Chart (and photo) of the week: Superman wins the 1907 Brooklyn Handicap

Chart: New York Daily Tribune, 05/21/1907. Note that Superman won the race “cleverly.”

PHOTO - Superman Brooklyn H. (HW Vol. LI No. 2632 1907.06.01)

Superman (1904. ch. c. by Commando – Anomaly (GB) by Bend Or (GB)) wins the 1907 Brooklyn Handicap at Gravesend.
Photo by N. W. Penfield as published in Harper’s Weekly (Vol. LI, No. 2632), 06/01/1907.

“Started as a forlorn hope, in the face of conditions that seemed overwhelmingly against him, Superman won the Brooklyn Handicap in one of the most remarkable races that a three-year-old ever ran against mature horses. Confronted by a track deep in mud and slush, going to which Superman had shown a strong dislike, James R. Keene, owner of the colt, abandoned all hope of a victory when he arrived at the Gravesend race course yesterday afternoon, and, though Superman had been trained especially for the big event and his stable had considered his chances second to no horse engaged up to the time of the rain Sunday night, Mr. Keene gave orders for Superman to be scratched.

James Rowe, trainer of the Keene stable, alone of the Keene establishment, remained undismayed, however, and to his urgent appeal and argument that in spite of the heavy going, Superman had a good chance, because of his class and perfect racing condition, Mr. Keene yielded, after the report was already in circulation that Superman would not start, and the colt remained in the Brooklyn field, to make turf history by a performance that ranks with the most brilliant victories for the great handicap.

Superman ran a splendidly trained and courageous colt, and, fighting through a long, hard struggle, won the big prize after looking hopelessly beaten six furlongs from the finish. Gallant as was Superman’s effort, Mr. Keene put the victory in a new light to horsemen when he paid tribute to the skill of Jockey Walter Miller, who rode the victor.

Superman ran a superb race under conditions that tried his courage as severely as his speed, and his victory was the sweetest to his owner and breeder of all the four triumphs that have been earned by Keene horses in the Brooklyn Handicap.

The race proved disappointing in everything else than the achievement of Superman, for the condition of the track was such that the field originally announced to start was badly cut up by scratches, and the very conditions that caused the best of the older horses to be scratched induced owners to add two horses which were supposed to be favored by the heavy going. The rain in the night, followed by more rain in the morning at Gravesend, left the course with a surface of liquid mud covering an under stratum of sticky loam, and the trainers of six of the horses named on the programme had only to glance at the track to decide that their horses should remain in the stable. Among the horses scratched were Arcite, though favorite for the Kentucky Derby, passed that race by on account of a muddy track; Dandelion, and Tokalon, the Brooklyn Handicap winner of a year ago. Other horses scratched were Salvidere, Accountant, and Blandy, the six withdrawals reducing the original field of fifteen to nine.

It was known early, however, that because of the mud Trainer Henry McDaniel had decided to add Good Luck to the Brooklyn field, and it was in no sense a surprise when August Belmont’s three-year-old gelding Okenite, always at home in muddy going, was another added starter, bringing the number of runners up to eleven. In spite of the popular interest in the great race, the rule put in force at Belmont Park of holding back the official announcement of the starters until ten minutes before the time set for the race was observed, and all the horses had been through their warming-up gallops and were in the paddock again before the crowd knew what were to be the starters and who the riders were.

The ten minutes rule for betting resulted in a terrific crush in the rings, but even in the limited time permitted for speculation there were some quick changes in the ruling odds, Go Between, Suburban winner of a year ago, which was the opening favorite, being backed down, while on their reported dislike to the mud the three-year-olds Superman and Sewell both went back in the betting. The speculation in the meantime uncovered two “tips” in Buttling and both the Western horse Beacon Light, both of which were heavily backed as good things, Buttling starting second choice to Go Between, while Beacon Light, against which was as long a price as 100 to 1 was laid, went to the post at 30 to 1, though layers were not eager to offer that price.

The warming-up moves were of a perfunctory nature, because of the deep going, but most of the better-backed and more prominent horses cantered through the stretch. Go Between attracting the most attention because of his known ability to race well in mud, and his conspicuous place in the betting.

