Equipoise : Race Horse

The chestnut racehorse named Equipoise was affectionately known to his fans as the Chocolate Soldier. He was bred by Harry Payne Whitney and owned by his son, Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney. He was born in 1928 and was elegant as well as fast. He was foaled from Pennant-Swinging and Broomstick. From the very start, Equipoise was a wonderful horse, and his potential was evident to all.

His racing career started as a two-year old, with his first stakes race victory being the Keene Memorial Stakes. His most memorable race win of his career, that is still remembered by many, was the 1930 Pimlico Futurity that took place that same year. Equipoise’s jockey, Raymond Workman, also known as Sonny Workman, got stuck in the gates to start with and Equipoise lost two shoes in the muddy ground. But Equipoise had determination and the heart of a lion, and he showed it by catching up to the race leaders, and winning the race, defeating his competition, Mate and Twenty Grand. After the race, Sonny Workman was asked by reporters if he had just won his greatest race, to which he replied: “My greatest race? Hell, it might have been the greatest race anybody ever saw.” And it remained the race that Sonny held onto throughout his career, still looking back on Equipoise as the best horse he has ever ridden, and the 1930 Pimlico Futuriy as his own best performance.

Equipoise was plagued by hoof problems throughout his entire life, and it was due to a quarter crack that he was forced to retire from his second racing season. He only entered into three races during his three-year old season. But he came back with a new lease on life in his third season, as a four-year old. He won the Stars and Stripes Handicap, the Whitney Stakes and the Metropolitan Handicap. At Arlington Park, he set a new world record by completing a mile in a time of 1:34. He secured 10 wins in total.

At the age of five, Equipoise won seven races, took one second place and one third place. During his season as a six year old, he won three races, and claimed a second and a third place. Throughout his racing career, he showed pride, courage and determination. His chronic problems with his hooves held him back from many races and restricted his career. However, he still managed to earn the honor of Horse of the Year in 1932 and in 1933, together with the title of U.S. Champion Older Male Horse three years in a row, namely 1932, 1933 and again in 1934.

After retiring, he sired one of his most famous sons, Shut Out. Everyone was reminded of his strength and endurance, when Shut Out won the Belmont Stakes and the Kentucky Derby in 1942. Equipoise died at the young age of 10, in 1938, and was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1957.