On January 19th, 1969, Wing Commander, the five-gaited American saddlebred show stallion who was World Grand Champion from 1948-1953, died.
Featured in a 1950 edition of Life magazine as an example of a fine athlete, Wing Commander was owned by Dodge Stables and trained and ridden by Earl Teater. The owner of Dodge Stables, Frances Dodge, purchased Castleton Farms outside of Lexington in 1945, and relocated her stables there. She married Fredrick Van Lennep in 1949, and together they raised a number of successful saddlebred show horses and standardbred. Hailed as the greatest five-gated showhorse that ever lived, Wing Commander went on to become a six-time World Grand Champion, and then stood at stud at Castleton Farms. Passing away at the age of 29, Wing Commander was one of the greatest influences on the modern American Saddlebred.