The parade to the starting post was made with Sewell absent, Sewell, by special permission, having been led to the post in advance of the field. Go Between, the top weight, led the line to the post, the other horses following in the order of the weights, except for the added starters, of which Good Luck was the rear guard. In the chute, at the head of the stretch, the starting point for the mile and a quarter, the horses took their positions with rare docility, and were abreast and facing the barrier, ready for the send-off, so quickly that the start was made with the watching crowd unprepared for it. The Winter campaigner Nealon had the rail, with Okenite next to him, Go Between, Sewell, Buttling, Oxford, Beacon Light, Good Luck, Flip Flap, and Beauclere ranging out in that order from the inside and Superman on the extreme outside.

The barrier was lifted to a perfect start within a few seconds after the horses reached the post, and the field went away as one horse, Superman being the first to break the line and show in front, with Okenite second, Beacon Light third, Nealon fourth, and the others well bunched, with Beauclere last. In the same order they came to the stand the first time at a swift pace in spite of the mud, and a struggle on even at that early stage of the contest, Superman going on to hold the track, while Okenite rushed after him in a desperate effort to wrest the lead from him, Beacon Light in the meantime racing out just behind Okenite, with the same wish for the first place.

Mud showered on the trailers, as the leaders began the first turn opposite the paddock, Superman swinging to the rail there, and Okenite being forced to go around him, while Beacon Light hung just at their heels. Around the turn to the back stretch Superman and Okenite raced as if they already were finishing, and as Okenite, outrunning Superman, showed his head in front as they rounded into the back stretch there arose first a murmur, then a shout, that Superman was beaten. The Keene colt actually was sprawling in the heavy and slippery mud and Okenite drew away from him and went on clear in front as the run through the back stretch was began, and then, as Miller took hold of Superman to steady him, Beacon Light went past and then Nealon showed before the Keene colt.

Still further back on the trailers Superman went in the run down the back stretch, but he never dropped out of his place, though Okenite, Beacon Light, and Nealon went further and further away from him in the run to the far turn, while Go Between, far back in the crowd, and running in the deepest part of the mud on the rail, already looked beaten and out of the contest, along with Buttling and Sewell. Going to the far turn, Nealon made a move for the lead and swiftly closed on Okenite and Beacon Light, the three horses running lapped as they rounded the turn, with Superman still fourth, and for the remainder of the race these were the only contenders.

The three horses in front were struggling on still lapped, when in the middle of the turn Superman began to pick up the pacemakers again, and then, coming to the second run through the stretch, shot up and joined in the contest anew, at the moment that Okenite weakened and began to fall back. As Okenite went back there still were three horses abreast, and Superman was one of the three. Nealon showed in front for just a moment, then gave place to Superman, which, going around on the outside, was in front as the horses straightened out for the final run down the straight.

In that move the Keene horse brought both Nealon and Beacon Light to the last resort, the whip and under the punishment the older horses hung beside him for the next furlong. Then Superman began to draw away. It took his best effort though, and, hard ridden to within a stride or two of the post, Superman came on and won a gallant race by a length from Beacon Light, with the tired Nealon third.

The time of the race was 2:00, exactly the same figure which was made when Conroy, in 1901, racing for the same owner, and in a blinding rainstorm, earned the distinction of being the first three-year-old to win a Brooklyn Handicap, though Superman is the third three-year-old now that has won the big event. The fractional time showed a singularly good pace, a killing rate of speed, in fact, for such going, as the first quarter was done in 0:23 3-5, the three furlongs in 0:35 4-5, the half mile in 0:48 1-5, the five furlongs in 1:01 1-5, the six furlongs in 1:14, the seven furlongs in 1:28, and the mile in 1:42.” (The New York Times, 05/21/1907)

Chart of the week: Altawood wins the 1924 Pimlico Cup in a blinding snowstorm

The Washington Post, 11/16/1924.

“Running right back to his victory in the Bowie handicap last Tuesday, Altawood, bearing the scarlet and white striped colors of J. E. Widener, the Philadelphia sportsman, was a galloping winner yesterday in the sixth annual renewal of the Pimlico cup, the feature of the closing-day program, which was run off in a snowstorm for the first time in the history of the sport in Maryland.

