A Crown of Lilies for Princess Doreen

January 31, 2023

Princess Doreen winning a race with Harry Stutts in the irons. (Courtesy of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame)

By Maribeth Kalinich

Sired by a Prince and born of a Lady, Princess Doreen had anything but a regal start to her racing career failing to score in her first five starts.

“Her Highness’” first stakes victory didn’t come with a flourish. It came because of a fluke when apparent winner Glide was disqualified for interference as the 1924 Kentucky Oaks queen. However, it was the Oaks that gave Princess Doreen her crown of lilies and, apparently, the wings of Pegasus. 

From there, the Princess developed into one of the great racemares in American history, beating males repeatedly and winning under weights of up to 133 pounds for her four-year career.

Bred in Kentucky at Hamburg Place by the legendary John E. Madden, Princess Doreen was a bay daughter of Spanish Prince out of the Ogden mare Lady Doreen. 

Spanish Prince, was a British horse who won several major sprint races between 1910 and 1913 including the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot and two editions of the July Cup.

Spanish Prince, whose sire was inelegantly named “Ugly,” did not inherit his sire’s physical features reflecting his moniker—”his ugly lop ears.” It’s unsure if his owner, Lord Wolverton, or his breeder dubbed him so. 
Ugly was bred by the Duke of Hamilton, the same person who received the horse Preakness who was sent to England in 1875. The son of Lexington was the winner of the Dinner Party Stakes at Pimlico, the first stakes at the historic track opening day October 25, 1870, and for whom the middle jewel of the Triple Crown is named. 
Preakness was sold to the Duke as a breeding stock. Whether one believes it was Preakness’ temper as an older horse or the Duke’s long notorious disposition and reportedly being unsatisfied with the stallion after a breeding session, Hamilton shot and killed the champion Thoroughbred after leaving the shed. The incident caused public outcry precipitating a reform in English law which governed handling of animals.

Purchased from Madden by Oklahoma oilmen B. B. Jones and Monfort Jones, Princess Doreen ran under their Virginia-based Audley Farm Stable’s colors.

The long-hipped filly was the first of two Kentucky Oaks winners owned by Audley Farms Stable. The other was 1928 victress Easter Stockings, the best runner sired by 1919 American Triple Crown winner and Horse of the Year Sir Barton. In fact, Princess Doreen’s dam, Lady Doreen, is a half-sister to Sir Barton 

Princess Doreen was trained by Kay Spence, a former jockey, who said Princess Doreen represented the pinnacle of his career.

Ridden in both the Kentucky Oaks and the Coaching Club American Oaks by Harry Stutts, she was the first filly to complete the Ky./CCA Oaks double. 

Princess Doreen with Jockey J. McTague in the saddle. (Courtesy of Keeneland Library Cook Collection)

In 1927, Princess Doreen retired as the greatest money-earning filly or mare of all time having $174,745 earned in 94 career starts. Breaking the previous record of $118,270 set by Miss Woodford in 1886, the tenacious mare’s record stood until surpassed by Top Flight in 1931.3

Oh, how she ran in those 94 starts. Alas, she would remain a bride’s maid as a juvenile with a second in the Fort Thomas at Latonia and a third in the Matron at Belmont.

But hold on to your hats for her as a sophomore, Ladies. You, too, boys. 

From her mid-3-year-old campaign in 1924 through 1926, Princess Doreen was regarded as one of the best, if not the best, runner in her division. As a 3-year-old, in addition to her double Oaks, she won the Labor Day, Covington, and Falls City Handicaps.

The program from the International Special, Series 1. (Wikipedia/Fair Use)

In 1924, Princess Doreen participated in what was called the International Special, a series of three Thoroughbred horse races held in Sept. 1, Labor Day, Series 1 at Belmont Park, Sept. 28 Series 2 at Aqueduct and Oct. 11 Series 3 at Latonia Race Track in Covington, Kentucky.

The series was called “International” because the French champion, Epinard, who was also a winner in England, was entered in all three races. 

Series 3, the leg in which Princess Doreen entered, offered a purse of $50,000 added, a very large stake in those days. The field, in order of post positions, was comprised of Epinard, Chilhowee, Sarazen, Little Chief, Altawood, My Play, Mad Play, and as the lone filly, Princess Doreen.

Sarazen was the victor winning a purse of $55,000, Epinard second, and Mad Play third. No mention of the rest of the order of finish.


  • Won Kentucky Oaks (USA, 9FD, Churchill Downs; by disqualification of Glide)
  • Won Coaching Club American Oaks (USA, 11FD, Belmont)
  • Won Labor Day Handicap (USA, 10FD, Hawthorne)
  • Won Covington Handicap (USA, 8.5FD, Latonia)
  • Won Falls City Handicaps (USA, 9FD, Churchill Down)
  • 2nd Latonia Oaks (USA, 10FD, Latonia)
  • 2nd Alabama Stakes (USA, 10FD, Saratoga)
  • 2nd Chicago Special (USA, 9.5FD, Hawthorne)
  • 2nd Prince George Handicap (USA, 9FD, Bowie)
  • 2nd G. D. Bryan Memorial Handicap (USA, 8FD, Bowie)1

Not shy for an encore, Princess Doreen followed up with an intrepid 4-year-old campaign. Princess Doreen enjoyed her best campaign in 1925, posting a record of 11-3-8 from 25 starts and earning $69,220. Under 130 pounds, she defeated males defending her Covington Handicap title and carrying 133 pounds scored against the boys in the Autumn Handicap. Princess Doreen also defeated the boys in the 1 1/2 miles Bowie Handicap that year. 

