Saturday, May 3, 2014

Swaps, in Photos and by Hagen-Renaker

While I waited (and waited) (and waited) for the Kentucky Derby to start this afternoon, I decided to share some photos and links related to the winner of the 1955 Kentucky Derby, Swaps.  Like this year's Derby winner, California Chrome, Swaps was a chestnut from California.

This picture of Swaps came from an old Sports Illustrated magazine that I found at an estate sale.  


No one would question that Swaps was one of the all-time great American race horses.  Here's a profile video of him, with color footage:

Turf historian William H.P. Robertson wrote that Swaps "entered stud with the largest collection of recognized world records (five) in history, and a lifetime performance summary, as follows: 25 starts, 19 wins, two seconds, two thirds, earnings of $848,900."

Like other famous Thoroughbred race horses, Swaps was immortalized with a big statue...

Statue of Swaps at Hollywood Park

...And with other statues, small enough to fit on a model horse collector's shelf.

Hagen-Renaker issued two different ceramic "Swaps" model horse figurines, designed by the incredibly talented Maureen Love.  This one is the Designer's Workshop, or 7" size:

And the one below is the Hagen-Renaker ceramic miniature "Swaps" figurine, also designed by Maureen Love.  (Mine has a restored right hind leg.)  

Breyer Model Horses reproduced both versions of the H-R Swaps, in plastic.

Here's a video of Swaps winning the '55 Derby:

The Hagen-Renaker Museum website shows photos of the ceramics model of Swaps, as well as those representing other famous Thoroughbreds:

Kirsten Wellman traces the connection between Swaps and the model horses named for him, in her blog:

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