Bull Lea

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Bull Lea
Bull Lea.jpg
SireBull Dog
DamRose Leaves
CountryUnited States
BreederColdstream Farm
OwnerCalumet Farm
TrainerFrank J. Kearns
Record27: 10–7–3
Major wins
Blue Grass Stakes (1938)
Kenner Stakes (1938)
Widener Handicap (1939)
Leading sire in North America
(1947, 1948, 1949, 1952, 1953)
Leading broodmare sire in North America
(1958, 1959, 1960, 1961)

Bull Lea (March 11, 1935 – June 16, 1964) was an American Thoroughbred racehorse who is best known as the foundation sire responsible for making Calumet Farm one of the most successful racing stables in American history. In their article on Calumet Farm, the International Museum of the Horse in Lexington, Kentucky wrote that Bull Lea was "one of the greatest sires in Thoroughbred breeding history."[2]


Bred by E. Dale Schaffer's Coldstream Stud in Lexington, Kentucky, Bull Lea was sired by Bull Dog and out of the mare Rose Leaves by Ballot. He was purchased as a yearling for $14,000 by Calumet Farm's Warren Wright, Sr. and sent to race at age two under trainer Frank J. Kearns.[3]

Racing career[edit]

Bull Lea make nine starts at age two, earning two wins, two seconds and two third-place finishes. The highlights were his runner-up performances in both the 1937 Hopeful and Champagne Stakes, two important races for his age group.[1]

At age three, Bull Lea recorded seven wins from sixteen starts. He set a new Keeneland Race Course record for nine furlongs in winning the 1938 Blue Grass Stakes. Made a 3:1 second choice by bettors for the Kentucky Derby, he finished eighth and then ran sixth in the Preakness Stakes.

The following year, the four-year-old's most important win came in the Widener Handicap.

Stud record[edit]

Grave of Bull Lea at Calumet Farm, surrounded by the graves of racehorses he sired; those of Hill Gail and Iron Liege are visible in the foreground.

Bull Lea entered stud in 1940 at Calumet Farm's operation in Lexington, Kentucky. He was the Leading sire in North America for 1947, 1948, 1949, 1952 and 1953. He also was Leading broodmare sire from 1958 to 1961.[3] He was also the first sire in the history of American Thoroughbred horse racing to have offspring with earnings of more than $1 million in a single season.

Bull Lea sired fifty-eight stakes winners, seven of which are Hall of Fame members. His progeny includes:

Damsire of:

Grandsire of:

Bull Lea died on June 16, 1964 at Calumet Farm and is buried there with a statue overlooking his grave.


Pedigree of Bull Lea, 1935[5]
Bull Dog
Teddy Ajax Flying Fox
Rondeau Bay Ronald
Plucky Liege Spearmint Carbine
Maid of the Mint
Concertina St. Simon
Comic Song
Rose Leaves
Ballot Voter Friar's Balsam
Cerito Lowland Chief
Merry Dance
Colonial Trenton Musket
Thankful Blossom Paradox
The Apple (family 9-f)[6]


  1. ^ a b "Profile of Bull Lea". www.equibase.com. Retrieved 22 August 2020.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-08-10.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ a b "Bull Lea (horse)". American Classic Pedigrees. Retrieved 22 August 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d Leicester, Charles (1969). Bloodstock Breeding. London: J.A. Allen & Co.
  5. ^ "Pedigree of Bull Lea". Equineline. Retrieved 22 August 2020.
  6. ^ "Thoroughbred Bloodlines - Toxophilite Mare - Family 9-f". www.bloodlines.net. Retrieved 22 August 2020.


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