They say that everything is bigger in Texas. I just finished residing there for 12 years and I can tell you that is a true statement. Of course, that goes for both the good and the bad, since everything is a wide encompassing word. One of the biggest things ever to come out of Texas, at least as far as horseflesh is concerned is Assault. Assault (pictured) was bred at the famed King Ranch in the Lone Star State and he is one of only eleven horses in the long and proud history of The Sport Of Kings to win the Triple Crown, turning the trick in the first post-World War II year of 1946.
Assault was not sent off as the favorite in the 1946 Kentucky Derby, far from it. He wound up being a generous 8-1 at post time. That becomes somewhat ironic since he would win the Derby by eight lengths, one of the largest margins in history. Of recent vintage, only Mine That Bird's monumental upset last year comes close as far as margin of victory and he won by 6 3/4 lengths. Assault certainly had the pedigree for success in Louisville since his Sire was Bold Venture, winner of the 1936 Run For The Roses. However, his prior racing record had not much value to show that he could end up doing what he did. At age two, he won only two of nine starts and $17,250 in purse money. That Triple Crown winning season of 1946 was another matter, though, Assault started fifteen times, winning eight and placing in five others for a haul in excess of $400,000. His four-year-old campaign was nothing to sneeze at either. He went to gate seven times in 1947, winning five and hitting the board in the other two for a purses totalling nearly $200,000. Assault was inducted into the Hall Of Fame in 1964.
As far as that "Clubfoot Comet" nickname, he got that from an injury incurred when he was quite young. It is believed he stepped on something which affected his foot whenever he took a step. He might have walked funny, but he certainly could run for all he was worth.
Tune in tomorrow for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!
Photo courtesy of kentucky-derby.net