The Belair stud’s Aga Khan, who was beaten a head by Altawood in the Bowie, finished second to him again yesterday though he was whipped more decisively. The Lilane stable’s Sunsini was third, while the Salubria stable’s My Own, the only other starter, who essayed the 2 ¼ mile journey, was pulled up at the head at the head of the stretch and finished a bad last.

The storm, which began with a drizzling rain in the early morning, became so heavy during the early part of the afternoon that it was impossible to distinguish colors in the backstretch or at the upper turn during the first three races, but it had abated somewhat by post time for the feature event and the subsequent races and the crowd, which was exceptionally large considering the mean weather, had no trouble following the running during the rest of the day.

The rain and snow left the track in a treacherous state of mud and slush, which the favorites for the most part had difficulty in negotiating, though in the races where there was any semblance of class the choices ran through it all right.

The Pimlico cup was run in much the same fashion as the Bowe except that Johnny Maiben allowed Sunsini and My Own to make the pace instead of going to the top with Aga Khan as he did on that occasion, while Ivan Parke, as usual, dropped Altawood in behind his field.

They maintained this order for the first mile and a half with Marinelli steering Sunsini wide all the way in the better going, as he has no particular fondness for mud. At the far turn there was a general closing up and My Own bore out almost to the middle of the track before Babin could straighten him out, while Aga Khan and Altawood moved up on the leader.

Circling the bend it was apparent that Altawood would be the winner as he was running at Aga Khan’s throat latch with Parke still having him under restraint. As they swung into the stretch he bounded away from the Omar Khayam colt without trouble to go on to a three-length victory, without ever being fully extended.

Aga Khan ran his customary honest race, and had no trouble trimming the tiring Sunsini for the place. There was some who contended that if Maiben had not made the pace in the Bowie with him he would have beaten Altawood yesterday’s performance convinced them that he is no match for the son of Master Robert – Crestwood Girl over a distance of ground.

After bearing out on the far turn, My Own ran almost to the outside fence at the head of the stretch and finished next to the rail with Babin easing up. It was at first thought that he had broken down by William Brooks, his trainer, announced that he had pulled up sound. The presence of My Own in the race occasioned no little surprise as his aversion to anything but a hard track is known to all. His trainer was against starting him, but Admiral Cary T. Grayson, owner of the Salubria stable, insisted on it.

“I know he can’t run in the mud, but maybe he can in a snowstorm,” said the Admiral, and My Own was sent to the post.

Altawood paid 1 to 2 in the mutuels and his victory was worth $7,950 to Mr. Widener. Aga Khan earned $2,00 by running second, Sunsini $1,000 and My Own $500. Mr. Widener bought Altawood about a month ago at a reported price of $40,000 and his triumphs in the Bowie and Pimlico cup have already netted him about half that sum. If he continues to go on next year, there is no question but that he will prove a big bargain for the Quaker City sportsman.”
(Harry Stringer / The Washington Post, 11/16/1924)

Photo: the four-star Ace Admiral at Santa Anita, June 1949

Ace Admiral (1945 ch. c. by Heliopolis (GB) – War Flower by Man o’ War) at Santa Anita, 06/27/1949.
Photo: Los Angeles Public Library, Item 00115936, Valley Times Collection.

One month after this photo was taken, the Travers, Lawrence Realization, and Santa Anita Maturity-winning Ace Admiral would go on to set a new world record for 1 ⅝ miles (13f) in the Sunset Handicap at the Hollywood Park at Santa Anita meeting.

Under a 122 lb. impost, Ace Admiral’s time of 2:39 ⅘ took a full second off of the previous record of 2:40 ⅘, which was held co-jointly by his grandsire Man o’ War, set in the 1920 Lawrence Realization at Belmont Park under 126 lbs., and Historian, set in the 1946 Sunset Handicap at Hollywood Park under 121 lbs.

Ace Admiral’s record would be lowered by Swaps (2:38 ⅕ under 130 lbs.) in the Sunset Handicap at Hollywood Park in July 1956, a record which still stands today.

