• Calumet Delco

    The expression "Who's your daddy?" is often used as a claim of dominance. In the case of the 1938 foals of Gäel, a champion French trotter, it is more a matter of facts than dominance. In 1992 Rene Veslard, son of Albert Veslard who owned Haras de Ginai and Gäel, admitted publicly that mares owned by his father that were supposedly bred by Gael in 1937 were in fact bred by Calumet Delco. The foals were registered with Gäel as sire, though, because the French stud book was closed and the foals could not be registered with Calumet Delco as sire. From this 1938 crop we find son Quiroga II and Quiproquo II who both became influential stallions (in addition to Prix de Paris winning mare Quinauderie). The French association, though, have never changed any of the records and Gäel is still the official sire.

    Calumet Who? In the Milwaukee Journal from Nov 6, 1934 we find the following little notice: "Calumet Delco, Wisconsin's champion trotter of 1933, is the toast of French harness racing fans. FB Luchsinger Monroe, who sold the colt to European buyers, has received word from Henri Masson, now racing the horse, that Delco has won five times and placed second three times in eight races on French soil (...)" Born in Kentucky at the famous Calumet Farm, Calumet Delco raced in Wisconsin before being exported to France in early 1934. In total he won 24 times in France, was one of the better horses at the time and managed a fifth place finish in the 1938 Prix d'Amerique. His most famous race in France is probably the 1937 Grand Prix de la Ville de Nice where he was given a 100 meters handicap in the 2500 meter long race (1 9/16 mile), yet ended up losing by only a nose, and setting his French record of 1:21.4/2:11MR in the process. As payments had not been made he wasn't eligible to the 1933 Hambletonian won by Mary Reynolds, but there was no question that he was among the better horses in his crop. As a 2-year old he had won all 10 races, set three world records and at 3 he won the Review Futurity (Review Stakes) and the Historic Dickerson Cup.

    In addition to racing, Calumet Delco had a rather interesting "part-time job." He was a "souffleur." Working at the Haras de Ginai, the current home of Fabrice Souloy, Calumet Delco's "job" was to "prepare" or "warm up" broodmares for the stallion Gäel who was standing stud there. Certainly an interesting job! However, from early on it was suspected that Calumet Delco did more than merely "prepare" the broodmares and Rene Veslard's confession only confirmed what everybody knew, that Calumet Delco is in fact the actual sire. That he did well as a sire should come as no surprise. In addition to his excellent results on the racetrack, his pedigree is also impeccable, being the son of Peter the Brewer and Dillcisco. This makes him the sister of Stardrift, herself a good trotter and dam of a certain Star's Pride. He is also the full sister of Josephine Brewer, the fourth dam of Arnie Almahurst and Astro Hill. According to an article in Bulletin 139 of the French breeding association GAET, Rene Veslard stated that "If he had a lot of foals, Calumet Delco would become a leading sire. It was a nice horse, with the right type and size. He was above all, a golden character, being brave and obedient."

    In addition to the public confession, the rumour and speculation there is some physical evidence in the form of color genes to suggest that Gäel cannot be the sire of all of his registered 1938 foals. Calumet Delco is bay brown, while Gäel is chestnut red. Most foals were bay or brown. The best "evidence" comes from the horse Quaker H, officially by Gäel and Idalie B. Gäel and Idalie B were both red. Genetically red + red should produce a red foal. Quaker H, however, was brown. Calumet Delco was, like most US horses, bay. It is extremely unlikely that Gäel, or any other chestnut horse, could be the sire of Quaker H. Although this does not in any way prove that Calumet Delco is indeed the sire, it certainly looks very likely.

    During the war Calumet Delco was kidnapped by the Germans and served as a sire there between 1941 and 1948, and again after 1952. As Rene Veslard said "I know he returned to the [Haras de] Ginai but that is a different story." In fact, it may just be the same story all over as Calumet Delco is rumoured to be the sire of several French horses born 1952, including Isard du Padoueng.