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Samuel Purdy

Samuel Purdy
Induction Year: 
Career Years: 
First half of the 19th century

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    Samuel Purdy was a well known amateur rider in the early 19th century, but he gained lasting fame as a substitute rider in the first Thoroughbred battle between North and South.


    In 1823 American Eclipse, representing the North, met Sir Henry at the Union Course on Long Island. In the first 4-mile heat, Sir Henry defeated the unbeaten American Eclipse in track record time. Dissatisfied northerners called for a new rider and Samuel Purdy was pulled from the crowd. He won the next two heats to take the match.


    Competition between the North and South continued in this fashion for the next few decades and reached its final bloody conclusion in the Civil War. Ironically, the sport which served as an early battleground for sectional rivalry was nearly destroyed by the war in the south.


    Samuel Purdy was inducted in the Hall of Fame in 1970.