Starter H. D. “Curley” Brown incenses the masses, 1901

“There was a most remarkable demonstration at Churchill Downs today [5th race, 05/04/1901] against Starter “Curley” Brown, and but for the presence of the police it is likely the flag wielder have been mobbed. The cause of the trouble was that Brown sent St. Marcos away with a long lead in the fifth race. The distance was a mile and seventy yards and the start was in front of the grand stand in plain view of the big half-holiday crowd. St. Marcos was the medium of a good sized betting coup by a wise coterie, and the Texas horse was backed down from 2 to 1 to 7 to 10, while the public backed General Mart Gary and some of the others.

After calling the field back three or four times Brown dropped his flag with St. Marcos in front and running. The horse is a quick breaker, and he opened up a gap in the first few strides which made the start look even worse than it was. A good proportion of the crowd of 5,000 or more showed its disapproval by hissing the starter. Brown took his hat off and bowed and that seemed to set the crowd wild, and a rush was made for the judges’ stand while Brown was walking across the track. For a time it looked as if the high fence would be no bar to those who were attempting to get to him. A strong force of police, however, barred the way, and for ten minutes the unlucky starter had to stand and listen to the uncomplimentary remarks which were hurled at him. No such demonstration was ever seen at a race track in the West before. The oddest part of it all is that the Louisville racing public has had nothing but bad starting for number of years, and up to the St. Marcos race the starting has been good.” (Chicago Daily Tribune, 05/05/1901)

St. Marcos - 1901.05.04 CD chart (DRF 1901.05.05)

Daily Racing Form, 05/05/1901


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