July132014
August 1948 - Algasir, a two-year-old son of *Sir Gallahad III, was sold to Mrs. F. Ambrose Clark for $106,000,  a record at the time for a juvenile gelding. The bidding was fierce for the highly promising gelding, who had set a world record going four furlongs in his debut race at Belmont in June
Two weeks later, Algasir carried the Clark colors for the first time, and dashed away with the Babylon Handicap at Aqueduct. With Ted Atkinson in the irons and burdened with 121 pounds, Algasir got the six furlongs in “a snappy 1:12 1/5”.

August 1948 - Algasir, a two-year-old son of *Sir Gallahad III, was sold to Mrs. F. Ambrose Clark for $106,000,  a record at the time for a juvenile gelding. The bidding was fierce for the highly promising gelding, who had set a world record going four furlongs in his debut race at Belmont in June

Two weeks later, Algasir carried the Clark colors for the first time, and dashed away with the Babylon Handicap at Aqueduct. With Ted Atkinson in the irons and burdened with 121 pounds, Algasir got the six furlongs in “a snappy 1:12 1/5”.

July122014
July112014
“Nashua…was a playboy who found distraction in everything. He reared and snatched his handlers around in the walking ring. He was ‘fractious at the post’. He played cat-and-mouse with opponents when he might have whaled the daylights out of them. He watched the infield and the stands. He shied from the strange objects which came out on the track to take pictures. He propped near the finish. Orders from jockeys he ignored, or, if the whip was laid on the the extent that he finally admitted having felt it, he was likely to repsond by going sidewise. What he could have done in the way of being a racehorse, if he could had put his mind to it, was never fully determined, because it never could be determined that he had put his mind to it.”
- Joe A Estes, American Race Horses 1935

Nashua…was a playboy who found distraction in everything. He reared and snatched his handlers around in the walking ring. He was ‘fractious at the post’. He played cat-and-mouse with opponents when he might have whaled the daylights out of them. He watched the infield and the stands. He shied from the strange objects which came out on the track to take pictures. He propped near the finish. Orders from jockeys he ignored, or, if the whip was laid on the the extent that he finally admitted having felt it, he was likely to repsond by going sidewise. What he could have done in the way of being a racehorse, if he could had put his mind to it, was never fully determined, because it never could be determined that he had put his mind to it.”

- Joe A Estes, American Race Horses 1935

9PM
4-year-old colt Black Seventeen winning the 2008 Vosburgh Stakes at Belmont, beating defending champ Fabulous Strike by a head 

4-year-old colt Black Seventeen winning the 2008 Vosburgh Stakes at Belmont, beating defending champ Fabulous Strike by a head 

July102014
“Assault was a rather small horse, a medium chestnut with one white hind ankle. According to measurements made after the Belmont, he stood 15.1 1/2 inches high and girthed 71 inches. He weighed about 950 pounds at the stage, measured 19 inches around the forearm, 38 at the stifle, and 17 around the gaskin. These measurements are quite ordinary; they were not what made Assault tick. He was thoroughly game, possessed of one tearing run, which needed only to be held until there could be no counter to it.”
-Joe H. Palmer, American Race Horses 1946

Assault was a rather small horse, a medium chestnut with one white hind ankle. According to measurements made after the Belmont, he stood 15.1 1/2 inches high and girthed 71 inches. He weighed about 950 pounds at the stage, measured 19 inches around the forearm, 38 at the stifle, and 17 around the gaskin. These measurements are quite ordinary; they were not what made Assault tick. He was thoroughly game, possessed of one tearing run, which needed only to be held until there could be no counter to it.”

