The Emerald Isle is known for its rolling hills, Celtic ballads and dark beer, but not necessarily for its barrel horses. Yet surprisingly, one of the greatest families of barrel horses began in Ireland. Many futurity, derby and open horses can trace their direct sire line back to a dark bay Thoroughbred stallion from the land of saints and scholars. His name was Leinster House.
Leinster House, foaled in 1973, was bred by Nicoll and named for the seat of the Oireachtas, the parliament of Ireland. He was by Manacle, a British sprinter that won eleven five-furlong races including the Spring Stakes at Newmarket and the Albemarle Stakes at Ascot. Manacle’s most notable get included multiple stakes winner Mendip Man and British Horse of the Year Moorestyle. Leinster House’s dam was an Irish bred mare named Dail Elith. She was by influential sire Tamerlane and out of Cheville. Dail Elith produced two other winners, My Chum and Tornado Prince, before being sold to Hungary. Although he was unfashionably bred, Leinster House had impeccable conformation and undeniable class.
He was brought to the United States and made his first start in a claiming race at Santa Anita in March of 1977. A few weeks later, Leinster House would win his first race at Hollywood Park and continue to improve. He won two allowance races before placing second in the Bing Crosby Handicap at Del Mar. He would later win the Aprisa Handicap and the Phoenix Gold Cup Handicap. One of his greatest accomplishments was setting a new track record going five and a half furlongs in 1:03.3 at Pomona. He also ran a quarter mile in :20.2, which is extremely fast for Thoroughbred racing. By the end of his five-year career, Leinster House made 46 starts, won nine races and earned $114,728, the equivalent of about $360,000 today.
Leinster House retired from racing in 1980. His owners, Roger Lasswell and Blane Schvaneveldt, stood him at Spencer Farms in Syracuse, Utah. His first foal crop hit the ground in 1981 and included race winners Leinster Lane and Lucky Leinster. His second crop included stakes winner Lanes Leinster. Bred by Frank and Yvonne Lane, Lanes Leinster won four races and earned $342,780 on the track. He went on to sire 186 ROM earners and fifteen stakes winners. His get earned over $1.8 million on the track. His most notable offspring include multiple graded stakes winner Champagne Lane, and barrel horse sires Justaheartofawarrior, King of the Lanes and The Goodbye Lane. He became a leading broodmare sire of racehorses and barrel horses.
Leinster House also sired Paints and Appaloosas. His Appaloosa son, The Tax Ax, sired several starters and a handful of race winners. Daughters of Leinster House produced several graded stakes contenders including Leave Em Weepin, Chickasis and CB Thunderhoofs. They also produced a number of great barrel horses including Frenchmans Valentino and Lysander Charge.
In 1991 at the age of eighteen, Leinster House sold at the Heritage Place Winter Mixed Sale for just $7,300. He presumably died a short time afterwards. His impact on the racing and barrel racing industries is still immense. His descendants include Grade 1 winner Hard Hitting and AQHA World Champion Freaky among many others. 1D barrel horses descended from Leinster House include A Cornerstone, Famous Leinster, JL Rocky Lane, Slick Lane Ta Fame, TW Lane Ta Fame and countless others! The Lanes Leinster/Dash Ta Fame cross is one of the most coveted nicks in the barrel horse industry. Stallions resulting from that cross include Conn Creek, Got Caught Speedin, Famous Lane, UR One Famous Rebel and Woodbridge.