family started with a fast and powerful pacer called pacing Pilot,
Canadian Pilot, old Pilot or just Pilot. He was a black horse of
Canadian origin described as a horse with rather heavy and long body
with a heavy mane and tail and of ugly temper. Pilot was very vicious
and he also was a bad puller.
A man named Joseph Battell spent many
hours trying to track down Pilot to his origin and came up with
following, taken from John Hervey's book "The American Trotter": "Bred
by Louis Dansereau in the province of Quebec and foaled 1823. Sire
unknown; dam Jeanne d'Arc, by Voyageur."
At the age of six Pilot was brought to Montreal and sold. In the spring
of 1831 old pacing Pilot appeared in New Orleans where the word soon was
spread that he was a very fast pacer. In fact, he was so fast that no
one ever dared to race against him in New Orleans. Pilot moved on to
Kentucky where he was used for stud service. But it was through his son,
Pilot Jr., this line was to gain fame. And although Pilot sired mostly
pacers, Pilot Jr. was a trotter.
Pilot Jr. was a grey stallion foaled in 1844, bred by a man named
Lugereau or Augereau Gray but foaled the property of John T. Gray,
Graybolt, Jefferson Co., Kentucky. Got by pacing Pilot; dam Nancy Pope
by Funk's Havoc, (son of Sir Charles out of a mare by Chanticleer; 2nd
dam Camilla by Symme's Wildair); 2nd dam Nancy Taylor by Craig's Alfred,
son of imported Medley.
Nancy Taylor was a fast pacer and in 1831 she was bred to the farm
stallion Havoc and in 1832 she produced a filly that was more coarse in
her appearance than her dam. This was Nancy Pope.
In 1843 Nancy Pope was bred to old Pilot and while carrying the foal,
she was sold to John T. Gray. Both Nancy Taylor and Nancy Pope were
elegant grey saddle mares, obviously with a great deal of Thoroughbred
blood. It was from this side of the family that Pilot Jr. got his color,
which many horses from this family was to carry.
At the age of four Pilot Jr. was sold to D. Heinsohn, Louisville,
Kentucky and soon afterward to R.A. Alexander, Spring Station, Kentucky.
And Pilot Jr. was a great sire of his time. He sired eight offspring
that trotted records of 2:30 or better and this was in or before 1860!
This was a result no other sire could live up to.
Pilot Jr. himself was a good-gaited trotter and he sired many trotters
and a few pacers. He got some sons that in turn sired some good trotters
and pacers but it was through his daughters that Pilot Jr. was to be
The first trotter to trot 2:10 was Jay-Eye-See and his dam, Midnight,
was by Pilot Jr.
The first to beat 2:10 was Maud S. and her dam, Miss Russell, was also
by Pilot Jr. And the fact that this was a family of trotters, you can
tell by the number of standard performers that were trotters. There
where forty standard performers produced by daughters of Pilot Jr. and
thirty-seven of them were trotters.
Most noted of the Pilot Jr.-daughters are Miss Russell, Midnight,
Waterwitch and Tackey. Miss Russell is credited with seven foals in the
2:30 list, while Midnight produced three foals with trotting records
from 2:10 to 2:20 1/2. Waterwitch is the dam of six trotters with
records of 2:30 or better.
Tackey was the fastest daughter of Pilot Jr. with a record of 2:26 and
mated with Happy Medium, she produced Pilot Medium. Pilot Medium in turn
sired Peter the Great. Tackey also produced at least three foals with
records better than 2:30.
Pilot Jr. died April 14, 1865, at Montgomery, Kane Co., Illinois,
where he had been sent when the war began to make itself felt. In Dwight
Akers' book "Drivers Up" you can read that "as a family the Pilot Jrs.
were stubborn and capricious, hard to train and hard to manage, but they
had speed and unconquerable courage".