Today we continue our exploration of the wonderful old book “Cherry and Black: The Career of Mr. Pierre Lorillard on the Turf,” by W. S. Vosburgh, printed in 1916. In it, a visitor (presumably Vosburgh) details a trip to Rancocas Stud in Jobstown, N. J., where Lorillard established his 1,500- acre thoroughbred nursery, as well as chronicles the racetrack exploits of Lorillard’s stable.
Among the following passages, the author describes the stallion Mortemer, a grand French stayer who came to the United States at age 15 after a successful stud career in France, and stood at Rancocas until he was 21. He was moved to nearby Brookdale Stud before his death in June, 1891. You can read more about Mortemer here:
From "Cherry and Black":
On a slight elevation facing the south stands a huge glass house, a crystal palace which but for its height might be mistaken for a greenhouse. It is the "Playhouse" in Rancocasan vernacular— a sort of kindergarten, where the weanlings are turned out during the winter. It is not used until the frost sets in, but the weanlings had been kept in this morning to afford us an opportunity for close inspection before they were turned loose in the paddock.
This mammoth glass building is 350 feet in length by 250 in width. The floor is covered with sand which never freezes and allows the youngsters full scope to play and romp during the coldest days in winter.
As the door is opened the sight is bewildering. Thirty-three colts and fillies are at play, mostly Mortemers and mostly chestnuts. They were but recently weaned, and the brown mare Hildegarde was still with her foal, a brown filly foaled late in June. It is difficult to form an opinion in such a constantly moving throng, but a chestnut colt from Highland Lassie was among the most forward—"an early foal— Feb. 18," we are told.
The French racehorse and stallion Mortemer (http://www.antonioraimogalleries.com/shop/raimo/5523.html)
Mortemer was standing like a statue in his yard. There is something impressive in the personnel of "the mighty Frenchman." Massive, stately and imperious, he looks a king among horses. A deep red chestnut with a narrow, divided blaze, he stands 16.2 h, measures 73 inches girth; his arm at the swell, 19 inches; below the knee, 8 inches. His shoulder-blade is 32 inches in length; and from hip to hock he measures 42 inches. His off forefoot has given them some trouble, otherwise he carries his age well and is as gentle as a dog. In his first season here he had 40 foals from the 46 mares with which he was mated.