Los Angeles Times, 07/24/1949

Chart of the week: Double Jay wins the 1948 Idlewild Handicap

The New York Times, 04/10/1948

“Ridgewood Stable’s Double Jay, which won no races and $35,600 at Santa Anita last winter, won one race and $4,905 at Jamaica yesterday, as he spread-eagled the field of the Idlewild Handicap at a mile and a sixteenth. He was the third consecutive favorite to win, gave Eddie Arcaro another double, and paid $4.30.

William Helis’s Elpis, which also campaigned at Santa Anita last winter, trailed the field for nearly six furlongs, then ran past the others to be second, four lengths behind the winner, a bit more than a length ahead of Sunshine Stable’s Lets Dance. Bug Juice and Reckon completed the field as named.

The field finished into a stiff wind which held the time to 1:47 ⅖, and held the crowd to 23,124. The race began with Lets Dance sprinting away to lead by daylight around the first turn, but Arcaro and Double Jay never let him get far away, took him when it was time to go and had nothing to beat off in the stretch.

Double Jay, four-year-old son of Balladier, was bred by John W. Stanley, who bought his dam, Broomshot, privately for $800, a few minutes after Ed Janss, of California, had bought her at auction for $700. He sold Double Jay privately to the Ridgewood Stable – James Boines and James Tigani, of Wilmington – for $30,000, and a year later sold his full brother, the recent winner, Jet Black, for $26,000 at auction.

The first race of record for Double Jay came when he was a yearling. He was running in his paddock near Lexington when one of Stanley’s peacocks came into the enclosure. Double Jay raced it to the fence, won, got most of a peacock’s tail as a trophy. But officially he did not start until Feb. 22, 1946, at Hialeah. Next Monday is his actual fourth birthday.

At two he won four stakes, going up to a mile, and in the Free Handicap of his year he was rated at 126 pounds, in a tie for first place with Cosmic Bomb and the filly First Flight. Last year he won four stakes, including the Riggs Handicap, and was placed in six others. This came after a shaky start since he trained badly for the pre-Derby races. For the first year and a half he was trained by the veteran Walter (Duke) McCue, but for about the last year has been handled by Claude Veitner.

Last winter he did not win in five starts at Santa Anita, but was third in the $100,000 Maturity Stakes and Santa Anita Handicap, and second in the San Antonio. Through yesterday his record included thirty-three starts, thirteen victories, and earnings of $213,130.” (Joe H. Palmer / New York Herald Tribune, 04/10/1948)

Chart of the week: the 1947 Empire City Stakes

The New York Times, 07/06/1947

“C. V. Whitney’s stretch-running Phalanx, perversely fond of Jamaica’s short stretch, carried his top weight to an easy victory in the Empire City Stakes yesterday, adding $38,500 to his already considerable earnings, and a bit of pessimism to the owners and trainers of the three-year-olds which seem condemned to chase him through the season’s other rich specials.

Two lengths behind him, aided by a big saving of ground on the last turn, was King Ranch’s good filly, But Why Not. She had stretched Phalanx to his utmost in the Dwyer stakes three weeks earlier but she was no match for him yesterday, despite a ten-pound concession by the weight scale. A half-length back in third place was John J. Watts’s Harmonica, and Greentree’s Tailspin was another head back.

Phalanx’s success, his fifth this year and his fourth in succession, ran his earnings to $275,010, and lifted him from thirty-fourth to twentieth place among American money winners.

Matters were proceeding evenly until Ruperto Donoso rapped Phalanx with his whip on the final turn. Thereafter there was a flash of the Whitney Blue on the outside, and $2 tickets on Phalanx became worth $3.40.

Harmonica, winner of the Coaching Club American Oaks this year, made the running at first, with Tide Rips, surprise second in the Belmont, outside her. Donor, But Why Not and Brabancon went along a couple of lengths back of the leaders, racing almost together. Tailspin seemed to be waiting for Phalanx, which was in no hurry.

