On May 7, Alfred Vanderbilt III was in Ireland, honoring the memory of his grandfather, a man he never knew, on the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Lusitania, in which Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt perished, saving the lives of his fellow passengers.
Exactly three months later, he will attend a happier event in Saratoga Springs, honoring the memory of his father, as Alfred Gwynn Vanderbilt II is inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame, as a Pillar of the Turf.
The eldest Vanderbilt was on his way to England to attend a meeting of the International Horse Breeders’ Association; a devoté more of coaching than of flat racing, he died before he could, in any active way, pass on his love of equine sport to his son, who was a toddler when the Lusitania was sunk.
“My dad didn’t really remember his father,” said Vanderbilt last week from his Connecticut home. “But I’m sure that he grew up with his father as a kind of constant mythos.”
That myth didn’t stop with the next generation.
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