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Induction Year: 
Nelson Bunker Hunt
Nelson Bunker Hunt
Maurice Zilber, Charles E. Whittingham
Vaguely Noble
Charming Alibi
Honeys Alibi
Career Years: 

Tab Wrapper


Bred and owned by Texas oilman Nelson Bunker Hunt, Dahlia earned international fame for her ability to beat the boys in some of the most prestigious races in North America and Europe.


Dahlia flashed some potential as a 2-year-old in 1972, winning the Prix Yacowlef at Deauville in France. At ages 3 and 4, Dahlia, trained by Maurice Zilber, was named English Horse of the Year and topped the English Free Handicap at 140 pounds at 11 furlongs and up both years.


In 1973, Dahlia won the Prix de la Grotte, Prix Saint-Alary, Irish Guinness Oaks, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Prix Niel and the Washington D.C. International. She beat males in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes one week after winning the Irish Guinness Oaks. Her victory at 10-1 odds in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth by six lengths was a monumental accomplishment as the field included three major European Derby winners: Roberto (English Derby), Hard to Beat (French Derby) and Weaver’s Hall (Irish Derby), as well as Rheingold, winner of the Arc de Triomphe. She was also the first filly to win the race. Dahlia also made her United States' debut that fall when she defeated odds-on favorite Tentam and Big Spruce in the D.C. International.


As a 4-year-old in 1974, Dahlia spent the first half of her season competing in France and England. She won the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud, repeated in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth and won the Benson and Hedges Gold Cup before another successful trip to North America that included Grade 1 wins in the Man o’ War and Canadian International. Dahlia won the Eclipse Award for Champion Grass Horse in 1974 and became the first filly or mare to eclipse $1 million in career earnings that year.


Dahlia won the Benson and Hedges Gold Cup again in 1975 and late in the year became permanently based in the United States with new trainer Charlie Whittingham. Dahlia won twice in 15 races for Whittingham, including a victory in the 1976 Hollywood Invitational Handicap for her third North American Grade 1 win to go along with seven European Group 1 wins. She was the first horse of either gender to win Grade/Group 1 races in five different countries: England, France, Ireland, United States and Canada.


Dahlia was retired as racing’s richest female with earnings of $1,489,105 and a career record of 15-3-7 from 48 starts. She died April 6, 2001 at the age of 31.