Meet Grecian Queen and Tahitian King, the racing “cousins” of the 1950’s
It all began in the summer of 1937, when a 4-year-old mare named Albania, a daughter of *Bull Dog, was claimed for $3,500 out of a Saratoga race. The new owner, Ben F. Whitaker, walked away with a soon-to-be prolific and prominent broodmare. In addition to the rare feat of birthing living twins (Lucille and Lady Camille, daughters of Requested and born in 1949), Albania also produced Roamer Handicap winner Chief Barker and Sugapud, an unraced mare who became the dam of multiple stakes winner My Request. Albania’s greatest earner on the track, though, was a filly called Calrolyn A. (named in honor of Eddie Arcaro’s daughter), who won the Demoiselle Stakes, Firenze and Correction Handicaps, and the Lousiana Derby over males. Carolyn A. also had a full sister, Qbania, born the year before her
In 1950, the two sisters, Carolyn A. and Qbania, gave birth within a month of each other. First, on April 18, Carolyn A. produced a brown colt by Polynesian, named Tahitian King. On May 10, Abania produced a dark brown daugher of *Heloiopolis, and she was called Grecian Queen. When both were yearlings, they were sent to Jack Howard’s Rookwood Farm to be broken.
Grecian Queen was “one of the smallest, toughest, and busiest of all the 2-year-old fillies” in 1952. She saw action in 15 starts as a juvenile, winning five of them and finishing in the money in a further six. Four of her five wins came in stakes races, the Astarita, Schuylerville, Demoiselle, and one division of the Marguerite Stakes. At year’s end, she was assigned 114 pounds in the Experimental Free Handicap, equal with Canadian Horse of the Year Canadiana, and three pounds below topweighted fillies Bubbley and Sweet Patootie.
Tahitian King, meanwhile, was ranked second to only Native Dancer in the ranks of the juvenile males. He was less busy than his cousin, seeing only eight races in 1952, but he won an even half of them. He won the United States Hotel and National Stallion Stakes and ran second to Native Dancer in the Futurity. On the Experimental Free Handicap, he was even with Champagne Stakes winner Laffango, at 123 pound each, seven pounds below topweighted Native Dancer.
The pair continued to race at 3, with Grecian Queen winning the Coaching Club American Oaks, Gazelle Stakes, and Monmouth Oaks to be named the Champion 3-Year-Old Filly. Tahitian King was still competitive, winning the Swift Stakes and running second in the Wood Memorial, but he was far from the top ranks.
The pair were both retired soon after, with Tahiaitan King being retained for stud duty at his birthplace. Grecian Queen was sold to Leslie Combs II and joined the broodmare band at Spendthrift Farm. Neither produced much of note at stud.