Grey Lag | Horse Profile

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Grey Lag

Grey Lag was bred in Kentucky in 1918 by John Madden and sired by Star Shoot out of the Meddler mare Miss Minnie. He broke his maiden in his 5th start, and then won the Champagne Stakes, after which owner-trainer Max Hirsch sold him to oilman Harry Sinclair. In Sinclair’s colors and trained by Sam Hildreth, Grey Lag won the Remsen Stakes, Autumn Day Stakes and the Islip Handicap.  

An injury forced Grey Lag out of the Kentucky Derby, but he came into his own his sophomore season and was named the unofficial 1921 Horse of the Year. He won eight straight stakes races beginning with the Belmont Stakes, and six in the month of July, including an outstanding victory in the Brooklyn Handicap against a field including Mad Hatter, Exterminator, Eternal, John P. Grier, and Paul Jones. He placed in 10 other races that year including the Suburban Handicap, Metropolitan Handicap and Jockey Club Gold Cup.

Continuing on at four, Grey Lag scored major wins in the Empire City Handicap, Queens County Handicap and Saratoga Handicap, along with a second-place finish in the Brooklyn Handicap to Exterminator, who was later named the unofficial Horse of the Year. At age five in 1923 he won the Excelsior Handicap and Metropolitan Handicap, but he suffered from foot problems and he was retired to stud later that year.

However, Grey Lag had fertility problems and was returned to the track three years later at age nine, changing hands several times. He won two races, and another at age 10 before retiring again.

Grey Lag ended up racing in against platers aged 13, finishing no better than third, prompting Sinclair to repurchase him. Grey Lag was provided a home at Rancocas, and died 11 years later in 1942. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1957.