Blue Larkspur (KY)

Blue Larkspur is considered the best of the 128 stakes winners bred by his owner, Col. E. R. Bradley, at Idle Hour Stock Farm.

Painting of Blue Larkspur by Franklin Brooke Voss, 1934 (Museum Collection)





Black Servant


Blossom Time


North Star III


Idle Hour Stock Farm


Edward R. Bradley


Herbert J. Thompson





Racing Record



Year Starts First Second Third Earnings
Year Sts 1 2 3 $
1928 7 4 1 1 $66970 $66,970
1929 6 4 1 0 $153450 $153,450
1930 3 2 1 0 $51650 $51,650


Blue Larkspur is considered the best of the 128 stakes winners bred by his owner, Col. E. R. Bradley, at Idle Hour Stock Farm.

Trained by Hall of Famer Herbert J. Thompson, Blue Larkspur was a son of Black Servant out of the North Star III mare Blossom Time. Blue Larkspur’s sire finished second in the 1921 Kentucky Derby and his dam won the Pimlico Futurity.

As a 2-year-old in 1928, Blue Larkspur won the Juvenile Stakes, National Stallion Stakes, and Saratoga Special Stakes. He started seven times as a juvenile with a record of 4-1-1 and earnings of $66,970.

After finishing fourth in the Kentucky Derby in May 1929, Blue Larkspur won the Withers Stakes and then the Belmont Stakes by two lengths. He added a five-length victory in the Arlington Classic before in an injury in August ended his season with a ledger of 4-1-0 and earnings of $153,450 in six starts. Blue Larkspur was recognized as Horse of the Year and Champion 3-Year-Old Male. 

 As a 4-year-old, Blue Larkspur won the Stars and Stripes Handicap, clipping a full second off the track record with a time of 1:49⅖ for 1⅛ miles at Arlington Park. Blue Larkspur stayed at Arlington to win the Arlington Cup in July.

Following the Arlington Cup, Blue Larkspur developed another injury and was retired to Idle Hour, concluding his career with a record of 10-3-1 from 16 starts with earnings of $272,070. At the time of his retirement, Blue Larkspur was the third-highest money earner in American racing history.

At stud, Blue Larkspur produced 44 stakes winners, including Hall of Fame filly Myrtlewood and Hall of Fame steeplechaser Oedipus. Blue Larkspur ranked among the top 10 broodmare sires from 1944 through 1960.

After Bradley died in 1946, Blue Larkspur was acquired by King Ranch and sent to stand temporarily at Greentree Farm near Lexington, Kentucky. He was bred to 13 mares the following spring before dying of a heart attack May 6, 1947.

Racing historian John Hervey termed Blue Larkspur “the most beautifully gaited runner we have seen in 40 years or more.”


Horse of the Year — 1929
Champion 3-Year-Old Male — 1929
Champion Older Male — 1930

Triple Crown Highlights

Won the Belmont Stakes — 1929


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