-Joe H. Palmer, American Race Horses 1946

2PM
5-year-old gelding Jam, clearing a hurdle during a race sometime in 1952, the year he was named the US Champion Steeplechaser 

5-year-old gelding Jam, clearing a hurdle during a race sometime in 1952, the year he was named the US Champion Steeplechaser 

July62014

Lucky Draw 

The list of racehorses who have returned to racing after bowing a tendon is relatively short. The list of those who have returned to become more successful than before their injury is practically nonexistent. One of the few who managed it was the gelding Lucky Draw 

George D Widener bred and raced the son of 1928 Hopeful Stakes winner Jack High. Lucky Draw’s highly promising juvenile season saw him win the Youthful, Juvenile, Tremont, and Great American Stakes. Trainer W. F. ‘Bert’ Mulholland, who “disdain(ed) to race horses into condition”, put him directly into stakes competition at three. Lucky Draw made his 1944 debut in one division of the Wood Memorial, which he won from Broad Grin and Hoodoo. He was practically Derby-bound, but a small case of colic kept him out of commission until late May, when returned with a win at Belmont. Shortly after winning the Jersey Handicap at Garden State Park in August 1944, Lucky Draw suffered his bowed tendon.

The gelding’s connections were unhurried with him. He missed the remainder of 1944, all of 1945, and the first part of 1946. When he finally returned to the track, it was nearly 21 months after he had left, and he was now a finely-shaped five year old. Once again, he was not given an easy return race. The 1946 Toboggan Handicap at Belmont featured future champion sprinter Polynesian and veteran handicapper Cassis, and Lucky Draw finished a respectable fourth. Not so in the Metropolitan Handicap soon after, where he faded badly and ended up 12th in the field of 14. It was assumed that Lucky Draw had not been seriously trained for these races, which were used primarily to find out if his tendon could hold up to the strain. He was given another month off to recover, and afterwards he was put back into regular training 

What followed next was a string of highly impressive, record-breaking wins. Lucky Draw took an allowance race at Jamaica on June 25, and the Yonkers Handicap a few days later, but his true brilliance began in the July 13 Butler Handicap. Under a light load of 105 pounds, Lucky Draw ran down Gallorette to beat her by a nose in a time that lowered the track record. Exactly one week later, in the newly returned Monmouth Handicap, he carried 111 pounds and beat Stymie by six lengths, again in track record time. 

The Merchants’ and Citizens’ Handicap on August 15 saw Lucky Draw sharing the topweight with hardy stakes-winner First Fiddle. He avenged his earlier loss to Polynesian in the Toboggan by beating him a length and a half while giving him five pounds. Once again, he lowered the track record, this one having been set by Sir Barton back in 1920.  Next came the Saratoga Handicap on August 24. Lucky Draw carried 124 pounds to Polynesian’s 113 and Stymie’s 125, but he won it by 3/4 of a length in yet another track record time 

The field of the 1946 Narragansett Special was very short, but it was loaded with talent. Lucky Draw carried even weight with Jockey Club Gold Cup winner Pavot, and they both received 7 pounds from Calumet’s mighty gelding Armed. The race was never in doubt: “Lucky Draw drew off from the others and won handily by more than three lengths, leading every stride”. This time, not only had he broken the track record, he had equaled the world record for the 1 3/16 miles, set by Challedon in 1939.

The Olympic Handicap at Atlantic City followed, and another broken track record with it. The field was not particularly impressive, but Lucky Draw carried 129 pounds and “won galloping” by five lengths

The high point of Lucky Draw’s amazing string was also his last victory. In the $25,000 overnight Sysonby Handicap at Belmont (below), he faced both Gallorette and multiple stakes winning filly War Date. Neither his competition nor the sloppy track deterred him, and Lucky Draw “lengthened out to win by twelve lengths”, leaving Gallorette far behind. For the final time, he lowered a track record.

Lucky Draw lost the Gallant Fox Handicap as the favorite, but this was a combination of his 129-pound burden and the longer distance of the race. He faded badly in the end, backing up to finish 8th of 11. His final race of the season was the Westchester Handicap on November 9, for which he was again the favorite.Triple Crown winner Assault, who had won the Gallant Fox, was even weights with Lucky Draw, and beat him by two lengths. 

