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Nashua (horse)

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Nashua & Clem Brooks at Spendthrift Farm in 1981
CountryUnited States
BreederBelair Stud
OwnerBelair Stud
Racing silks: White, red dots, red cap.
TrainerSunny Jim Fitzsimmons
Record30: 22–4–1
Major wins
Futurity Stakes (1954)
Hopeful Stakes (1954)
Grand Union Hotel Stakes (1954)
Juvenile Stakes (1954)
Flamingo Stakes (1955)
Florida Derby (1955)
Arlington Classic (1955)
Wood Memorial Stakes (1955)
Dwyer Stakes (1955)
Jockey Club Gold Cup (1955, 1956)
Grey Lag Handicap (1956)
Monmouth Handicap (1956)
Suburban Handicap (1956)
Widener Handicap (1956)

American Classic Race wins:
Preakness Stakes (1955)
Belmont Stakes (1955)

U.S. Champion 2-Year-Old Colt (1954)
U.S. Champion 3-Year-Old Colt (1955)
United States Horse of the Year (1955)
United States Racing Hall of Fame (1965)
#24 - Top 100 U.S. Racehorses of the 20th Century
Nashua Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack
Last updated on August 14, 2021

Nashua (April 14, 1952 – February 3, 1982) was an American-born thoroughbred racehorse, best remembered for a 1955 match race against Swaps, the horse that had defeated him in the Kentucky Derby.



Nashua's sire was the European champion Nasrullah. The dam was Segula, a broodmare who has had influence through her female descendants.

Racing career


Owned by William Woodward Jr.'s famous Belair Stud in Bowie, Maryland, Nashua was trained by Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons and ridden by jockey Eddie Arcaro. As a two-year-old in 1954, Nashua entered eight races, winning six and finishing second twice, which earned him champion 2-year-old honors. The following year he earned United States Horse of the Year awards from the Thoroughbred Racing Association (with 21 of the 40 votes),[1] and the publishers of Daily Racing Form.[2]

U.S. Triple Crown series


Nashua was the betting favorite to win the 1955 Kentucky Derby but was beaten by the second choice, Swaps.[3]

In the 1955 Preakness Stakes, second leg of the Triple Crown, Swaps did not run and Nashua won by a length over a surprisingly strong challenge by Marion duPont Scott's colt, Saratoga. Nashua's time of 1:54 3/5 for the mile and three-sixteenth race on dirt broke the Pimlico track record.[4]

Swaps did not run in the Belmont Stakes and Nashua, the overwhelming choice of the bettors, romped home nine lengths ahead of his nearest rival Blazing Count with Porterville another five and on-half behind them.[5]

In what would become Nashua's most famous race, he defeated Swaps in an August 31, 1955 match race at Chicago's Washington Park Race Track.[6]

Nashua would be voted the 1955 American Horse of the Year.[7]

New owners


Following the killing of William Woodward Jr., the Belair Stud horses were auctioned off. In 1955, a syndicate purchased Nashua for a record $1,251,200 from the Woodward estate, with majority interests owned by Christopher J. Devine (senior partner and founder of C.J. Devine & Co.);[8] Leslie Combs II; and John Wesley Hanes II, an Under Secretary of the Treasury in the Franklin D. Roosevelt Administration, the head of the New York Racing Association and a part owner in the company that made Hanes hosiery and underwear.[9] In 1956 the syndicate leased Nashua to Combs to race under the Combs colors.[10]



At the end of his 1956 season, after thirty career races with a record of 22–4–1, Nashua was retired to stand at stud at Spendthrift Farm in Lexington, Kentucky. He retired as only the second horse to earn more than $1 million. His earnings of $1,288,565 surpassed the great Citation's record and stood as the earnings mark until surpassed by Round Table in the autumn of 1958.

At stud, Nashua was consistent, though his fillies were usually better runners than his colts. His progeny included the Hall of Fame racemare Shuvee, Bramalea (the dam of Roberto), Gold Digger (the dam of Mr. Prospector), and Melbourne Cup winner Beldale Ball.

In 1965, Nashua was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. In The Blood-Horse ranking of the top 100 U.S. thoroughbred champions of the 20th Century, he was ranked 24.

Nashua died in 1982 and is buried at Spendthrift Farm. In the mid-eighties, the farm commissioned a statue to be raised over him. The sculptor was Liza Todd, the daughter of Mike Todd and Elizabeth Taylor.

In 2010, sportswriter Bill Christine wrote that Nashua "...belongs on that short list of best horses never to have won the Kentucky Derby".[11]


Pedigree of Nashua
b. 1940
b. 1935
Pharos Phalaris
Scapa Flow
Nogara Havresac
Mumtaz Begum
b. 1932
Blenheim Blandford
Mumtaz Mahal The Tetrarch
Lady Josephine
b. 1942
b. 1936
Jamestown St. James
Mlle. Dazie
La France Sir Gallahad III
b. 1929
Sardanapale Prestige
Prosopopee Sans Souci


  1. ^ "And Now It's Official, Nashua is the Champ". Ocala Star-Banner. 1955-12-09. Retrieved 2012-02-27.
  2. ^ "Poll Names Nashua Horse Of The Year". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-02-27.
  3. ^ "Swaps Wins Kentucky Derby as Nashua Finishes Second". Daily Racing Form at University of Kentucky Archives. 1955-05-09. Retrieved 2018-11-26.
  4. ^ "Track Record Set". New York Times, Section Sports, page 113. 1955-05-29. Retrieved 2021-07-13.
  5. ^ "87th Running -1955- Nashua" (PDF). NYRA Belmont Stakes. 1955-06-12. Retrieved 2021-08-14.
  6. ^ "The day Swaps met his match". Los Angeles Times. 2014-06-05. Retrieved 2021-08-14.
  7. ^ The Bloodhorse.com Champion's history charts Archived September 4, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Christopher J. Devine, 58, Dies; A Dealer in Government Bonds". The New York Times. May 11, 1963. p. 25.
  9. ^ "Hope Hanes, 86, Dies; Breeder of Race Horses". New York Times. August 14, 1992.
  10. ^ "Nashua Owners Listed; Hanes, Devine in Syndicate – Title to Horse Received". New York Times. December 23, 1955.
  11. ^ Christine, B. (October 23, 2010). Death Killed a Sports Illustrated Cover. horseraceinsider.com. Retrieved January 23, 2015.