Rosemary, a foal of 1975, experienced a bumpy start to life. Bred by William and Madeline Shehan of Clermont Farm (now Brittany Farms) in Versailles, KY, she suffered an unfortunate case of strangles, an extremely contagious bacterial infection, as a yearling. Though Shehan had planned on keeping Rosemary, when the rest of the farm’s yearlings did not bring the prices he had anticipated, he asked his neighbor, Tom Crouch of Kentuckiana Farms, if he would be interested in purchasing her. Crouch told Hoof Beats, “[Shehan’s] horses looked like the wrath of God at the sale”; but when he saw Rosemary, he accepted Shehan’s offer.
Unfortunately, Rosemary’s troubles did not end with the strangles. Bill and Peter Haughton, who agreed to supervise Rosemary’s training, soon discovered that she was not a natural trotter. Considered one of the slower learners in the Haughton Stable, Rosemary required two-ounce toe weights and a 5/8-inch half-round shoe as a two-year-old; however, by the time she reached 2:20, Rosemary had embraced her talent and she began to flourish. In 1977, her first season, she won five of her nine starts, including the first Merrie Annabelle ever raced, as well as a Kentucky Sire Stakes, despite the fact that it was held on a ½ mile track (her least favorite) at Louisville Downs.
Rosemary truly shined in 1978, her second season. Not only did she trot six 2:00 miles, the highest number for her division that year, but she also set her best time of 1:57.2. She won the Arden Downs Stake, Bluegrass, Kentucky Futurity Filly Division and a heat of the Hambletonian Oaks. She closed the 1978 season with an earnings of $168,115 and the title of Three Year-Old Filly Trotter of the Year.
Only winning one race in 1979, Rosemary ended her third season early and retired to breeding. Already able to boast a respectable racing career, she quickly proved herself as one of Kentuckiana Farms’ core broodmares. Her best foal was Royal Prestige (Speedy Crown) 3,1:55.1 ($1,234,279). Her fillies were also well respected. Historian Dean Hoffman observed: “The female descendents of Rosemary are valued by breeders in both North America and Europe, and are found in some of the most prominent broodmare bands…” Rosemary’s breeding prominence extended into further generations, claiming a connection to Royal Prestige’s multimillionaire foals, Magician 6,1:52.2 ($3,579,103) and Wesgate Crown 5,1:52.3 ($2,574,045), and Magna Force’s daughter and 2007 Living Horse Hall of Fame inductee Amour Angus, who is the dam of Conway Hall (Garland Lobell) 3,1:53.4 ($818,884), Angus Hall (Garland Lobell) 3,1:54.3 ($830,654) and Andover Hall (Garland Lobell) 3,1:51.3 ($870,510). Thus, not only did Rosemary prove herself as a revered dam, but also as a revered granddam and great-granddam.
In December 2002, at the age of 27, Rosemary passed away. However, she will always be remembered for her notable racing career, which ended with a 46-20-10-4 record and total earnings of $223,647 – an equivalent of $650,240 today – and her multi-generational breeding successes.