Bimelech : Race Horse
The racehorse Bimelech was foaled on 27 February 1937 conceived from the mare La Troienne and sired by Black Toney. La Troienne was the most famous and sought after brood mare of her time, giving birth to noteworthy race winners such as Black Helen, Big Hurry, Bridal Flower and Baby League. Bimelech was owned by Colonel E.R. Bradley who wanted to name his new colt, as a tribute, after a close friend. Bradleys’ friend, John Harris, was nicknamed Abimelech, and as tradition goes, his colts’ name had to start with a B. The A in Abimelech was taken away, and the name Bimelech came into being. Bimelech was the last foal to be sired by Bradley’s equally famous stallion, Black Toney.
Bimelech started his racing career at the age of two, and was undefeated by winning at Suffolk Downs, Empire City and Saratoga Race Course. After winning his first stakes race, Bimelech showed his worth as a racehorse by winning the Saratoga Special Stakes and the Hopeful Stakes. He finished off his first racing season by being victorious at the Pimlico Futurity. Named the U.S. Champion Two-Year Old Colt, made Bimelech the favorite to win the Kentucky Derby in 1940 with three to one odds.
His second season, as a three-year old, was as exciting as his first. Bimelech entered the new season undefeated and won both the Blue Grass Stakes and the Derby Trial. In the Derby, Bimelech was going to be up against Gallahadion, which was owned by Charles S. Howard. Howard raced and owned the world famous racehorse, Seabiscuit. Bimelechs’ jockey, Fred Smith, was blamed for Gallahadion’s win over Bimelech, as the jockey had run Bimelech wide throughout the race, meaning that Bimelech ran a longer distance then the other horses, and was completely exhausted by the end of the race. In the Preakness Stakes, Bimelech proved to be the superior horse by beating Gallahadion and due to the lack of proper training, he took a second place in the Withers Stakes. Bradley bettered Bimelech’s training and he won the Belmont Stakes. During the race that followed the Belmont Stakes race, it was obvious that Bimelech raced under great strain, and it was discovered after the race, that Bimelech had been running with an injured foot. Bimelech had deserved to win the Triple Crown, but it wasn’t meant to be. Even though his season was cut short due to his injury, he still took the award for U.S. Champion Three-Year Old.
When Bimelech started racing again, after healing from his injury, new starting gates had been installed, and Bimelech did not like them at all. He acted up when being loaded, and after his second race, Bradley feared that his beloved horse might seriously injure himself at the gates, and took the decision to retire him. Colonel Bradley passed away in 1946 and Bimelech was bought by a syndicate, consisting of Ogden Phipps, Greentree Stud and King Ranch. While standing on stud, Bimelech sired thirty stakes winners that included Better Self and Be Faithful. His daughters went on to foal fifty stake winners. Bimelech was 29 when he passed away in 1966, and in 1990, he was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.