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Sire Blenheim II
Grandsire Blandford
Dam Dustwhirl
Damsire Sweep
Sex Stallion
Foaled 1938
Country United States
Colour Chestnut
Breeder Calumet Farm
Owner Calumet Farm
Trainer Ben A. Jones
Record 60: 32-15-9
Earnings $561,161
Major wins
Breeders' Futurity Stakes (1940)
Hopeful Stakes (1940)
Saratoga Special Stakes (1940)
A. J. Joyner Handicap (1941)
Travers Stakes (1941)
Lawrence Realization Stakes (1941)
Saranac Handicap (1941)
Dwyer Stakes (1941)
American Derby (1941)
Massachusetts Handicap (1942)
Narragansett Special (1942)
Clark Handicap (1942)
Jockey Club Gold Cup (1942)
Louisiana Handicap (1942)
Washington Handicap (1942)
Trenton Handicap (1942)
American Classic Race wins:
Kentucky Derby (1941)
Preakness Stakes (1941)
Belmont Stakes (1941)
5th U.S. Triple Crown Champion (1941)
TSD American Champion Two-Year-Old Colt (1940)
U.S. Champion 3-Yr-Old Colt (1941)
United States Horse of the Year (1941 & 1942)
U.S. Champion Older Male Horse (1942)
United States Racing Hall of Fame (1959)
#26 - Top 100 U.S. Racehorses of the 20th Century
Whirlaway Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack
Whirlaway Handicap at Fair Grounds Race Course
Last updated on October 31, 2006

Whirlaway (April 2, 1938 - April 6, 1953) was an American champion thoroughbred racehorse. The chestnut horse was sired by English Derby winner Blenheim II, out of the broodmare Dustwhirl. Whirlaway was bred at Calumet Farm in Lexington, Kentucky. Trained by Ben A. Jones and ridden by Eddie Arcaro, Whirlaway won the U.S. Triple Crown in 1941.

He was voted the American Champion Two-Year-Old Colt in 1940 by Turf & Sports Digest magazine. The rival Daily Racing Form award was won by Our Boots.


Jimmy Jones, son of the colt's trainer, recalled that "Whirlaway was a creature of habit. You had to create habits for him. So we created the habits we wanted him to do." The champion colt had a habit of "bearing out," drifting toward the middle of the racetrack, during the latter part of his races and losing as a result. In preparations for the Kentucky Derby, this had been such a problem that trainer Ben A. Jones fitted the colt with a full-cup blinker over his right eye. In Whirlaway's final workout before the Derby, Jones cut a small hole in the blinker so that the horse had a tiny field of vision. Jones positioned himself ten feet off the inner rail and told jockey Eddie Arcaro to ride the horse through that space. Whirlaway was able to see his trainer, Arcaro was able to keep him on a straight path, and Whirlaway won the Kentucky Derby by tying the current (as of 2015) record margin of 8 lengths.[1]

Racing record

Trained by Ben A. Jones and ridden by Arcaro, Whirlaway won the U.S. Triple Crown in 1941. He also won the Lawrence Realization Stakes and the Travers Stakes that year; Whirlaway is the only horse ever to win both the Triple Crown and the Travers. He was voted the Horse of the Year in 1941, beating Alsab by 96 votes to 91 in a poll conducted by the Turf and Sport Digest magazine.[2] A year later, Whirlaway repeated his win in the poll, beating Alsab with 76 votes to his rival's 45.[3]

Arcaro was the sole rider for Whirlaway in all of his 3-year-old victories, but dismounted for most of the 1942 season, when he served a long suspension for racing infractions. Jockey George Woolf took the reins for the majority of the 1942 season. Whirlaway and Alsab continued their 1941 rivalry through 1942. On September 19, 1942, Alsab defeated the Triple Crown champion in a match race at Narragansett Park in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.[4] Although Whirlaway closed strongly through the stretch, Alsab lasted by a nose as both horses flew home through the stretch run. Whirlaway was named Horse of the Year for 1942 after defeating Alsab in a subsequent race and having 12 wins for the year to Alsab's 9.

Woolf, who had previously won the Pimlico Special in 1938 on Seabiscuit and in 1940 on Challedon, rode the 1941 Triple Crown winner at a leisurely pace during the 1942 Pimlico Special in a walkover victory. No opponent had been found to challenge Whirlaway for the race. On December 12, more than twenty thousand people turned out to watch Whirlaway win the inaugural Louisiana Handicap at the Fair Grounds Race Course. The newly formed Thoroughbred Racing Association staged this event as a war-relief effort.

Whirlaway entered stud at Calumet Farm in the spring of 1944 at age six. Among his best offspring were Scattered (winner of the Coaching Club American Oaks); Whirl Some (Selima Stakes), Dart By (All American Handicap) and Whirling Bat[5] (winner of the 1951 Louisiana Derby). In August 1950, Calumet Farm leased Whirlaway to French breeder Marcel Boussac, who stood the horse at his breeding farm, Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard. Boussac purchased Whirlaway from Calumet in September 1952.[6] The stallion died at Boussac's French stud in 1953.[7][8]

Whirlaway was elected to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1959. In The Blood-Horse magazine's ranking of the top 100 U.S. thoroughbred champions of the 20th century, he was No. 26. Whirlaway has a race named in his honor at Saratoga Race Course.


Pedigree of Whirlaway

brown 1927


brown 1919

Swynford John o'Gaunt
Canterbury Pilgrim
Blanche White Eagle
Black Cherry

brown 1919

Charles O'Malley Desmond
Goody Two-Shoes
Wild Arum Robert Le Diable

Chestnut 1926


brown 1907

Ben Brush Bramble
Pink Diamond Domino
Belle Rose

ch. 1916

Superman Commando
Princess Ormonde Ormondale


  1. "Margins" (PDF). Churchill Downs Incorporated. 2013. Retrieved 2015-11-15.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Whirlaway cops honor for year". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 1941-12-09. Retrieved 2012-02-27.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Whirlaway is again winner of Horse of Year Crown". Calgary Herald. 1942-12-16. Retrieved 2012-02-27.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Lawrence Journal-World - September 21, 1942
  5. http://www.pedigreequery.com/whirling+bat
  6. Thoroughbred Record 27 September 1952
  7. Thoroughbred Record, 11 April 1953
  8. Whirlaway at Find a Grave