Cream Dilution Thoroughbreds

The cream dilution gene has been present in the Thoroughbred breed since the very beginning. The gene is not found in the Arabian gene pool, so it most likely was introduced through native mares and "Turk" imports (ancestors of the modern Akhal Teke). Most buckskin or palomino Thoroughbreds were listed as "dun" in the early stud books, though the portraits made of some of the more famous of these horses clearly show them to be cream dilutes. "Dun" was simply a term used at the time to describe the color; it did not have the specific genetic definition that it does now. (Dun, by modern definition, is not present in the TB gene pool.) Key progenitors of the early cream lines were Darcy's Yellow Turk, the Oxford Dun Arabian, and the Gower Dun Barb.

A painting of Brilliant (by Crab out of a daughter of Silverlocks) who is clearly a buckskin.
A list of sorts of early cream dilute TBs include: Darcy's Yellow Turk (ca. 1665, probably palomino), Cream Cheeks (ca. 1690, probably palomino), Morgan's Dun (late 1600s/early 1700s?, buckskin), Thwaite's Dun Mare (early 1700s, buckskin?),Oxford Dun Arabian (ca. 1710, buckskin), Akaster Turk Mare (ca. 1712, palomino), Oxfird Dun Arabian Mare (ca. 1718, palomino), Silverlocks (1725, probably palomino), Silvertail (1740, probably palomino), Buffcoat (1742, buckskin), Brilliant (1750, buckskin), Ginger (1750, buckskin), Gower Dun Barb (ca. 1750, buckskin), Easby Miller (1751, buckskin), Silvertail (1753, palomino), Creampot (1755, buckskin), Well-Done (1756, buckskin), Doubtful (1759, buckskin), Antelope (1760, buckskin), Honeycomb (1760, buckskin), Isabella (1765, buckskin), Petulant (1767, buckskin), Spindle (1767, buckskin), Dorilas (1768, buckskin), Gem (1768, buckskin), Spangle (1769, buckskin), Dunny (1771, buckskin), Pierrot (1771, buckskin), Custard (1774, buckskin), Loretta (1774, buckskin), Golden Dun (1777, buckskin), Don Dun (mid-late 1700s, ?), and a number of unnamed "dun" foals.

After the late-1700s, I can find no references to cream dilute TBs (until the present). The cream lines either petered out or were misregistered as bays and chestnuts. It is possible that the color survived to the modern day that way, but it seems highly unlikely. You'd think, after all, that at least one golden coated horse might have been mentioned in the intervening 150+ years.

All modern cream dilute Thoroughbreds trace to one of two stallions (and sometimes both), Milkie and Glitter Please. Milkie, born in 1966, was regitered as chestnut, but was indisputably palomino. His dam, Tootsie T, was registered as brown, but she may in fact have been a sooty buckskin or smoky black. Her family is fairly obscure (and there are lines that trace back to Darcy's Yellow Turk), but it seems more likely that non-Thoroughbred blood bearing the cream gene was introduced at some point, accidentally or otherwise.

Glitter Please, born in 1982, likewise got his cream gene from his dam, Lucky Two Bits, who was registered as bay but who was in fact buckskin. Though less obscure than Milkie's distaff line, Glitter Please's is also mysterious in terms of the origin of the cream gene. Without photos of family members or DNA testing, it is impossible to determine where the color comes from. Regardless, both stallions were accepted and registered by the Jockey Club, and their offspring have been highly successful show horses in many disciplines. Their popularity has surged in the last decade, and their numbers have increased dramatically. Hopefully, the cream gene is here to stay this time around. :-)

Milkie and His Descendants

Milkie in 1972. Even in black and white, it's clear that he is palomino and not chestnut. A few color stills from a video can be seen here on the Gold Hope Farm website. And Milkie's history can be read here.

Gold Apollo, probably Milkie's most well-known son, who, like his sire, was a very successful sire of top hunters.

Issue of Gold, a son of Gold Apollo, who has sired three cremello sons, Billionair, Zillionair, and Snowy River. (Owned and photographed by Norsire Farm.)

Zillionaire, a cremello son of Issue of Gold out of Queen Debonair, a palomino daughter of Milkie. (Owned and photographed by Norsire Farm.)

Milkie's Desire, a son of Milkie,

Guaranteed Gold, a cremello son of Milkie's Desire out of a palomino daughter of Gold Apollo. (Owned and photographed by True Colours Farm.)

Faux Finish, an exceptional buckskin sabino mare by Guaranteed Gold out of a Puchilingui daughter. (Owned and photographed by True Colours Farm.)

RFF The Alchemist, a cremello grandson of Milkie's Desire out of a Glitter Please daughter. (Owned and photographed by Gestüt Falkenhorst.)

RFF Sun King, a stunning palomino son of Milkie's Desire. (Owned and photographed by Hollywood Ranch )

RFF Platinum, a rare perlino daughter of RFF King's Ransom (by Milkie's Desire) out of a Glitter Please daughter. Platinum is one of only 2 perlino Thoroughbreds, the other being her full sister, RFF Pearlescent. (Owned by Blazing Colours Farm)

The incredible Sato, a stunning palomino sabino by Puchilingui out of a palomino Milkie daughter. (Owned by Blazing Colours Farm)

White Pharoah, and extreme sabino son of Sato out of the buckskin mare Golden Belle. Pharoah's base color is palomino. (Owned by Blazing Colours Farm)


Glitter Please and His Descendants

The lovely Glitter Please, a highly accomplished dressage horse. Like Milkie, his descendants excel in a variety of disciplines.

Brilliant Intuiten, a buckskin son of Glitter Please. (Owned by Frazer's Stable.)

GPs Krugerrand, a palomino son of Glitter please. Note his many Bend Or spots. (Owned by Symmetry Ranch)

Goldmaker, a cremello son of Glitter Please out of a Milkie daughter. Unfortunately, he was conceived via AI rather than live cover, and he is therefore not Jockey Club registered. (Owned by Stoneybrooke Farm)

Rff El Dorado, Glitter Please's only JC registered cremello son, out of a Milkie daughter. (Owned and photographed by Red Fox Farm)

Lissa's Gold Legacy, a buckskin daughter of Glitter Please and the dam of the only 2 perlino Thoroughbreds in the world. See RFF Platinum pictured above. (Owned and photographed by Red Fox Farm)

Tosho Falco: Not a Palomino

Tosho Falco, a popular Japanese racehorse and later lead pony, looks palomino in this photo. As the photo at left shows, he is in fact flaxen chestnut. Neither of his parents are cream dilutes.

Tosho Falco in retirement. This lovely photo by jinsnap shows that he is truly chestnut.