Kayak II
Charles S. Howard's  South American record breaker.
Kayak II. (American Stock)
1935 Congreve-Mosquita, by Your Majesty


Click photos to enlarge




Four of the 16 runners
 that raced in the $137,200 1939 Santa Anita Handicap
make the turn for home. (clockwise from top: Charles S. Howard's KAYAK II, Louis B. Mayer's MAIN MAN, A.C.T. Stock Farm's WHICHCEE
and Silver State Stable's SPECIFY.)
The $91,100 winner's share was taken home by Kayak II, jockey John Adams up, in new track record time of 2:01 2/5 for the mile & one-quarter. Finishing second was Whichcee followed by Main Man and Specify respectively.


My sincere thanks to Craig Wheeler for the extraordinary photo and to
The History of Thoroughbred Racing in America 
by William Robertson
for permission to excerpt this article that we may re-live the moment.


By 1939 residents  had become so proud of a native-bred horse
 that when he appeared on a track they began singing "Challedon, My Challedon" to the tune of "Maryland, My Maryland." The repetitiousness of the refrain was appropriate,
 for the colt was elected Horse of the Year twice in succession. However, before Challedon attained his exalted statue,
 there was a lot of groundwork to be done.

South America nearly took it away in 1939
before Maryland made a move, as the sensation of the winter season
was a colt who proved to be a more than adequate substitute for none other than the great Seabiscuit himself.
Imported from Argentina by C. S. Howard, Kayak II had been foaled in August, in accordance with the system that prevails south of the Equator,
 where seasons and the universal birthday are opposite to those in the northern hemisphere. Hence he was six months "behind his age" in the United States,
but despite his disadvantage the smooth-running brown colt won five races
as a "two and a half year old" racing against threes;
they were not such as to cause any fanfare, however, and at the end of 1938 Kayak II was assigned only 110 pounds for the next year's
Santa Anita Handicap.

When he glided to a new track record
winning the San Carlos Handicap at 1 1/16 miles in February,
under identical weight, it appeared that Howard had the proverbial lock on the big one two weeks later. Such proved to be the case.
Although Seabiscuit, (who would have had to carry 134 pounds) was withdrawn, Kayak II, John Adams up, romped to another new track record, 2:01 2/5.

Efforts were made to lure the South American to Mexico,
and to the East, but he remained in California until the Hollywood Park meeting.
The latter track, which had opened the previous year amidst dire predictions that it would never go (summer racing in Southern California was incongruous--two much competition from the beaches and other resort activity), had prospered,
taking its place immediately among the national leaders in purse distribution.
Kayak II duplicated his crosstown performance by winning two stakes at Hollywood,
the American Handicap and the Gold Cup, both in new track record time,
carrying a respectable 125 pounds in the latter.

He was easily the richest horse
in the country when he finally was shipped to the opposite coast,
where he was to meet Challedon.