9PM
Gorgeous blaze-faced Venetian Way and jockey Bill Hartack win the 1960 Kentucky Derby by daylight, defeating Bally Ache by nearly 4 lengths 

Gorgeous blaze-faced Venetian Way and jockey Bill Hartack win the 1960 Kentucky Derby by daylight, defeating Bally Ache by nearly 4 lengths 

9PM
July42014

Woolford Farm’s homebred gelding Historian, a son of their similarly homebred Kentucky Derby winner Lawrin, was a late-bloomer. He was born with, and always maintained, peculiar ankles. They were described as “practically round, and at least half again longer than normal”, and they severely restricted his early racing years. At two, he won only a single maiden claiming race, and he lost his only start at three. 

His four-year-old season, in 1945, started much the same. Historian lost five straight at Washington Park, starting in Class E and finally moving up to an allowance. Then, when he moved to Hawthorne in September, a funny thing happened: he completely reversed form and won five straight in less than a month. The reason for this? It was extremely rainy that month, and the soft mud was “easy on those hardening ankles”. Thus Historian headed to Florida for the winter with a small boost in reputation. While he rested, his ankles evidently “set”, and he was afterwards able to run on hard dirt as well as mud 

Despite losing his first race at five, Historian soon bounced back. In mid-January, he gave veteran handicap mare Adroit five pounds and beat her by a nose. Twice he beat top handicapper Chief Barker. However, it wasn’t until he moved to Tropical Park in March that he met a true champion. In the two divisions of the Double Event Stakes, Historian was faced with Calumet’s might Armed. And in both divisions, Armed emerged victorious. In the first, Historian finished third while Armed lowered the track record. In the second, however, it was much closer. Historian “got his neck in front at the eighth-pole, and had he not drifted out under pressure he might have won”. Nevertheless, Armed muscled past in the end and won by a head, equaling his own track record to do it. 

Two third-place finishes at Hawthorne followed before Historian finally got his first stakes victory. In the 1 3/16 mile La Salle Handicap on June 1, he carried 123 pounds and wore down front-running Tiger Rebel to win by a head. Exactly one week later, he again met and again beat Tiger Rebel, this time in the Lincoln Handicap, carrying 125 pounds to Tiger Rebel’s 114. Bad racing luck saw Historian lose the Stars and Stripes Handicap, when he finished fifth after taking up going around the far turn. It was the only time all season he finished out of the money.

One of Historian’s two best races took place on July 20, in the 1946 Arlington Handicap (below). There, he finally managed where he had twice failed before - he beat Armed. Armed toted the high weight of 130 pounds, and Historian used every inch of his 18-pound break to push past him at the finish. Historian set a new track record for the 1 1/4 miles, finishing in 2:01 flat 

A trip to California followed for the Hollywood Gold Cup, where Historian could do no better than third. Carrying the topweight, he “drove furiously at the wire”, but was beaten by a neck by the mare Honeymoon, herself a neck behind the winning Triplicate

Historian’s final race might be considered his best. The 1 5/8 mile Sunset Handicap in early August was a rematch with Triplicate, who carried the high weight of 122 pounds. Historian hardly benefited from this, himself saddled with 121 pounds, but he didn’t seem to need it. He was five lengths in front at the end, and he had equaled Man o’ War's 26-year-old world record of 2:40 4/5 

July32014
5-time Horse of the Year winning gelding Kelso, during his second career as a showjumper

5-time Horse of the Year winning gelding Kelso, during his second career as a showjumper

8PM
June292014
"…another exhibition of blinding speed…"
Thus was Coaltown's victory in the 1949 Gallant Fox Handicap described by the media. And indeed, it was thoroughly impressive. On his way to both Champion Handicap Horse and Horse of the Year titles, Coaltown was riding a blazing win streak that included a walkover in the Edward Burke Handicap at Havre de Grace
Though he was the heavy favorite to win the $50,000 added race, it was expected to be a difficult battle. The field was thought to be one of the toughest assembled that year, including Santa Anita Handicap winner Vulcan’s Forge and champion handicap mare But Why Not. Also in the mix were two colts who had been generally judged better than Coaltown the previous year, My Request and Better Self. Coaltown was burdened with 130 pounds, 4 more than My Request and 10 more than Better Self
A crown of over 42,000 watched as Coaltown made the high-class bunch look like a crowd of claimers. After taking the lead in the backstretch, the Calumet star “poured on his vaunted speed” and slipped away to a seven-length victory. Jockey Steve Brooks was easing him up at the end. Vulcan’s Forge was second, two lengths in front of the gelding Three Rings, who edged Escadru for third. Better Self and But Why Not brought up the rear

