Racing History Blog

An old Kentucky legacy: The mighty Longfellow and Ten Broeck

Submitted by bbouyea on Mon, Nov 29 2021 2:44 pm

Hall of Fame members from Nantura Stock Farm were among the best of the 19th century

By Brien Bouyea 
Hall of Fame and Communications Director 
Longfellow and Ten Broeck, two of the most accomplished and celebrated American racehorses of the 19th century, will forever be linked even though they never crossed paths on the racetrack during their remarkable careers. Representing the Harper family’s Nantura Stock Farm, located near Midway, Kentucky, Longfellow and Ten Broeck had few peers during their respective runs of dominance in the 1870s. Longfellow, known as the “King of the Turf,” came along first, winning 13 of his 16 starts from 1870 through 1872. Ten Broeck, meanwhile, made his debut in 1875 and won 23 of his 29 races. He reeled off 15 consecutive victories at one point and set six American records at distances ranging from one to four miles by the time he retired in 1878. Both Longfellow (1971) and Ten Broeck (1982) were eventually elected to the Hall of Fame.

Sande was a Dandy: Hall of Famer was one of the most accomplished jockeys of all time

Submitted by bbouyea on Thu, Oct 28 2021 3:13 pm

Earl Sande won nine Triple Crown races in his remarkable career

By Brien Bouyea
Hall of Fame and Communications Director

Throughout the 1920s — an era commonly referred to as the Golden Age of Sports — Earl Sande occupied a place alongside Babe Ruth, Jack Dempsey, Bobby Jones, Bill Tilden, and Red Grange in the pantheon of America’s most revered athletes. Hailed by many as the greatest jockey of his time, Sande won nine Triple Crown races, including a sweep of the series in 1930 with Gallant Fox. He piloted some of the greatest racehorses of his era and was a favorite among scribes of the day, immortalized as the “Handy Guy” by newspaperman Damon Runyon. Sande later enjoyed success as a trainer and was enshrined in the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame as a member of the inaugural class of 1955.

Old Rosebud: Hall of Famer was a record-setting Kentucky Derby winner

Submitted by bbouyea on Tue, Sep 28 2021 1:23 pm

Beloved gelding set seven track records during a remarkable career that featured multiple comebacks

By Brien Bouyea
Hall of Fame and Communications Director
In a remarkable and unique career that spanned almost a decade, Old Rosebud displayed a fierce competitive nature and the courage of a champion time by overcoming a series of significant injuries to become one of the greatest racehorses in the annals of the American turf.

Assault: Against All Odds

Submitted by bbouyea on Wed, Aug 25 2021 11:43 am

Seventy-five years ago, Assault proved the doubters wrong by sweeping the Triple Crown in a style all his own

By Brien Bouyea
Hall of Fame and Communications Director

America’s seventh Triple Crown winner was the first to be bred and foaled beyond the borders of the blueblood breeding ground of Kentucky. In the southern part of Texas, at the sprawling King Ranch — a farm with more acreage than the state of Rhode Island — Assault entered the world on March 26, 1943. There were no prognostications of greatness for the smallish chestnut colt, especially after he stepped on something sharp, purportedly a surveyor’s stake, which pierced his right front foot and resulted in deformation and a permanent limp at a walk or trot.

Clarence Kummer: A Quiet Path to Greatness

Submitted by bbouyea on Tue, Aug 10 2021 2:09 pm

Best known for his association with Man o’ War, Hall of Fame jockey Clarence Kummer wasn’t as flashy as some of his contemporaries, but his achievements guaranteed his status as one of the elite riders of the 1920s

By Brien Bouyea
Hall of Fame and Communications Director
At the dawn of the Roaring Twenties, the American sports scene was entering a nicknamed era of its own — the Golden Age. Baseball had Babe Ruth, who was swatting home runs at a prodigious rate and dizzying turnstiles throughout the country. In the boxing ring, heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey was on par with the Bambino as a drawing card and public idol. Baseball and boxing were joined by thoroughbred racing as the decade’s most popular sports. In 1920 — when Ruth crushed a record 54 homers and Dempsey walloped Billy Miske and Bill Brennan in the early days of his four-year reign as champ — Man o’ War was decimating all his competition on the racetrack during an undefeated 11-race campaign. In the irons aboard Man o’ War for nine of those victories was a little-known member of the Hall of Fame, 21-year-old Clarence Kummer.  

Historical horse profile: Irish Lad

Submitted by bbouyea on Wed, Jul 14 2021 10:24 am

Champion 2-year-old of 1902 brought Harry Payne Whitey and Herman B. Duryea to prominence in American racing

By Brien Bouyea
Hall of Fame and Communications Director 

Harry Payne Whitney was just starting to dabble in thoroughbred racing when he purchased the promising colt Irish Lad in partnership with Herman B. Duryea in the spring of 1902. Bred by H. Eugene Leigh, Irish Lad was sold to John E. Madden as a yearling in the fall of 1901 for $2,550. Madden meticulously prepared Irish Lad for the races and received a healthy return on his investment when he resold the horse to Whitney and Duryea for $17,500.

Ruthless: First Belmont belonged to a filly

Submitted by bbouyea on Wed, Jun 2 2021 3:13 pm

Hall of Famer also won the 1867 Travers Stakes

By Brien Bouyea
Hall of Fame and Communications Director 
Ruthless was exactly what her name suggested she was. The most accomplished of the famed “Barbarous Battalion,” Ruthless earned her high place in racing history by winning the first edition of the Belmont Stakes in 1867 at Jerome Park and the fourth running of the Travers later that summer at Saratoga.

Survivor: Forgotten star of the first Preakness

Submitted by bbouyea on Wed, May 12 2021 3:47 pm

A crowd of 12,000 was on hand at Pimlico Race Course in 1873 for the first running of one of America’s most iconic races

By Brien Bouyea
Hall of Fame and Communications Director

The Preakness Stakes was first contested in 1873, six years after the inaugural Belmont Stakes, and two years before the maiden running of the Kentucky Derby. It was a time of healing in America. The country was slowly being stitched back together both physically and emotionally during the Reconstruction period in the aftermath of the Civil War. Thoroughbred racing was on the ascent and playing a significant role in the new America. State officials in Maryland — which had a distinguished racing history and traced its Jockey Club’s origins to 1743 — desired a piece of the post-war turf action.

Aristides: The original Kentucky Derby hero

Submitted by bbouyea on Wed, May 12 2021 3:24 pm

In 1875, the “little red horse” won the inaugural edition of America’s most famous horse race

By Brien Bouyea
Hall of Fame and Communications Director 

The name Aristides was derived from the ancient Greek words “Aristos,” which means “best,” and “Eidos,” defined as “type” or “species.” The name was carried by an obscure second-century saint and later more famously by a fifth-century Athenian statesman, “Aristides the Just,” who was lauded for his integrity. On May 17, 1875, a small chestnut racehorse bearing the historic name Aristides proved to be the “best of his type” in a new sporting spectacle that generated tremendous anticipation prior to its debut — the inaugural Kentucky Derby.

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