Rivers of Gold – excerpts: part 10

(Not dissimilar to the actual writing of a book, this blog appears to be setting its own course:  part excerpts, and part diary of long-distance writing.  For me its like watching a home movie as I recall various turning points along the trail.  For the most part, at each juncture, there is a horse beckoning me off in a new direction.  In this instance, it was Nearco, sire of Nearctic, grandsire of Northern Dancer.  The importance of Nearco in the story of the Thoroughbred is colossal.  Hence I found myself reading everything written by, and about, his owner/breeder, Federico Tesio.)

Rivers of Gold

“… Mendel’s work would become integral to Tesio’s life-long passion and commitment to the creation of champion Thoroughbreds.  In his book, “Breeding the Thoroughbred racehorse,” Tesio writes:

“Mendel had had experimented with two varieties of peas, a tall and a dwarf variety. Crossng the tall peas with the dwarfs he had obtained hybrids.  These hybrids were not medium-sized, as one might have expected, but tall.  These tall hybrids, in turn, when crossed with each other, had produced tall plants and dwarfs in proportion of three tall ones to one dwarf.  In other words, nature had a tendency to return their breeds to their original pure state.

“Mendel gave a clear explanation of this interesting fact. To me is was a revelation.  I had finally understood why two thoroughbred horses, although born of the same sire and dam, in other words, full brothers, may turn out to be the one a chestnut and a great runner, the other a bay and a mediocre performer, although both are equally well built and without apparent faults.


“The reason is that the horse, which in Italy we call “purosangue,” is actually anything but “pureblooded.”  He is, in fact, a hybrid and as a hybrid he must follow the law of Mendel.”

…to be continued

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