A scent of Blue Grass

Horses were a major passion for Elizabeth Arden

On the cover of TIME magazine as the first woman ever  – “A queen rules the sport of kings” .

 

 

A scent

 

of horse

 

Elizabeth Arden was not just a Queen of the beauty industry – she was also an avid racing fan, a famous horse owner and a breeder.

 

 

Born as Florence Nightingale Graham as the fifth of five children, Elizabeth Arden lived in Ontario, Canada on her father’s Woodbridge property until she was 24 years old.

As the daughter of a Scottish grocer she was put in charge of the horses on her father, W.P. Graham’s farm, and later even claimed that he had once owned a horse that finished second in the Queen’s Plate.

Wearing breaches and boots in her daily tasks she was fascinated by the world of beauty – a pioneering industry which would later make her synonymous as one of the most renowned profiles.

Starting in 1910, an age when it was rarefor women to wear make-up much less run their own businesses, Elizabeth Arden opened her first spa on Fifth Avenue and began to build one of the world’s first global beauty brands.

 

As an advocate for women’s rights she once marched past her Red Door Salon on Fifth Avenue alongside 15,000 fellow suffragettes, all wearing red lipstick as a symbol of strength. During WWII she developed cosmetics for the women who served in the military.

 

As  the sole owner of her cosmetics company with more than 100 salons in North America and Europe Elizabeth Arden was hailed by Fortune magazine in 1938 as earning more money than any other woman in U.S. history.

 

She insisted that Elizabeth Arden creams and lotions be used for bruises and aches, replacing the liniments normally used by her many trainers

 

She also owned Maine Chance Farm in Lexington, Ky., which was one of the leading money-winning stables in the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s, as well as Barrettstown Castle Stud near Dublin, Ireland.

Her success in racing was legendary.  In 1931 she had bought her first horse at the sales in Saratoga. In 1946 TIME magazine put her on the cover as the first woman ever with the caption “Queen rules the sport of kings”  – a sport, which until then had been dominated by men.  Her ultimate highlight was when her colt, Jet Pilot, won the following year won the Kentucky Derby for trainer Tom Smith of Seabiscuit fame.

 

It was quite natural for her to take up horse racing with the same zeal and intensity she had shown in the cosmetics industry.

 

She insisted that Elizabeth Arden creams and lotions be used for bruises and aches, replacing the liniments normally used by her many trainers, which included the notorious Frank Merrill Jr., and she didn’t like her horses wearing blinkers – they weren’t aesthetic!

 

Her many champions and stakes winners besides Jet Pilot, included Jewel’s Reward, Gun Bow, Rose Jet, Myrtle Charm, Beaugay, Royal Blood, Star Pilot, Lord Boswell, Jet Action and Moon Dancer.

 

In 1948, she acquired the great filly Busher as a broodmare from a auction conducted by Louis B. Mayer. Busher was inducted into the Hall of Fame and ranked 40, in Blood-Horse magazine List of the Top 100 U.S. Racehorses of the 20th Century. In 1954, her filly Fascinator, won the Kentucky Oaks.

 

To Elizabeth Arden the link between horses, beauty and women remained obvious.

 

“Treat a horse like a woman and a woman like a horse. And they’ll both win for you,” she famously said.

 

In 2003 Elizabeth Arden was inducted in the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. 
Illustration by René Bouche, 1944 
“Treat a horse like a woman and a woman like a horse. And they’ll both win for you.” Elizabeth Arden.