On 10 Aug 2012, Planet was inducted into the National Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, New York. The award was accepted by Sarah Wright of Ashland, the great-granddaughter of Planet's owner, Maj. Thomas Doswell. The article, which appeared in the Official Guide, is reprinted here.
Planet was one of the most spectacular American racehorses in the years leading up to the Civil War. Foaled in [Hanover County] Virginia at Maj. Thomas Doswell's Bluefield Stable in 1855, Planet was sired by Revenue out of the Boston mare Nina. Planet was a sensation from the start. He made his debut with a victory over four others in mile heats for a purse of $10,070 in Fairfield, Va. in May 1858, and went on to establish a record for career purse earnings that stood for twenty years.
Turf writer John Hervey described Planet as "a rich chestnut, 15.2½ hands tall, he was remarkable for his symmetry of mould and the excellence of his limbs."
Planet displayed his remarkable skill and versatility by compiling a record of 27-4-0 from 31 starts and earning $69,700. Known as "The Great Red Fox," Planet was regarded by many turf experts to be second only to the mighty Lexington among the greatest American racehorses prior to the Civil War.
Carrying Bullfield's famed orange silks and trained by N.B. Young, Planet won at a variety of distances in Virginia, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, and Louisiana. He also traveled to New York where he won a $20,000 sweepstakes in September 1860 at the Fashion Course on Long Island. Racing from age three to six, Planet defeated many of the top horses of his era, including Daniel Boone, Congaree, Socks, and Arthur Macon.
Planet was retired to stud at Bullfield in 1861. The Civil War and its aftermath curtailed racing in the South and interrupted several years of Planet's career as a stallion. During those years, Planet and many of the other Bullfield horses were hidden in the woods to protect them from Yankee marauders.
In 1868, Doswell sold Planet to R.A. Alexander of Woodburn Farm in Kentucky, where he resided until his death at the age of 20 in 18751
Planet joins Secretariat, another famous product of the Doswell area, among the elite 93 horses in the Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame, a roster that includes Man o' War, Whirlaway, War Admiral, Seabiscuit, Seattle Slew, and Riva Ridge. Planet is one of only four horses in the Hall of Fame born before the Civil War; the others are Lexington (1850), Sir Archy (1805) and Kentucky (1861).2
1Bouyea, Brien. "Planet," Guide to the Official National Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame, 2012-13: 54-55.
2Glassner, Greg. Herald-Progress, 23 Aug 2012.