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Round Table

1995.2.1518 J.C. Skeets Meadors.jpg

Round Table (J. C. Skeets Meadors photo)
Round Table
Induction Year: 
Claiborne Farm
A. B. Hancock, Jr; Travis M. Kerr
Moody Jolley; William Molter
Knight's Daughter
Sir Cosmo
Career Years: 

Tab Wrapper


At the time of his retirement in 1959, Round Table was the sport’s all-time leading money earner. He had been named Horse of the Year in 1958, grass champion three consecutive years (1957 through 1959) and handicap champion twice (1958 and 1959. He was also the horse that literally saved Claiborne Farm.


The sale of the majority interest in Round Table by Claiborne Farm to Oklahoma oilman Travis Kerr early in his 3-year-old season “more or less held the farm together, paid the estate taxes, and so on,” said Arthur B. “Bull” Hancock, Jr., after the death of his father, A. B. Hancock, Sr.


The majority interest in Round Table was sold to Kerr for $145,000 on Feb. 9, 1957, with Hancock retaining 20 percent interest in the horse’s future qualities (estimated at $500,000). The smallish son of Princequillo—Knight’s Daughter, by Sir Cosmo, had won the Breeders’ Futurity. Lafayette Stakes and three other races for Claiborne as a 2-year-old.


William Molter took over the training duties for Round Table as a 3-year-old in 1957. After winning the Bay Meadows Derby and the Blue Grass Stakes, Round Table finished a credible third in the Kentucky Derby, three lengths behind Iron Liege. Molter then took the colt back to California, where Round Table won 11 consecutive races, including five stakes at Hollywood Park. In his victory in the Hollywood Gold Cup, Round Table covered 10 furlongs in 1:58⅗, matching Swaps’ track record and claiming the fastest time for the distance ever recorded by a 3-year-old.


Round Table then won the American Derby on turf, defeating Kentucky Derby winner Iron Liege by four lengths. Continuing to show his prowess on the grass, Round Table followed with victories in the United Nations Handicap and Hawthorne Gold Cup. Round Table concluded his 3-year-old campaign with a win in the Malibu Sequel Stakes to give him 15 wins from 22 starts and earnings of $600,383. Only Nashua and Citation had earned more in a single year at this point.


At 4, Round Table was handicap champion on dirt and turf and Horse of the Year. He won 14 of 20 starts, setting five records at four tracks and matching two others. Under 130 pounds, he matched the world record of 1:46⅘ in the nine-furlong San Antonio Handicap. He also set the Santa Anita track record for 10 furlongs of 1:59⅘ in the Santa Anita Handicap.


Round Table won his first eight races of 1958, giving him 19 wins in his past 20 starts. He surpassed $1 million in career earnings by winning the Caliente Handicap. Round Table later surpassed Nashua’s all-time earnings record when he defeated Swoon’s Son in the Hawthorne Gold Cup.


As a 5-year-old in 1959, Round Table won nine of 14. He carried 132 pounds eight times that year, and twice carried more. He won six times under 132 and once under 136. A quarter crack kept him out of action for almost four months, but he returned to win the Citation Handicap and then set a nine-furlong course record on grass in the Stars and Stripes Handicap at Washington Park. After losing the Equipoise Mile on an off track, Round Table won the Arlington Handicap, setting an American grass record for one and three-sixteenths miles. He also won the Washington Park Handicap in track-record time. After losing to Sword Dancer in the Woodward, Round Table defeated Bald Eagle in the Manhattan Handicap, but Sword Dancer again got the better of Round Table in the Jockey Club Gold Cup.


Round Table was retired with a career record of 43-8-5 from 66 starts and record earnings of $1,749,869. He entered stud at Claiborne in late 1959 and went on to sire 401 foals. Eighty-three of his foals became stakes winners and his daughters foaled 124 stakes winners. Round Table died on June 13, 1987 at the age of 33.