"…another exhibition of blinding speed…"

Thus was Coaltown's victory in the 1949 Gallant Fox Handicap described by the media. And indeed, it was thoroughly impressive. On his way to both Champion Handicap Horse and Horse of the Year titles, Coaltown was riding a blazing win streak that included a walkover in the Edward Burke Handicap at Havre de Grace

Though he was the heavy favorite to win the $50,000 added race, it was expected to be a difficult battle. The field was thought to be one of the toughest assembled that year, including Santa Anita Handicap winner Vulcan’s Forge and champion handicap mare But Why Not. Also in the mix were two colts who had been generally judged better than Coaltown the previous year, My Request and Better Self. Coaltown was burdened with 130 pounds, 4 more than My Request and 10 more than Better Self

A crown of over 42,000 watched as Coaltown made the high-class bunch look like a crowd of claimers. After taking the lead in the backstretch, the Calumet star “poured on his vaunted speed” and slipped away to a seven-length victory. Jockey Steve Brooks was easing him up at the end. Vulcan’s Forge was second, two lengths in front of the gelding Three Rings, who edged Escadru for third. Better Self and But Why Not brought up the rear

6PM
Flashy Bull - Post parade for the 2006 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park
Though he finished third, Flashy Bull was elevated to second after the disqualification of winner Corinthian

Flashy Bull - Post parade for the 2006 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park

Though he finished third, Flashy Bull was elevated to second after the disqualification of winner Corinthian

2PM
6-year-old Stymie wears the flowers after winning the 1947 International Gold Cup at Belmont Park. Jockey Conn McCreary grins for the cameras, while trainer Hirsch Jacobs and wife Ethel look on proudly 
The International Gold Cup was considered truly the first “international” race. The entries included Argentineans *Endeavour II and *Talon, as well as Brazilian *Ensueno. Representing America were Stymie, Triple Crown winner Assault, Chmpion 3-Year-Old Phalanx, and multiple stakes winner Natchez. 46,000 people packed Belmont Park to see the race, and the bettors made Assault the favorite based on his impressive seven-race win streak. Stymie, who had been beaten by Assault in the Butler Handicap just a week previously, was third in the betting. 
4-year-old Natchez nearly ran away with the race. Under jockey Ted Atkinson, he jumped to the lead from the start and was not headed until nearly the end. Stymie settled fifth early, then made his move down the stretch. “Stymie was on the charge, with his head high, McCreary’s face almost buried in his copper mane”. Natchez held on gamely, but Stymie beat him by a neck, with Assault four lengths back in third

6-year-old Stymie wears the flowers after winning the 1947 International Gold Cup at Belmont Park. Jockey Conn McCreary grins for the cameras, while trainer Hirsch Jacobs and wife Ethel look on proudly 

The International Gold Cup was considered truly the first “international” race. The entries included Argentineans *Endeavour II and *Talon, as well as Brazilian *Ensueno. Representing America were Stymie, Triple Crown winner Assault, Chmpion 3-Year-Old Phalanx, and multiple stakes winner Natchez. 46,000 people packed Belmont Park to see the race, and the bettors made Assault the favorite based on his impressive seven-race win streak. Stymie, who had been beaten by Assault in the Butler Handicap just a week previously, was third in the betting. 

4-year-old Natchez nearly ran away with the race. Under jockey Ted Atkinson, he jumped to the lead from the start and was not headed until nearly the end. Stymie settled fifth early, then made his move down the stretch. “Stymie was on the charge, with his head high, McCreary’s face almost buried in his copper mane”. Natchez held on gamely, but Stymie beat him by a neck, with Assault four lengths back in third