Alfred G. Vanderbilt’s Social Outcast was considered one of racing’s greatest geldings when he made his final start in March 1956. Ranked among the nation’s best handicap horses of 1955 when finishing fourth or better in 18 stakes from 22 starts, his career of 58 starts spanned five seasons.
He won a dozen stakes and retired with earnings of $668,300, which placed him seventh on the world’s all-time leading money-winners list at the time and second-richest gelding, behind only Armed. For two years he reigned as the all-time richest Maryland-bred, a title taken away by his stablemate and fellow Maryland-bred Thoroughbred Hall of Fame inductee Find.
Social Outcast was from the celebrated Sagamore Farm crop of 1950 that included Kentucky-bred Native Dancer and Find. A chestnut son of Shut Out and the Sagamore homebred Pansy, by *Sickle, Social Outcast’s career started promisingly when he won first time out at 2 at Santa Anita as the 3-4 favorite on Feb. 28, 1952, defeating 13 others. Later that year he was a stakes winner when awarded the victory in the Remsen at Jamaica via disqualification.
However, Social Outcast ran in the shadow of Native Dancer his first two years at the track and was primarily a workmate for his illustrious stablemate.
Social Outcast ran in the Kentucky Derby, finishing seventh as Native Dancer’s entrymate, and was winless in eight other starts at 3 through May, then missed more than a year because of bad knees. During his recovery he was gelded, and he returned to the races two months before Native Dancer was forced to retire.
Social Outcast made a name for himself from June 1954 through March 1956, proving durable and consistent in 49 trips to the post while racing coast-to-coast and making his mark as one of the country’s best distance horses. His wins at 4 included the Whitney and Gallant Fox Handicaps in New York, the latter at 1 5/8 miles.
Trained throughout his career by Bill Winfrey, Social Outcast started the 1955 season in Florida at Hialeah and went on to win seven stakes at seven tracks - at Hialeah, Bowie (a hard-fought victory over Fisherman in the second running of the John B. Campbell Memorial in track record time of 1:42.60 for 1 1/16 miles), Lincoln Downs in Rhode Island, Hollywood Park (a track record for 1 5/8 miles in the Sunset Handicap), Saratoga, Belmont Park and Garden State (his third track record-setting performance of the year in the Trenton Handicap) before finishing his season in Maryland. He ran third in the Washington, D.C., International, his only stakes performance on the grass, as well as in the Pimlico Special. His earnings of $390,775 were the most ever in a single season for a horse older than 3.
Joe Hickey wrote about the chestnut gelding’s accomplishments in the September 1955 The Maryland Horse: “MR. MONEYBAGS. . . In the course of the past year these pages have chronicled the career of Social Outcast in seemingly serialized form. Hardly a month goes by that Alfred G. Vanderbilt’s good Shut Out gelding does not perform some noteworthy feat to keep his prowess constantly in the public’s eye.”
Early in 1956 Social Outcast recorded three seconds, all stakes at Hialeah, before being sidelined with a fractured cannon bone. In training for a summer comeback the following year at Del Mar, he severely strained ligaments and muscles in his left hind leg in a workout on the beach and was retired.
The gelding lived out his days at Sagamore Farm, making occasional public appearances at the local tracks, including the day he was honored at Laurel Park in 1964. He was put down in October 1969 at the age of 19 when aggravating a hip injury, and was buried in the farm’s graveyard alongside other Sagamore greats.