There has probably never been a horse before or since who has dominated racing for such a long period as Kelso. He raced for 8 years during which he was elected Horse of the Year 5 times and set or equalled 15 track records. He retired the current all time record money earner with $1,977,896 in earnings, truly amazing when you consider the maximum purse for most of those races was $100,000. His lifetime record was 63 starts with 39 wins, 12 seconds, and 2 thirds.
He raced in top competion from his 3 year old thru 8 year old seasons winning such prestigious races as the Jockey Club Gold Cup (5 consecutive years when it was still a 2 mile race), Hawthorne Gold Cup, Met Mile, Suburban Hcp. (2 wins and 3 seconds), Brooklyn Hcp. (becoming the third horse ever to win the Handicap Triple), Woodward Stakes (3 wins and a second), Washington DC International (1 win and 3 seconds back when this was a really big race).
Kelso was a homebred foal for Mrs. Richard (Allaire) duPont and raced for her Bohemia Stables his entire career. He was born on April 4, 1957, at Claiborne Farm and was a rather small colt with little to distinguish him from the other 10,792 foals born that year. Because he was a late foal and a bit small, he got off to a slow start at the track and only raced 3 times as a 2 year old in September at Atlantic City Race Course although he did win at first asking.
He also got a late start for his 3 year old season due to a change in trainers to Carl Hanford who handled him for the remainder of his career. Because of this, he missed out all the Triple Crown races. His first two starts were in allowance events at Monmouth and Aqueduct where he won going away in double digit lengths. He was shipped to Arlington Park for his stakes debut in the Arlington Classic but he finished up the track. This loss was later attibuted to tender feet and an overly hard track and was to be his only defeat of the year. He came back to Monmouth and won his first stakes race, the Choice Stakes going away. The rest of the year he raced in handicap conditions beating the older horses and setting two track records and and American record. He was acclaimed champion 3 year old and Horse of the Year.