. E. Madded used to say.
Carry Back is a clever horse, just as his highly synchronized and coordinated format implies.  We have seen him knocked off stride 70 yards from the finish, recover in the next stride and get up to win, as in the Florida Derby.  His handiness again stood him in good character to break head and head with the flashy Beau Purple and race him off his feet in a speed duel in the mud while carrying 133 pounds.  In the Arc de Triomphe, Carry Back made his move down the hill, which no one does.
Carry Back's action is collected, so that he is always 'in cadence' as the French say, and can act in any going.  Also he is sound as a stick, precisely as his long and arduous campaigning would indicate.  And he has unshakeable self-confidence.  Rather than being timid in the paddock or in mortal conflict, he is almost arrogant.  At the same time children play with him over the bar of his stall with impunity.
Carry Back does not wear blinkers and sometimes goes to the post with a pony but these make him studdish and in France he got along very well without any escort.
The Price champion was just a medium sized brown colt with no marks at three and looked downright insignificant alongside such robust specimens as Globemaster and Four-and-Twenty.  At four he had grown from 15.3 to a touch above 16 hands and had furnished out and let down until he was a very attractive animal.  It was quite a metamorphosis.  His neck developed a crest.  His head assumed a masculine and almost refined aspect, his quarters burgeoned with muscularity, particularly about the low dropped stifles and his forearms and gaskins were strong and smooth.
Few mares possessed better shoulders and withers than did Joppy, whose top line was a symphony.  The same is true of her son Carry Back.  His cannons are short and his pasterns have elasticity, while his hoofs are black.
Those familiar with his steady physical development are sanguine that he will develop into a smashing stallion, "looking the part" of a thoroughbred of his high station."

"Carry Back's pedigree offends the disciples of the fashion only in the first two crosses.  Thereafter one encounters the names of Equipoise, Hyperion, Blenheim II., Teddy and Sir Gallahad III.  C. V. Whitney incidentally has said he never thought to see the day a descendant of Equipoise would be considered somehow plebian in origins.
On the distaff side of his pedigree, Carry Back goes back to the imported mare Whizz Bang by Sunstar.  Then we come to Florida, the half sister to the mighty Hindoo, who distinguished himself as the dam of that great racemare Firenze. 
This family is a remnant of racing's romantic past that has been rather obscure in late years, but it did produce the Kentucky Derby hero Paul Jones and the excellent mud horse Maedic, one of the best two-year-olds of his time.  Truly, as Baron Fred d'Osten-Sacken has obsverved:
'It is wonderful how nature preserves the fine old strains of the thoroughbred, to bring them out again in times of need.'"


Here is an article from Sports Illustrated on Carry Back's Arc run in 1962:



Here are Carry Back's lifetime past performances:

Download Carry Back


Here is Carry Back's page from the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame: