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A Racing Miscellany

Thanks again markfinn markfinn for this service!

Btw, is there a quick easy way to find when a particular sire's progeny are running?
I saw a reference to Masar in the above. I'd like to track.


Thanks again markfinn markfinn for this service!

Btw, is there a quick easy way to find when a particular sire's progeny are running?
I saw a reference to Masar in the above. I'd like to track.
You can enter his name into proform and save it as a system - if your data base doent have that facility I cam do it for you - will look later on only takes min and set up for as long as you like - nice to get some feed back and you have actually read it .



When his runners start on course I will let you know - unless you already sorted it - that is
Thanks, markfinn markfinn and M mattyboy. :)
If it's not freely available online ( and easy to find :confused:) I can't find it, but, I'm alright at going through all sorts of useful information, if I can access it.

That's why I like this thread so much.
All these ratings and systems and complex formuli are alright, but, racing is more than that.

The likes of Jim Bolger, for instance, are worth following as much as anything else. Little snippets can help as much as huge dossiers for the likes of me.😕😃

My own methods are erratic, to say the least.
Yep, a tracker on Masar's would be fine.


The dark world of Victorian horse racing

In the 1860s a search party was required to find an honest jockey, trainer or owner​

Two hours after showing her father, the Marquess of Anglesey, the wedding dress in which she was to marry the country squire Henry Chaplin, Lady Florence Paget took a carriage to Marshall & Snelgrove’s department store. Leaving by a side entrance, she was escorted to St George’s Church in Hanover Square where she married Harry Hastings, the fourth Marquis of Hastings. They were back at his Leicestershire estate of Donington Hall before her family knew a thing. It was the ultimate Victorian scandal: the stunningly beautiful Lady Florence was known as the Pocket Venus, Harry Hastings was a rakehell addicted to the cheap cheers of those for whom he bought drinks in East End alehouses and opium dens. He was also a profligate gambler who would hazard £500 a time illegally pitting his cockfighting birds against those of the Duke of Hamilton.

After first consoling himself with a lengthy tiger-shooting expedition to India, Chaplin returned home to pursue a targeted revenge. Hastings had become a racehorse owner on the grand scale, eager to win a Derby. His huge gambles attracted a raffish young racecourse set who followed the fortunes of horses running in the ‘scarlet, white hoops’ of ‘the Plucky Markis’, so Chaplin too became a significant purchaser of racehorses. In the Derby of 1867 Chaplin owned the well-fancied Hermit: Hastings, already in desperate financial straits, opposed Hermit in the betting markets, accommodating those who wanted to back Chaplin’s horse to the tune of £120,000 (£10.1 million in today’s money). For a moment Hastings looked to be in luck: in his final trial Hermit stumbled and coughed, covering his jockey with blood. He had broken a blood vessel and Chaplin was first inclined to scratch him. Although then dissuaded, he publicised the setback to protect unwary punters and Hermit’s price went out from 8–1 to 66–1. Had Hastings possessed a modicum of sense he could have protected his liabilities by staking just £1,800 to win at 66–1 but he refused. Hermit, given a rest few of the overworked horses of his time were allowed, went on to win the Derby.

'In the 1860s a search party was required to find a wholly honest jockey, trainer or owner'

Chaplin had his revenge on the man who had stolen his bride and Hastings was ruined, forced to sell his horses. Within 18 months, having spent his way through an inheritance of more than £40 million at today’s prices, he was dead. Chaplin, having made his point, sold all his horses too, save for Hermit and a few two-year-olds. The Pocket Venus, however, hadn’t learned much: she then married the professional gambler Sir George Chetwynd. The tale is told in meticulously researched detail in racing historian Paul Mathieu’s Duel (Write First Time, £20) but Mathieu’s book is so much more than a revenge melodrama: his forensic examination of the racing world of the times explains why bookmakers have struggled ever since for respectability and why so many outsiders still regard the sport as irredeemably corrupt. He exposes the venality of a record-breaking family of trainers, noting that there were few racing scandals in the 19th century in which the Day family were
not implicated. But others of higher standing fare no better: Lord George Bentinck, one of racing’s great reformers, is revealed as being party to shameless manipulation of form for betting purposes. Rightly, Mathieu concludes: ‘In the 1860s a search party was required to find a wholly honest jockey, trainer or owner.’

