Nelson Bunker Hunt’s Youth is led out ahead of the 1976 $150,000 Washington D.C., International, which he won to become the first Maryland-bred in the 25-year history of the race to do so.

Bred and owned by billionaire Nelson Bunker Hunt, Youth was named champion 3-year-old in his adopted country of France and returned across the Atlantic to race twice and win both, one in Canada and one in Maryland, to earn the Eclipse Award as champion turf horse in 1976. 

The “incidental Maryland-bred,” Youth was a son of Horse of the Year Ack Ack foaled at Windfields Farm in Chesapeake City when his dam *Gazala II, a young daughter of Kentucky Derby winner Dark Star and a champion in France, was sent to the court of Northern Dancer. Within a few months the colt and his dam were back in Kentucky, and a year later he was shipped to France. Trained Maurice Zilber, he made a total of 11 starts over two seasons, the majority in France.

Youth’s first five starts were at Longchamp. Winner of his debut at 2, he finished second in the Prix Saint Roman-G3 that fall (to Northern Dancer’s son Far North) and was put away until the next spring. 

Youth was spectacular at 3, winning four group stakes in succession: the Group 2 Prix Greffulhe at 1 5/16 miles over soft turf, the Group 2 Prix Daru at 1 5/16 miles by 4 lengths, the Group 1 Prix Lupin (over Arctic Tern and Empery going 1 5/16 miles) and the classic Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club (the French Derby) at Chantilly at 1 1/2 miles, and effectively sealing the championship title. That Septem­ber he won again at Long­champ, taking the Group 3 Prix Niel, before contesting one of Europe’s supreme tests, the Group 1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, in which he finished third.

His two North American starts, both Grade 1s, came over a span of two weeks that fall. He dominated Woodbine’s 1 5/8-mile Canadian International Championship by 4 lengths, with a chart comment “as rider pleased.” His only start in Maryland was the 1 1/2-mile Washington, D.C., International at Laurel and he charged home a 10-length winner while Ivanjica, his conqueror in the Arc, was third.

In addition to his international honors he was also named that year’s Maryland-bred Horse of the Year, champion turf runner and champion 3-year-old male. His earnings of $687,224 placed him second on the list of richest Maryland-bred runners, and he had by far the fewest number of starts. The leading earner, Find at the time, started 110 times.

Youth was immediately retired to Gainesway Farm in Kentucky after the D.C., International. The best of his 18 stakes winners was English Derby-winning son Teenoso, and he was the broodmare sire of nearly 40 stakes winners. Youth was eventually was sold to stand in Brazil.

Youth's Race Record

Age Year Starts 1sts   2nds   3rds   Earnings
2 1975 2 1   1 (1)  0   $18,354
3 1976 9 7 (7) 0   1 (1)  $697,792
Totals   11 8 (7) 1 (1) 1 (1) $716,146


In January 2013 the Maryland Horse Breeders Association (MHBA) and the Maryland Racing Media Association (MRMA) began collaborating on plans for a hall of fame to illuminate the accomplishments of Maryland-bred Thoroughbreds.