Although a stallion's success at stud is usually defined by statistics, his
true legacy carries far deeper than mere numbers. Halo, one of only 18 stallions
in history to sire more than one Derby winner, certainly has impressive
statistics, but to Stone Farm, Halo represents more than sheer numbers. Halo
meant the world to Stone Farm, partly because he gave Stone Farm 1989 Horse of
the Year Sunday Silence.
A high-class racehorse and G1 winner, Halo also had a strong female family
and pedigree. His dam, Cosmah, produced four stakes winners, including Champion
Tosmah, and was named Broodmare of the Year in 1974. Halo's half-sister Queen
Sucree produced 1974 Kentucky Derby winner Cannonade, and his second dam,
Almahmoud, was also the second dam of legendary sire Northern Dancer. Halo's
sire, Hail to Reason, was the Champion 2-year-old Colt of 1960, but was even
better in the breeding shed than on the racetrack. He sired four classic
winners, including Kentucky Derby winner Proud Clarion and Epsom Derby winner
Roberto. His influence is still widely felt in pedigrees today.
Born in 1969, bred by John Gaines, and raced by Mrs. Charles W. Engelhard,
Halo was switched from dirt to grass late in his sophomore season and discovered
his niche. He notched nine wins from 31 starts and earned over a quarter of a
million dollars, with his most important win coming in the 1974 United Nations
H.-G1. Halo nearly went to stud in England but, fortunately for this country,
was discovered to be a cribber and was rejected.
Although most of his stallion career was spent at Stone Farm, Halo originally
entered stud in 1975 at Windfields in Maryland where his first crop yielded
Glorious Song, the Canadian Horse of the Year. Subsequent champions included
Devil's Bag (full brother to Glorious Song), Sunny's Halo (winner of the 1983
Kentucky Derby-G1), and of course, Sunday Silence (Derby, Preakness S.-G1, and
Breeders' Cup Classic-G1 winner), who was conceived during Halo's second
breeding season at Stone Farm.
In all, Halo sired seven champions, 62 stakes winners, and led the leading sire
list twice in the 1980s. Standout runners sired by Halo included Goodbye Halo,
who counted the Kentucky Oaks among her seven G1 victories, Strodes Creek, who
was second in the 1994 Kentucky Derby and third in the Belmont S.-G1, and
millionaire Lively One, whose long list of accomplishments included the Swaps
S.-G1. Halo's progeny earned over $44 million on the racetrack and have netted
far more in the breeding shed.
In 1984, Texas oilman Tom Tatham purchased 25 of the 40 shares in Halo's
syndicate and moved the stallion to Kentucky to stand at Stone Farm. While at
Stone Farm, Halo sired Sunday Silence, the defining horse who will carry on his
legacy. Sunday Silence is known as the "Northern Dancer of Japan" and has become
the top sire in history in that country.
Today, other sons of Halo, including Saint Ballado and Southern Halo, are
commanding prestige in the breeding sheds as well. As a broodmare sire, Halo is
equally sensational, with daughters or granddaughters producing champions
Victory Gallop, Machiavellian, Singspiel, and Coup de Genie; classic winners
Fusaichi Pegasus and Pine Bluff; and sires such as Rahy and Silver Ghost.
Pensioned from stud duty in 1997, Halo passed away at the age of 31 late in
2000. "You have to rejoice that Halo lived to be almost 32," Arthur B. Hancock
III, owner of Stone Farm, told The Blood-Horse at the time. "We were so
grateful to have had him."