I declare an interest in that I wrote the foreword to Antony Johnson’s A Crack of the Whip (Killer Hill Press, £20), but here today’s racing folk will find cheerier fare in the anecdote-rich memoirs of the former amateur rider, trainer and later hotelier in Barbados. It was Jeffrey Bernard, late of this parish, who bestowed on the colourful then Lambourn handler the distinction of the ‘Croix de Gucci’ and I would love to have been at the lunches over which they and the irrepressible practical joker Doug Marks cooked up Bernard’s contributions to The Spectator and Private Eye. Antony reveals how the non-driving Jeff used to arrange lifts from his cottage down into the village for lubrication. Every day he would write himself a letter and hitch a lift when the postman drove up to deliver it.

The four-times-married Antony reveals how he drew the line at one wife having an affair with his vet, but racing people know how to have fun and the tale of a celebration party at Peter and Bonk Walwyn’s being interrupted by the local constabulary certainly rings true. ‘I’m not being burgled, I’m having a party,’ said big Pete, who had just won the Derby with Grundy. ‘Just then,’ says Antony, ‘a rather shamefaced Pat Eddery appeared and explained that he had inadvertently pressed the panic button while giving the nanny a good seeing-to upstairs.’ Lester Piggott, too, appears in familiar guise: after giving his jockey a lift to Deauville in the owner’s plane, trainer Johnson received an invoice: ‘To travel expenses £150’. ‘Worth a try,’ grinned Piggott when challenged. They don’t seem to have quite so much fun these days.

Robyn Oakley


100 years on from another grim pandemic - and a grim fate for the Preakness winner

Jay Hovdey | MAY 10, 2021 |

The hugely successful trainer James Rowe Sr (left) and Harry Payne Whitney, whose racing enterprise was envied far and wide, are pictured with their Kentucky Derby winner Regret five years before the ill-fated Broomspun would win the 1921 Preakness for them. Photo: National Museum or Racing and Hall of Fame

Beware of stories that begin, “One hundred years ago …,” unless the subject turns out to be one of the Triple Crown events, and the 100th anniversary of a Preakness Stakes run at a time in American history that echoes loudly to this day.

By the end of 1920, the death toll of the global influenza pandemic had abated. More than one-third of the world’s population had been infected, with upwards of 50 million dead. The United States suffered at least 600,000 deaths from the scourge, with some 200,000 alone recorded during October of 1918, as American soldiers were returning from a Europe ravaged by war and plague.

A fourth wave of the pandemic spiked in early 1920 that resulted in pockets of mortality harkening back to the darkest hours of 1918. Fortunately, the spike did not spread, and by the fall of 1920 the nation’s attention had turned to a Presidential election that focused on the economic recession and America’s place in a post-war order.

Voter turnout figured to be brisk, since for the first time women would be going to the polls, thanks to the 19th amendment to the Constitution. Warren G Harding, a handsome, mild-mannered senator from Ohio, was elected 29th President of the United States with 60 percent of the popular vote. He was inaugurated on March 4, 1921.

Man o’ War’s retirement

The country may have gained a new President – scandal ridden as Harding turned out to be – but it had already lost one of its three most dominant sports heroes. Babe Ruth hit an otherworldly 54 home runs in 1920, his first year with the Yankees of many to come. Jack Dempsey, the “Manassa Mauler”, twice defended his world heavyweight boxing title in 1920 and was ready for more. But Man o’ War, hailed as the greatest racehorse American breeding had ever produced, ran what turned out to be his final race on October 12, 1920, retiring at the age of three with 20 wins from 21 starts.

Sir Barton, the champion 3-year-old of 1919, also ran for the last time in late 1920, while Old Rosebud, a former champion, was turning ten and fading fast.

That left 5-year-old Exterminator as the headline Thoroughbred entering 1921, after a 1920 campaign of ten wins in 17 starts. He had reached 135 pounds in handicap weights, but as a gelding he had no place else to go but the racetrack. By the end of 1920, 3-year-old Man o’ War had hit 138 pounds, including an age allowance. Little wonder his owner, Samuel Riddle, sent him to stud rather than let his prize Thoroughbred haul the handicap loads that were looming on the horizon.

Beyond horseracing, the 20s were starting to roar.