Princess Doren’s Sophmore Resume is eye-popping. 


  • Won Independence Handicap (USA, 9.5FD, Latonia)
  • Won Cincinnati Times-Star Handicap (USA, 8.5FD, Cincinnati)
  • Won Commercial Tribune Handicap (USA, 8.5FD, Cincinnati)
  • Won Western Hills Handicap (USA, 9.5FD, Cincinnati)
  • Won Cincinnati Enquirer Handicap (USA, 9FD, Cincinnati)
  • Won Covington Handicap (USA, 8.5FD, Latonia)
  • Won Autumn Handicap (USA, 6FD, Latonia)
  • Won Bowie Handicap (USA, 12FD, Pimlico)
  • 2nd Thanksgiving Handicap (USA, 9.5FD, Bowie)
  • 3rd Harford Handicap (USA, 6FD, Havre de Grace)
  • 3rd Grainger Memorial Handicap (USA, 10FD, Churchill Downs)
  • 3rd Inaugural Handicap (USA, 8.5FD, Latonia)
  • 3rd Enquirer Handicap (USA, 8.5FD, Latonia)
  • 3rd Flint Stone Memorial Handicap (USA, 8FD, Thistledown)
  • 3rd Chicago Special (USA, 9.5FD, Hawthorne)
  • 3rd Pimlico Cup Handicap (USA, 18FD, Pimlico)
  • 3rd G. D. Bryan Memorial Handicap (USA, 8FD, Bowie)1

In 1926, Princess Doreen easily won the Saratoga Handicap by four lengths and added a win in the Inaugural Handicap. She won the Greater Chicago Handicap and her second Independence Handicap in 1927 at the age of six and was retired with a record of 34-15-17 from 94 starts and the earnings mark of $174,745. 


  • Won Inaugural Handicap (USA, 8.5FD, Latonia)
  • Won Saratoga Handicap (USA, 10FD, Saratoga)
  • 2nd Grainger Memorial Handicap (USA, 10FD, Churchill Downs)
  • 2nd Independence Handicap (USA, 9.5FD, Latonia)
  • 3rd Saratoga Cup (USA, 14FD, Saratoga)
  • 3rd Bowie Handicap (USA, 12FD, Pimlico)
  • 3rd Pimlico Serial Weight-For-Age #3 (USA, 9FD, Pimlico)
  • 3rd Pimlico Cup Handicap (USA, 18FD, Pimlico)1


  • Won Independence Handicap (USA, 9.5FD, Latonia)
  • Won Greater Chicago Handicap (USA, 8.5FD, Hawthorne)
  • 2nd Hotel Statler Handicap (USA, 8.5FD, Fairmount Park)
  • 3rd Lincoln Handicap (USA, 10FD, Lincoln Fields)
  • 3rd Oak Park Handicap (USA, 8.5FD, Hawthorne)1

The daughter of a Spanish Prince was named American co-champion 3-year-old filly (1924) and American champion handicap female (1925, 1926)

Princess Doreen produced eight foals who all had starts with four scoring wins. Miss Doreen (1942) won the 1948 Santa Margarita Handicap. Sired by Pilate, she is the dam of 1954 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes and 1955 Everglades Stakes winner Prince Noor (by Noor) and of Noordeen (by Noor); dam of stakes winners Copying (by Warfare), Bold Noordeen (by Bold Reason) and Northern Flag (by Tom Rolfe). 

Carrying on the legacy, daughter Duchess Doreen (1943), also sired by Pilate, is the dam of multiple stakes winner Arracado (by Ajax), the second dam of multiple stakes winner Greta and the third dam of 1989 American champion turf female Brown Bess.1

After a long and robust career, Princess Doreen lived a long life and died at the age of 31 in 1952. She was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in 1982. 

‘Princess Doreen Drive’ in Lexington, Kentucky, is named in her honor.

Brought to you by Spendthrift Farm


Princess Doreen is profiled in Chapter 5 of Avalyn Hunter’s American Classic Pedigrees 1914-2002 (2003, Eclipse Press).

1: http://www.americanclassicpedigrees.com/princess-doreen.html
2: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Princess_Doreen
3: https://www.racingmuseum.org/hall-of-fame/horse/princess-doreen-ky

Contributing Authors

MariBeth Kalinich, Senior Editor, Past the Wire

Maribeth Kalinich, Senior Editor, Graphic Designer

Maribeth Kalinich grew up in a family with a love for horses, a passion for Thoroughbred horse racing and a taste for playing the ponies....

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