01/07/2006 12:00AM

Allaire du Pont, owner and breeder of Kelso, dies


Allaire du Pont, the owner and breeder of five-time Horse of the Year Kelso and an active member in many Thoroughbred charities, died Friday of natural causes at her home in Chesapeake City, Md. She was 92.

Du Pont was married to Richard C. du Pont, a member of the powerful family that founded DuPont, the world's second-largest chemical company behind Dow Chemical. Richard du Pont, a pioneer in the field of aviation, was killed in 1943 when the XCG-16A glider he was a passenger on crashed during a demonstration flight.

Allaire du Pont had been involved in racing her entire life. She raced under the name Bohemia Stable, named for the river that runs alongside her Woodstock Farm in Chesapeake City, Md.

In 1956, du Pont bred her mare Maid of Flight to the sire Your Host, and the subsequent foal turned out to be Kelso. Kelso won his maiden first time out as a 2-year-old in 1959, but did not become a stakes winner until he took the Choice Stakes in August 1960. That began a streak in which he won 12 of 14 starts. Kelso eventually won five consecutive runnings of the Jockey Club Gold Cup. He won three Woodwards, two Whitneys, and two Suburbans.

Kelso's remarkable career prompted former Daily Racing Form columnist Joe Hirsch to pen the memorable line, "Once upon a time there was a horse named Kelso. But only once."

Kelso, a gelding, was retired in 1966 with 39 wins from 63 starts and earnings of $1,977,896. He retired to du Pont's Woodstock Farm, and du Pont would ride him three days a week on fox hunts.

While Kelso was easily the best horse du Pont raced, she had many other stakes winners. Among them were Politely, a winner of 21 races including the Matchmaker twice; Shine Again, who won 14 races and $1.2 million and came within a nose of winning three straight Ballerinas; Believe the Queen, who won the Monmouth Handicap (now the Iselin) as well as the Tom Fool; and King's Fashion, a winner of 19 races, including seven stakes.

Allen Jerkens trained for Bohemia Stable on and off for more than three decades. They combined to win the 1973 Carter with King's Bishop, who also ran for other connections. Jerkens trained Shine Again, Shiny Band, and Dixie Flag, a five-time stakes winner who won more than $500,000.

"She loved her horses - just an unbelievable lady and nice to train for," Jerkens said Saturday from south Florida. "She understood the animals. She was just great; nobody better to train for."

In addition to owning Thoroughbreds, du Pont co-founded Greener Pastures and Thoroughbred Charities of America, two organizations involved with saving and protecting racehorses.