By 1921, Prohibition had been the law of the land for nearly a year, and illegal production and sales of alcohol were flourishing. The movies were not talking yet, but they were making household names of Mary Pickford, John Barrymore, and Charlie Chaplin. Edith Wharton won a Pulitzer Prize in 1921 for The Age of Innocence, F Scott Fitzgerald’s debut novel This Side of Paradise was on the shelves, and Sinclair Lewis chimed in with Main Street, his morality tale of casual corruption.

On May 7, 1921, the sporting world convened in Louisville for the 47th running of the Kentucky Derby. Exterminator had lost his first two starts of the season, so fans were turning to a promising collection of 2-year-olds from the 1920 campaign for their next racing lodestar.

The Derby that year lured a dozen runners, including two fillies, but the race belonged to Colonel E R Bradley, who was rapidly becoming a force in the game. Bradley’s Behave Yourself defeated his more highly regarded stablemate, Black Servant, by a head, with the filly Prudery in third, six lengths back. Rumor has it Bradley bet big in the books on Black Servant and accepted the trophy with gritted teeth.

Nine days later, on Monday, May 16, five of the Derby runners showed up in Baltimore among the 14 entered for the 46th Preakness Stakes, including Tryster, the champion 2-year-old colt of 1920 who had been part of the Harry Payne Whitney entry trained by James Rowe Sr and favoured in Louisville. A winning prize of $43,000 was on the line, compared to $38,450 won by Behave Yourself at Churchill Downs. And even though Behave Yourself did not run in the Preakness, it was no big deal. At the time, there was no such thing as the Triple Crown.

Broomspun was an underachiever who was tossed into the Preakness mix by Rowe and Whitney almost as an afterthought. He had finished second in three stakes as a 2-year-old, including the Great American at Aqueduct, but he was not considered among division leaders Grey Lag, Leonardo II, and stablemate Tryster, and was even ranked well down the list of bench strength in the Rowe barn.

Deep roots

Anyway, Whitney held out lingering hopes in the Preakness for Tryster, even though the champ’s fourth-place Derby finish was a hint that he might have gone over the top.

At the time, the H P Whitney racing enterprise was envied far and wide. The family’s roots in the sport were deep, but not nearly as deep as the family itself, whose patriarch, Richard Whitney, emigrated from England to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1635. H P Whitney’s father, William Collins Whitney, was a former U.S. Secretary of the Navy who campaigned Hall of Famer Artful and won the 1901 Epsom Derby with Volodyovski.

At age 64 in 1921, James Rowe Sr had established himself as America’s pre-eminent trainer after a career that began as a jockey in his mid-teens, fresh off the farm in Virginia. Rowe attached himself early to the stable of David McDaniel, a no-nonsense horseman with a New Jersey farm who trained most of the horses he owned, including the accomplished Harry Bassett and three straight winners of the Belmont Stakes. Young James Rowe rode two of them, in 1872 and 1873.

But then Rowe began to grow, and his jockey career ended at 18. As kids will do, he had a brief lark with P T Barnum’s circus crowd, racing and trick-riding in large arenas, after which he returned to the racetrack and set upon a career as a trainer. In 1879, Rowe landed a job with the Dwyer brothers, Mike and Phil, who bought the flashy Hindoo in 1880, in the midst of his 2-year-old season, and turned him over to their young trainer. The following may, Hindoo won the Kentucky Derby for Rowe, just 24. To this day he remains the youngest person to train the winner of America’s premier race.

Thin Preakness record

And Rowe was just getting started. He won the Belmont Stakes eight times between 1883 and 1913. He trained undefeated Colin, the once-beaten Sysonby, handicap champion Whisk Broom II, and champion filly Maskette, who held no fear of colts.

Rowe won a second Kentucky Derby in 1915 with Regret, the first filly to turn the trick and one of only three to this day. His record in the Preakness, however, was thin. Between 1917 and 1926, Rowe started 14 horses in the Pimlico classic. Six of them finished second or third, including the 2-3 finish of Upset and Wildair behind Man o’ War in 1920.

Broomspun’s sire, Broomstick, won the Travers and the Suburban Handicap, while banging his head often against the unbeatable Sysonby. As a stallion, Broomstick favored quality over quantity, with many of his 280 named foals securing a place in history. Meridian and Regret won the Kentucky Derby, Sweeper II took the English 2000 Guineas, and Whisk Broom II was a U.S. Horse of the Year and winner of New York’s handicap “triple crown.”

