To trace the evolution of thoroughbred breeding and racing in 19th century Ontario, one must acquaint themselves with the two pioneers from Halton Township, the White brothers — James, the horseman, and his noted brother, John, a lumber merchant and a fiery politician — and two of their horses, Yellow Rose and Terror. The history of the Queen’s Plate would not be complete without recognizing their efforts. For more than three decades it was the influence of their incredibly successful chestnut broodmare, Yellow Rose, along with the stallion who dominated the breeding sheds of the province, Terror.
Foaled in Virginia in 1837, Yellow Rose was imported by E.C. Jones of Toronto in the early 1850s and was sold to the Whites. Her third foal was Don Juan, first winner of the Queen’s Plate in 1860. In 1867, the year of Confederation, Wild Rose, a 6-year-old chestnut mare out of White’s foundation mare, won the Plate at St. Catharines. It was only the beginning of the dynasty Yellow Rose and her daughters and granddaughters would create during the next three decades. One of her daughters, Liberty, was the dam of Plate winners Palermo (1862) and Touchstone (1863). Granddaughters Lizzie Wright (Amelia, 1877, and Moss Rose, 1879) and Stolen Kisses (Vice Chancellor, 1881, and Wild Rose, 1886) also each produced two Plate winners. Between 1860 and 1886, Yellow Rose appeared in the pedigree of eight Plate winners, a feat no mare has come close to equaling since.
The heralded Terror was the overwhelming favorite for the 1870 Plate race at Whitby. However, the two-mile distance wasn’t to his liking and he finished fourth. A year earlier, at age two, he had performed stud duties when he bred Liberty to produce Lizzie Wright, the dam of two Plate winners. In the ensuing years Terror’s services were in demand. He was considered the finest provincial-bred of that era and had won a silver medal as the best thoroughbred at the 1876 World Exposition in Philadelphia. His Plate winners included Vice Chancellor, Fanny Wiser, Williams and Victorious, which gave Joseph Seagram his first Plate winner in 1891. Another of Terror’s daughters, Annie D., was the dam of 1903 Plate champion Thessalon for Barrie lumber merchant Nathaniel Dyment. Thus Terror’s name appears in the pedigree of seven Plate winners, one less than Yellow Rose.