Jaipur’s place in history is secured alongside Ridan. The two brave colts are connected in immortality as closely as they were on the racetrack on August 18, 1962. To say the name of Jaipur without next saying “and Ridan,“ is unheard of. They were two wonderful colts who happened to run the race of all races, but they each had memorable careers that can stand up on their own. Today I celebrate Jaipur.
Jaipur was a fiesty son of the great sire Nasrullah, out of the top Eight Thirty mare Rare Perfume. He was not a large colt, but like many offspring of Nasrullah, he had his own mind and he was not afraid to show it. Trained by Bert Mulholland and ridden by Eddie Arcaro, the dark bay juvenile was bet down to 9-10 for his debut at Aqueduct in July of 1961. The result was an impressive six length win in sharp time for the 5 ½ furlong sprint. His career had begun with great potential. Potential that Jaipur would be prepared to fulfill. Romping wins in the Flash Stakes and the Hopeful sandwiched a runner-up effort in the Saratoga Special. In the Fall, he accounted for the Cowdin Stakes. Only narrow losses in the Futurity, by a neck, and the Champagne, by a head, kept him from year end honors. Like the talented Ridan, the handsome colt would narrowly miss out on the championship to Crimson Satan, but his season was strong enough to make him one of the favorites for the next Spring’s Classics.
Jaipur’s legendary owner, George D. Widener did not feel the need for pushing a young sophomore through the rigors of the Kentucky Derby early in May, so he did not point his star for the roses. Jaipur rather got going with a pair of mile stakes in April and May. Winning the Gotham and Withers raised his record to 6 wins and 3 seconds in his first nine starts. It also sent him to Baltimore as the Preakness favorite, but probably not quite in classic distance shape. In what amounted to little more than a tune-up for the Belmont, Jaipur backed out badly to finish 10th as Greek Money and Ridan battled it out to the wire in the Preakness.
The big one was yet to come for his New York owner, however, so Jaipur was entered in Garden State’s Jersey Derby as a final prep for the Belmont. In the Jersey Derby, Jaipur would return to his best form, but as if a sign of things to come, he would be in store for a terrific stretch battle. In Crimson Satan and Admiral’s Voyage, he was facing two of the best in a very deep crop of 1962 three-year-olds, and in the stretch of the Jersey Derby. Jaipur led early but would soon be met by a strong challenge by both of the other two. With the three tough colts running nearly nose and nose, Crimson Satan bore in and bothered the other pair before the three colts hit the wire in a blanket finish. Crimson Satan actually won the three-way photo but was dropped two places for interference. Jaipur, who had nosed out Admiral’s Voyage, was declared the winner.
A week and a half later, the three would be at it again in Belmont Park’s Test of Champions. Jaipur, being ridden for only the third time by young rider, Bill Shoemaker, stayed close to the early lead and pounced as the field turned for home. In early stretch it appeared that the Belmont might be an instant replay of the Jersey Derby, as the familiar three came together again. This time, Crimson Satan would fade late and Jaipur was left to battle it out with Admirals Voyage. Once again, Jaipur won the photo by a nose, giving his owner Widener the trophy he always desired. After the Belmont, Jaipur showed signs of the back-to-back efforts, and maybe a little of his stubborness, by refusing to go back to normal training.
After a needed freshening, Jaipur came back in August to get in a prep for the Travers at Monmouth Park. There he renewed his rivalry with Crimson Stain, but it proved no contest as Jaipur would win the Choice Stakes for fun. The Travers would be next and on paper it looked like Ridan would be his main competition. Seven entered the Mid Summer Derby with Jaipur being the heavy favorite and Ridan being the clear second choice. The talented grandson of Nasrullah had overcame physical issues and had romped by seven lengths in the Arlington Classic after his heartbreaking loss in the Preakness. Also in the field was the champion filly Cicada, and a longshot named Military Plume.
What happened next is considered by many the greatest race in the history of the sport. Jaipur and Ridan, breaking from the two most inside post positions hustled out together to contest the lead. Also of note at the start, was the filly Cicada banging into Military Plume. As the rest of the field well back, Jaipur and Ridan continued to go at it. As the two proud colts contested for the lead there never little more than a neck between the two. Shoemaker tried to relax Jaipur, but the stubborn colt would not let Ridan get away. Neither cold would give an inch. As fractions of :47 and 2, 1:11, and 1:35 and 2 were rattled off the large Saratoga crowd began to realize they were seeing something very special.
Usually when two horses go tooth and nail like this, something has to give. One or both would simply have to throw in the towel. It never happened. Cyane would menace on the rail, but quickly fell back. Despite their furious battle, these two warriors were able to hold off the rest of the field in the stretch including longshot Military Plume who made a strong rally on the outside despite his trouble early with Cicada and a bearing out Cyane briefly stunting his rally. But this was all about Jaipur on the outside and Ridan on the rail. Jaipur and Ridan. Ridan and Jaipur. Neither colt had the stomach for losing this race. As the epic battle came to the climax the outcome was still in doubt.
For every step of the 10 furlongs these majestic colts had battled head and head and only the photographers image of Jaipur with his nose in front on the wire, could classify one horse as a winner and one as a loser. If ever there was a performance too good to lose, it was just run by Ridan, but Jaipur had earned the win, and in the most difficult way possible.
In winning the Travers Jaipur had all but clinched the three-year-old Championship, but the race itself was the thing that everyone remembers. His career for all intents and purposes could have ended after that afternoon at Saratoga, but he would run five more times. In his next race he ran second to the great five-year-old Kelso in the Woodward, but that would basically be it. Jaipur’s heart never seemed to be in it after his incredible Summer. His career ended in February of 1963 after being beaten by Ridan and Kelso in a couple of stakes at Hialeah. In all Ridan won 10 of 19 lifetime starts, including eight stakes. He was second 6 other times, and he was named the best three-year-old of that strong crop of 1962.
Jaipur will be always remembered with Ridan for those two minutes in time and their unbelievable slugfest in the Travers, but he was so much more than that. I remember you Jaipur.