Broomspun’s dam, Spun Glass, was a daughter of Rock Sand, whose older half sister Tanya beat the boys in the 1905 Belmont Stakes. Broomspun was her first foal.

So pity poor Broomspun. It was not easy for him to find a place among such accomplished family members, and with Tryster looking over his shoulder, he was pretty much dismissed as part of the favored entry in the 1921 Preakness, which marked the 12th time the race would be run at nine furlongs (there were three more before its mile and three-sixteenths distance would be set in stone).

The track that May afternoon at Pimlico was labeled ‘slow’ and played deep and tiring. Post time was 4:10, but the walk-up start was delayed 11 minutes by fractious participants, with Tryster and longshot Quecreek cited as being especially naughty.

When they were finally away, the early pace – attended by Leonardo, Broomspun, and the filly Careful – was a decent :24 for the quarter and :47 3/5 to the half. But the track soon began taking its toll, with subsequent quarters run in :25 2/5 and :26 2/5, and the last furlong in :14 3/5 of the race capped what was more accurately described as a war of attrition, as characterized by Henry V King in the New York Herald.

“Six times during the contest, a different horse loomed up as the probable winner, and six times the multitude belched forth a roar that could be heard miles away,” King wrote. “First it was Walter Salmon's Careful, then Leonardo II, then Tryster, then Mrs Payne Whitney's Touch Me Not, then Polly Ann, and finally Broomspun.”

Polly Ann was a particular crowd favourite. Four days before the Preakness, she had missed by a nose to Careful in a three-horse version of the Pimlico Oaks, precursor to the modern Black-Eyed Susan Stakes. Polly Ann had been kicked in the hock during the fracas at the starting barrier and was bloodied, making her relentless run at Broomspun all the more inspiring to the record crowd of an estimated 30,000.

“When Broomspun got the decision, bedlam reigned,” King wrote. “Men and women, winners and losers alike, cheered themselves hoarse.”

A healthy portion of the cheers were directed at the winning jockey, Frank Coltiletti, who had just turned 17 the month before. He was a local favourite, having won the Havre de Grace riding title the year before on his way to a national acclaim that eventually led to the racing Hall of Fame.

“Coltiletti put up an excellent ride on the winner in the stretch,” the New York Times praised. “And it was due in no small measure to his skill that Broomspun lasted to get home in front.”

Broomspun’s sire, Broomstick, was a distinguished sire. Many of his 280 named foals secured a place in history
As for Broomspun, his turn in the Pimlico spotlight was a literal last hurrah. Rowe and Whitney passed on the June 12 Belmont Stakes for their Preakness winner, opting instead for the one-mile Carlton Handicap at Aqueduct on June 18. The New York Times was on the scene to record the grim details, once again involving the start from behind the barrier tape:

“The accident to Broomspun occurred while several of the horses were acting badly at the post,” the Times reported. “Bennington lashed his heels at the Whitney colt and struck the latter just below one of his shoulders. It was not realized then that any serious injury had been inflicted and starter Mars Cassidy soon sent the field away. Broomspun took but a few strides when one of his forelegs snapped and began to dangle loosely.”

(Apologies to readers who have experienced a chilling flashback to the Preakness of 2006 and how Derby winner Barbaro broke through the starting gate, was given a cursory exam, stuffed back in the gate, and fractured a hind leg only a few strides after the start.)

Broomspun was mercifully euthanized. Later in 1921, Broomspun’s full brother, named Broomster, won the Great American Stakes. Otherwise, that branch of the Whitney bloodstock faded into the mists of time, and there is precious little in the way of memorabilia to celebrate Broomspun’s hour of glory.

H P Whitney went on to win the Preakness twice more before his death in 1930, at 58.

His son, the late Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, carried on the family tradition with a successful racing enterprise that included the champions and Hall of Famers Equipoise, Top Flight, and Silver Spoon, as did his wife, the late Marylou Whitney. John Hendrickson, Marylou’s husband at the time of her death, continues as the keeper of the Whitney racing legacy and caretaker of its symbols, which includes the century-old replica of the Woodlawn Vase won by Broomspun, a one-hit wonder for the ages.