Sept. 1886: Reports of Kingston’s demise are premature

PHOTO - Kingston (Bit & Spur Vol. 11 No. 1 Jan 1912)

Photo of Kingston (1884 br. c. Spendthrift – Kapanga (GB) by Victorious (GB)) as published in Bit & Spur (Vol. 11, No. 1), January 1912.

On September 25, 1886, a small piece of text nestled in the second column of page three of The New York Times raised alarm among racegoers:

“The great 2-year-old Kingston, by Spendthrift, out of imp. Kapanga, by Victorious, died of lockjaw at Jerome Park, a few days ago. He was a colt of high class and was the third best of the 2-year-olds shown this year. He was purchased at the Spendthrift sale of yearlings at the Madison-Square Garden last year by E. V. Snedeker & Co. for $2,250, and started six times during the present season.

His first appearance was in the Sapling Stakes at Monmouth Park, July 20, and ran second to Hanover. He was again second to Austriana in the Seabright Stakes four days after; won the August Stakes on Aug. 3, ran second to Tremont in the Junior Champion Stakes, then won the Select Stakes, beating King Fox, and finally ran second to the latter in the Flatbush Stakes at Sheepshead Bay, Sept. 11. This was his last appearance. His loss will be regretted by all admirers of the race horse, as the great 3-year-old stakes of next year would have been full of interest with such contestants as Kingston, King Fox, and Tremont. The winnings of Kingston amounted to $11,455.”

The announcement would result in much confusion on part of Kingston’s connections, who had an injured, but very much alive Kingston in the barn. The Times would issue a retraction the next day:

“The announcement of Kingston’s death from lockjaw yesterday appears to have been premature. Although suffering from a bad leg his speedy recovery is now looked for by his trainer, Eph Snedeker, who said yesterday that he himself was partly to blame for the spread of the report of the colt’s death. Dr. Farley, the veterinary surgeon, had said that the colt would be in danger of lockjaw from the wound, and the report spread and was enlarged upon until the colt’s death was reported.”

Racing until the age of ten, the immensely popular Kingston would retire from the turf with a record of (138) 89-33-12.

“It is not necessary that one should admit himself to be an impressionable or sentimental person to say that old Kingston has more friends among the race-goers than any other racehorse alive.” (Louisville Courier-Journal, 11/10/1893)

Leading sire in North America in 1900 and 1910, Kingston would ultimately pass of old age on December 6, 1912 at the age of twenty-eight. He was inducted into the U. S. Racing Hall of Fame in 1955.

Rose Queen (DRF 1909.08.19)

Kingston’s stakes winning daughter Rose Queen. Photo as published in the Daily Racing Form, 08/19/1909.


Ballyhoo Bey (The Wizard of the Turf)

Kingston’s Futurity winning son Ballyhoo Bey.
Photo as published in The Wizard of the Turf: John E. Madden of Hamburg Place by Kent Hollingsworth.


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