Horse Racing Stories

The Modern Pedigree for Hall of Fame Filly IMP

Rinaldo Del Gallo, III

By: Rinaldo Del Gallo, III

A friend of Horse Racing Today asked me to write a history on the Hall of Fame filly IMP (USA) blk. M, 1894 {4-r}.  I often like to do “where are they now in pedigree” stories.  This piece is a little bit to discuss where IMP is now in the modern horse.

I did it with REGRET.

I did it with BELDAME.

I did it with WHIRLAWAY.

So, I was asked to do a story on IMP, and where she was in modern pedigrees.  This is that column, in answer to a reader’s request.

I have often said we should selectively breed sound horses to sound horses to get sound horses. In fact, one of my general rules of debate is there are certain premises I will not debate, as I have no interest in debating something very well-settled.  One of those premises I refuse to debate is that selective breeding works.  But, it is readily admitted that when you selectively breed, you do not always get the characteristic in the progeny.

If there would ever be a rebuttal to selective breeding, Imp would be it.  IMP mp was born in 1894 and bred in Ohio.  Imp’s sire, WAGNER  (GB) b. H, 1882 {12-d, ran in only one race in England, the Wilton stakes, which he won.  IMP’s dam was FONDLING  (USA) br. M, 1886 {4-r}, a horse that raced only once, was injured in that race, and was sent to the breeding shed.  So what happens when you mate two horses that each only raced once.

You get Hall of Fame Champion IMP, a horse that raced a stunning 171 starts.  IMP’s record was 171: 62-35-29. She was inducted in the Hall of Fame in 1965.  No horse in the National Racing Museum and Hall of Fame ran more times. While on occasion I have come across an old horse that ran more than 171 times, 171 wins is the maximum for any horse currently in the Hall of Fame. Pan Zaretta had 151 starts. Kingston had 138 starts (though the most wins). Stymie had 131 starts.

The Hall of Fame has provided Imp’s race record–the races seem to go on forever.


I tried to find Imp in modern pedigrees, and had some luck, but barely.  One of my fluke finds was a horse named WEEK END SPECIAL (USA) ch. M, 1964 {13-d}, whose sire and dam were full siblings.  The horse MR WHISKLINE (USA) dkb/br. H, 1925 {4-r} in Week End Special’s pedigree has Imp as a fourth dam.

IMP has a stakes winning son, FAUST (USA) br. G, 1904 {4-r}, but he was gelded. Another son, NAUGHTY BOY (USA) H, 1907 {4-r}, was entered for the 2,000 Guineas St. Leger in England, but never ran, and then died without issue. There was a multiple winner LOYAL NATIVE  (USA) dkb/br. H, 1974 {5-f}, who had a race record of 82 Starts: 15 – 14 – 12, $46,714, and no issue. So there was to be no descendent from Imp’s sons.

But IMP had a daughter, DEVILTREE (USA) M, 1903 {4-r}, and that is the only offspring that lasted multiple generations. DEVILTREE had 3 sons, 2 of them stakes placed, but there were no issue and two were geldings.  DEVILTREE had a daughter, YANKEE TREE (USA) b. M, 1911 {4-r} who had one son, UNITED VERDE (USA) br. H, 1918 {4-r}.  UNITED VERDE was a stakes winner and won the Bashford Manor stakes. It is through United Verde that there are modern descendants of IMP.

After searching and searching, I came upon a horse MAGNUS STAR (USA) dkb/br. H, 1998 {5-f}.  According to Pedigree query dot com, MAGNUS STAR is the “last surviving relative (and his progeny) of the great race mare IMP, born in 1894.”  MAGNUS STAR’s 6th dam is DOLLY S (USA) M, 1924 {5-f}.  DOLLY S has UNITED VERDE  (USA) br. H, 1918 {4-r} as a sire.  UNITED VERDE’s third dam is IMP.  (Have a good look at KAPOK (USA) b. M, 1944 {5-f}, to see how many times GOLDEN CARTER can appear in a pedigree.)

IMP outside of Pioneer Bowling Alleys

I don’t know how good this information is, but the following appear to be last surviving descendants of IMP, the offspring of MAGNUS STAR:

VENUS ENVOY  F, 2020 {2-s} bred by Mary R. McKinley in Pennsylvania, MISTER NOODLE G, 2016 {4-r}, RISING PRODIGY  (USA) b. H, 2014 {4-m} bred by Margrethe Elliot Rose in Pennsylvania, CHOCOLATE TWIST  (USA) b. G, 2013 {2-n} breed by Mary R McKinley in Pennsylvania, VICTORIAN SECRET  (USA) ch. M, 2012 {14-b} bred by Ellen Van Peitersom in Pennsylvania, SIR RALPHIE BOOBOO H, 2012 {1-w}, MISS NAUTICA M, 2012 {3-d}, MAYE OF MARRIWAYE M, 2010 {3-d}, MARRIWAYES THYME M, 2010 {19-c} (who has a son WYNNIN WAYDE C, 2021 {19-c}), EARLE OF MARRIWAYE ch. G, 2010 {16-c}, CRUISINFORCADDIES   (USA) b. G, 2009 {A1} who was bred in Pennsylvania by Mary R. McKinley in Pennsylvania who raced 6 times and was never in the money, and TRIBUTE TO A STAR  (USA) b. G, 2008 {4-n}  who was bred in Pennsylvania by White Knights Racing.

MAGNUS STAR —who is at stud—is still listed as standing at Marriwaye Meadows. It is a somewhat dead website, but it is up, and it lists MAGNUS STAR as standing, although he would be 24 years of age by now, old for a thoroughbred.

IMP won $70,119.  If 1 dollar in $31.79, Imp’s earning in today’s 2022 dollars would be $2,229,083.  Among her accomplishments was being the first filly to win the Suburban Handicap, won at a time when the race was even bigger than it is today.

IMP does live on in the modern thoroughbred, but just barely, and it would not surprise me in the least if she disappears from the breed.  If you know IMP descendant horses, please let me know.

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