By BRIEN BOUYEA
Considered by turf experts to be among the greatest sons of the legendary sire Lexington, Duke of Magenta was foaled in 1875 at the famed Woodburn Stud near Lexington, Ky. Owned by George L. Lorillard and trained by Robert Wyndham Walden, Duke of Magenta established himself as one of the giants of the turf scene in the final quarter of the 19th century.
A light bay standing 16 hands, Duke of Magenta broke his maiden in the Flash Stakes at Saratoga in July of 1877. He won four of seven starts as a 2-year-old and finished second in the other three. Foreshadowing the greatness to come, Duke of Magenta closed out his 1877 season with three consecutive wins.
In 1878, Duke of Magenta enjoyed one of the most prolific 3-year-old campaigns in the history of the American turf, winning 11 of 12 starts, including such marquee events as the Preakness, Withers, Belmont, Travers, Kenner, and Jerome. His only loss on the year occurred when he finished third in the Jersey Derby when it was reported he spiked a fever.
Three weeks after his defeat in the Jersey Derby, Duke of Magenta appeared at Saratoga for the Travers. The favorite in the race was Spartan, the winner of the Jersey Derby, but Duke of Magenta was back in top form and won convincingly. The Travers marked the beginning of an eight-race win streak for Duke of Magenta.
Duke of Magenta was sold at the conclusion of his 3-year-old season by Lorillard to his brother, Pierre Lorillard, who sent him to race in England. Those plans, however, never came to fruition. Duke of Magenta became ill on the voyage and was sent home. He never raced again.
Duke of Magenta finished his career with a record of 15-3-1 from 19 starts and earnings of $45,412. Since he accomplished the feat in 1878, only Hall of Famers Man o’ War and Native Dancer have won the combination of the Preakness, Withers, Belmont, and Travers.