Whirlaway (April 2, 1938 – April 6, 1953) was an American champion thoroughbred racehorse. The chestnut horse was sired by English Derby winner Blenheim….which was out of the broodmare Dustwhirl….and was bred at Calumet Farm in Lexington, Kentucky….while being trained by Ben A. Jones and ridden by Eddie Arcaro,…as Whirlaway won the U.S. Triple Crown in 1941….as seen in this video herewith. Whirlaway was widely known as “Mr. Longtail” because his tail was especially long and thick…which would blow far out behind him during races, flowing dramatically in the wind.
He was voted the American Champion Two-Year-Old Colt in 1940 by Turf & Sports Digest magazine…with te rival Daily Racing Form award being won by Our Boots….as he also won the Lawrence Realization Stakes and the Travers Stakes that year…for Whirlaway is the only horse ever to win both the Triple Crown and the Travers still today in 2019….for which he was voted the Horse of the Year in 1941 by beating Alsab by 96 votes to 91 in a poll conducted by the Turf and Sport Digest magazine. A year later, Whirlaway repeated his win in the poll by again beating Alsab with 76 votes to his rival’s 45.
Eddie Arcaro was the sole rider for Whirlaway in all of his 3-year-old victories…but dismounted for most of the 1942 season….when he served a long suspension for racing infractions…so jockey George Woolf took the reins for the majority of the 1942 season. In a major upset on July 4, 1942 at Empire City Race Track, Whirlaway ran second to Tola Rose….who easily won by four lengths in track record time….and Whirlaway and Alsab continued their 1941 rivalry through 1942. On September 19, 1942, Alsab defeated the Triple Crown champion in a match race at Narragansett Park in Pawtucket, Rhode Island….although Whirlaway closed strongly through the stretch, Alsab lasted by a nose as both horses flew home through the stretch run. Whirlaway was named Horse of the Year for 1942 after defeating Alsab in a subsequent race and having 12 wins for the year to Alsab‘s 9.
Woolf, who had previously won the Pimlico Special in 1938 on Seabiscuit and in 1940 on Challedon, rode the 1941 Triple Crown winner at a leisurely pace during the 1942 Pimlico Special in a walkover victory. No opponent had been found to challenge Whirlaway for the race. On December 12, more than twenty thousand people turned out to watch Whirlaway win the inaugural Louisiana Handicap…. as the newly formed Thoroughbred Racing Association staged this event as a war-relief effort.
Whirlaway was elected to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1959. In The Blood-Horse magazine’s ranking of the top 100 U.S. thoroughbred champions of the 20th century….the great Whirlaway was # 26….and today in 2019, Whirlaway has a race named in his honor at Saratoga Race Course.