Theodore "Ted" Francis Atkinson
Gallorette was a Maryland-bred chestnut thoroughbred filly who became a Hall of Fame race horse. Sired by Challenger II, out of Gallette, Gallorette's damsire was Sir Gallahad III. Even so, her dam, Gallette, had once exchanged hands for $250 and was used as a hack.
It's All In The Blood
Trainer Preston M. Burch bought Gallette because of her highly successful sire, Sir Gallahad III, but once he owned her he was faced with a problem. If he entered Gallette in claiming races, someone was bound to snatch her away because of those same bloodlines. Racing her in higher-class races, he knew she could not win...so he retired her. Again because of her sire, the advertising executive William L. Brann, who co-owned a stallion called Challenger II, entered into an agreement with Burch that they would send Gallette to his stallion (who'd sired the Preakness winner Challedon) and then each would own her foals, first one for Brann and then one for Burch and so on. Gallette's first foal went to Brann. He named her Gallorette.
First is Best
Brann sent the young horse to the trainer Edward A. Christmas, a member of a noted family of Maryland horsemen. Gallorette grew into a big, rangy filly. Too gawky to start too young, she didn't make her first start until late in her second year. For her two-year-old season, beginning in September, she started in 8 races and won three. She was never out of the money.
Three Year-Old Season
As a three-year-old in 1945, she stood 16 hands 1 inch. Her first race was a victory over Hoop Jr., the colt that went on to win that year's Kentucky Derby, Hoop Jr. She then took on the colts again in the Wood Memorial Stakes, coming in second to Jeep. "The Great Ones," a Blood-Horse book, says of her: "She was a big mare; as big as most of the colts she raced against, tougher than some of them, faster than almost all of them."
Gallorette was running when races for fillies beyond the age of three were limited, and as a result, most of her important races were against male horses. In truth, there were races to run in, but being for females, they carried much smaller purses. (The first $100,000 race for fillies and mares only was the New Castle Handicap (the forerunner of the Delaware Handicap), and was inaugurated long after Gallorette had retired.) Against females, she took the Acorn Stakes, the Pimlico Oaks, and the Delaware Oaks. She beat every Eastern filly of any quality. Back to racing colts, she carried the same weight and competed in the Dwyer Stakes, losing it by a nose to Wildlife. But she won the Empire City Handicap, beating the Belmont Stakes winner, Pavot. About then, Gallorette got tired, or fed up, or just lost heart, because she then lost six races in a row.
Four Year-Old Season
In her four-year-old season, she started out slowly, and then really revved up. She took the Metropolitan Handicap from Sirde and First Fiddle, won the Nimba Handicap with ease, but was then assigned very high weights. This took its toll on her. But she was still in the money. In the Brooklyn Handicap, she was up against the brilliant Stymie. Both of them followed the pace for an entire mile and made their moves at the same time, Stymie coming from a bit further back. At some point Stymie got his head in front, but Gallorette fought back and won.
The rest of the year she won or was in the money in the Bay Shore Handicap, the Beldame Stakes, the Butler Stakes, the Wilson Stakes, the Edgemere Handicap, the Sysonby Purse, and the Mass Cap. She won the Queens County Handicap when she was five in 1947.
At six, she was sold for $125,000 to Mrs. Marie A. Moore of Virginia. And Gallorette raced on. She won the Carter Handicap, and the 1948 Whitney Stakes. Then she retired.
During her five years of racing—between 1944 and 1948—she won or placed in 54 of her 72 starts. She competed against more than a few great male horses, including the future Hall of Famers Armed and Stymie, as well as the U.S. Triple Crown champion Assault. Blood-Horse magazine describes the years during which Gallorette ran as one of the deepest handicap divisions ever seen in American thoroughbred racing.
Gallorette was voted Champion female horse for 1946. In a poll among members of the American Trainers Association, conducted in 1955 by Delaware Park Racetrack, she was voted the greatest filly in American racing history. In 1962, she was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame where her portrait by Richard Stone Reeves is part of the Museum's collection. In The Blood-Horse ranking of the top 100 U.S. thoroughbred champions of the 20th Century, Gallorette is ranked #45. That rank of #45 is all the more impressive when you consider that she is ranked as the third highest female horse in the century.
Pimlico Race Course named a Graded stakes race in her honor. The Gallorette Handicap is run annually on the same card as the Preakness Stakes.