Equipoise | Horse Profile


Owned by Cornelius Vanderbilt (C.V.) Whitney of New York, Equipoise raced 16 times as a 2-year-old and won 8 races in 1930. Dubbed the ‘Chocolate Soldier’, the dark chestnut won his first stakes race at Belmont Park. He won the Pimlico Futurity at the end of his juvenile season. While no formal awards were given for Thoroughbred racing in 1930, Equipoise was regarded as one of the two best juveniles that year competing against a superior crop of 2-year-olds.

Equipoise was the winter favorite for the Kentucky Derby, but by late April he was reported to be suffering from a kidney ailment. Equipoise still ran in the Preakness, which was a week before the Derby at that time, finishing fourth. A week later he withdrew from the Derby and did not race again as a 3-year-old.

Back as a 4-year-old, Equipoise won 10 of 14 starts, including the Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park. He set a world record at Arlington Park, running 1 mile in 1:34.40, when winning the Delevan Purse. Equipoise would go on to win the Whitney Stakes to solidify his status as the best horse in the older horse division.

At age five, Equipoise won six straight races and seven overall, including the Metropolitan Handicap, Suburban Handicap, and Hawthorne Gold Cup.

At age six, he won a pair of races in the spring before resting a tendon injury over the summer. He came back to face the highly-regarded Gallant Sir in the Hawthorne Gold Cup and won by two lengths. He then won the Saratoga Cup.  

Nearing the end of his racing career in 1935, the seven-year-old Equipoise was sent to California for the inaugural running of the world’s richest race, the Santa Anita Handicap, finishing seventh in what would be his final race.

Though Eclipse Awards were not handed out at this time, Equipoise was later regarded as Horse of the Year in 1932 and 1933, and the best older horse of 1934.

Equipoise stood as a stallion for only four seasons before his death on August 4, 1938, at the age of 10. Four years later he was America’s leading sire as his progeny had great success including Shut Out, who won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1957.