Henry Stull (Canadian/American, 1851–1913)
ORNAMENT WITH TODD SLOAN UP
Oil on canvas, 25” x 30”
Signed, dated, 1898
Kennedy Galleries, New York
Brighton Handicap, the Himyar Stakes, and eight more races. Ornament recorded 20 wins from 32 starts, earning nearly $90,000 and only finishing out of the money three times. He was the best 2-year-old of his year, the 1897 champion 3-year-old, and at 4 was voted the best horse of the all-aged divisions.
Ornament retired to stud at the familiar fields of Beaumont Farm in 1900. His retirement from the track did not mark the end of his usefulness for the Headley family, Ornament became an established sire and his progeny went on to have significant careers on the turf. Hal Pettit’s son, Hal Price, was watching and learning from his father and at an early age was on his way to becoming one of the greatest horsemen that the turf has ever known.
In 1904, at age 16, Hal Price Headley set out alone, loaded Ornament and a string of other Beaumont home breds onto a train, and entered his horses in the stock show at the Saint Louis World’s Fair. He stepped onto the country’s biggest stage and by the end of the show he had collected nearly every prize that the fair had to offer for Thoroughbred horses. Ornament took the top honor for Thoroughbreds at the fair, the Premier Championship Title. By the close of the Saint Louis World’s Fair, Headley had collected the top prize for Thoroughbreds in 12 of 19 categories, earning the budding turfman $3,535.58 in prize money — the modern equivalent of nearly $100,000.
When Ornament passed in 1916, he was buried at his birthplace on Beaumont Farm. His gravestone is on a portion of the farm that is now part of Lexington’s South Creek Park and his headstone is still there, marking the resting place of one of the greatest horses of an era.
The Thoroughbred Record reported the champion’s death in 1916, and the article rings with sincere emotion at the loss of the great champion. “He was retired absolutely sound and at stud his success was such that he occupied a prominent place on the Twenty List from the time his get were three-year-olds in 1903, until he was taken out of active service. Beautifully bred, endowed with extreme speed, possession of a matchless constitution and courage, capable of carrying any weight and winning at any distance over any kind of a track. Ornament embodied every requisite that goes to make the thoroughbred what he is and for which he is accorded pride of place over the horses of all other breeds.” Thoroughbred Record, Vol. 83–84, 1916