As a race horse, Congaree delivered the mail: winning five Grade I stakes from 7 furlongs to 11/4 miles.
He's still delivering, both as a stud -- and as a U. S. postage stamp.
Congaree's serene and handsome face, along with his name, appears on a 39-cent stamp: the idea of Janice McNair, who with her husband, Robert McNair, owns Stonerside Stable of Paris.
The stamp goes on mail sent out by the farm in Paris on occasions when an envelope calls for something more personal than the usual metered stamp.
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According to David Sorrell, business manager of Stonerside, Janice McNair got the idea for a Congaree stamp after receiving a Christmas card bearing a stamp that was a portrait of a friend's family.
McNair went to www.stamps.com and downloaded a photo of Congaree onto the stamp template provided.
"She called us (from their home in Houston) and said we could use these for more personal things (than regular business mail), so she sent a bunch of them up here," Sorrell said.
Thus it can be said that neither rain nor sleet nor snow ... keeps Congaree from his appointed rounds. Standing at stud at Adena Springs Kentucky, his first mares sold in a November sale averaged $94,625.
Anyone can design their own U. S. postage stamps by going to stamps.com, official Web site of the U. S. Postal Service. The price of a 39-cent stamp becomes about 89 cents if you make your own. But imagine if every Kentucky horse-breeding farm put its stallions on stamps.
"It would be good for promoting our business," Sorrell said, "especially with the World Equestrian Games coming up."
Two for the price of one
Twin foals are a rarity in racing, because veterinarians have the technology for eliminating all but one embryo early in a mare's pregnancy.
But the rarest of rarities occurred this past week when twin thoroughbreds -- owned by human twins -- raced at Santa Anita. Named Kaylasrocketdancer and Kyles Rocketdancer, they finished off the board.
As twins, these two have big horseshoes to fill: the granddam of 1980 Horse of the Year Spectacular Bid, named Stop On Red, actually was a twin. So you cannot say that twin thoroughbreds don't amount to anything.
Still, you don't see too many. Horsemen do not want twins. Usually, they are not as strong or as large as a single foal.
The birth rate of twins has been said to be 1 or 2 percent of the thoroughbred population. According to The Jockey Club, the average number of twins born from 2000 through 2005 was six sets per foal crop.
A look back in my files showed some interesting multiple-conception stories. One, dated 1906, reported the broodmare Swag aborting four filly foals six weeks before full term.
In 1995 at Stampede Park in Calgary, twin fillies made their maiden starts in the same race: which, according to the Blood-Horse, was the first time that twins raced against each other in a parimutuel race in North America.
Last year, according to The Jockey Club, twin thoroughbreds raced in consecutive races at Will Rogers Downs in Claremore, Okla. Their names: Tell Slick and Tell Slick Again.
The Jockey Club also reports that 14 thoroughbreds from 36 sets of twins registered between 2000 and 2005 have competed in a race. Five were winners.
's trainer, Michael Matz, has been named recipient of the Louisville Thoroughbred Club's Courage, Spirit, & Triumph Award.
Matz will receive his award at the club's 8th annual Kentucky Derby Preview Party April 28 at the Kentucky Derby Museum. Tickets are $75. Contact the club at (502) 394-0198 or email@example.com.
Hall of Fame trainer MacKenzie Miller will sign copies of his biography, The Gentleman Trainer from Morgan Street, by Jonelle Fisher, from 5 to 7 p.m. March 30 at the Thoroughbred Club of America on Rice Road. For information (and to R.S.V.P.) phone (859) 254-4282.
Maryjean Wall covers horse racing for the Herald-Leader. This article may contain her opinions and observations. She can be reached at 859-231-3231 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.