The order held for nearly a mile, though the field bunched. Donor was the first to yield, and he swerved out as he tired. Inside him, but outside the others, came Phalanx with his familiar burst, and he went stoutly to the front. In the upper stretch he lugged in slightly, and for a moment it seemed he might interfere with Tailspin, which was still well in the battle. But Donoso pulled the favorite straight again and he finished some twenty feet from the rail, going easily. Donoso said later that he hit him once, “to wake him up.”

A son of Pilate and the crack race mare Jacola, Phalanx was bred in Virginia by Abram Hewitt, who subsequently sold a half-interest in him to Mr. Whitney, in whose name the colt races officially. Both owners were present yesterday. Phalanx won two stakes last year when the distance for two-year-old races lengthened out past a mile, and he was expected to be one of the top stayers this season.

He won the Wood Memorial in such fashion as to suggest high class, but he was beaten a head by Jet Pilot in the Derby and he ran third in the Preakness. Tailspin and Brabancon beat him in the Peter Pan, both getting heavy weight concessions.

At this stage Phalanx’s trainer, Sylvester Veitch, remembering how kindly Phalanx had run last year for Donoso, switched from Arcaro to the thirty-five–year-old Chilean rider, and Phalanx has not been beating since, winning the Belmont and Dwyer stakes, and a condition race here last Monday.

However, Donoso’s association with Phalanx has not always been pleasant. In the Walden Stakes last fall Phalanx, in the midst of his closing run, stumbled and pounced Donoso solidly on the Pimlico track.

Phalanx now takes the three-year-old leadership beyond dispute. Jet Pilot, which beat him in their only meeting, has been permanently retired. Faultless, which defeated him soundly in the Preakness, was soundly vanquished in the Belmont and has not been in action since.

The mile and three-sixteenths was run in 1:57 4-5, this being the slowest time since the race was put at its present distance. However, the Jamaica track seems slower this year than it has been in previous seasons.

But Why Not, which has a fair claim to the title of leading three-year-old filly, got $10,000 for her second and has now won $63,230. A grand-daughter of the brilliant racer, Black Helen, she went to King Ranch in the split of the E. R. Bradley horses. She is trained by Max Hirsch, whose son, Max Jr., trains Harmonica. The latter, which won one and lost one in her two meetings with But Why Not in filly stakes, has now earned $77,755.

The writer, shortly before the race, asked the Hirsch father-and-son combination if they intended to flip a nickel for this one. Their answer was fairly prophetic: they said they couldn’t find a seven-sided nickel.

A crowd of 32,314 was out, about 3,500 under that of July 4.”
(Joe H. Palmer / New York Herald Tribune, 07/06/1947)

Chart of the week: Discovery falters under 143 lbs. in the Merchants’ and Citizens’ Handicap, August 1936

The New York Times, 08/09/1936

“Saratoga Springs, N. Y., Aug. 8. – How much thoroughbred muscle and bone can stand is the question to the fore here today as Discovery failed gallantly under 143 pounds in the Merchants’ and Citizens handicap with Middleburg stable’s filly, Esposa, the winner under 100 pounds.

Young Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt sent out his champion son of Display as a sporting gesture to the public even though he believed in New York earlier in the season that the 144 pounds assigned in a handicap was more than any horse should be asked to carry. The biggest crowd of the season, 18,000 saw the race, and cheered Discovery in defeat as much as Esposa in victory.

Discovery was last in a field of five, which ran over a track rough and slow from the rain of the day before yesterday. The combination of weight and track were too much for Discovery, and this is taking nothing from the filly, who did all that was asked, and did it gamely and well.

She finished smartly a length before Count Arthur which was up to take the place by a head from Mantagna. Then came Giant Killer, while Discovery trailed. The mile and three-sixteenths test had a gross value of $11,050, of which $8,500 went to the owner of the winner. Nick Wall had the mount and got the filly home first in 2:00 2-5, very slow time even though Esposa’s was a nice effort.

There have been few racing days this season as satisfying to lovers of the thoroughbred. Despite the popularity of Discovery, and his known prowess as the champion, there were many who had misgivings as to any horse’s ability to carry 143 pounds. Thus the Vanderbilt color-bearer went to the post at 7 to 10, while Esposa was as good as 7 to 1.

Whisk Broom II carried 139 to victory in the Suburban of 1930 and Discovery carried the same impost to be first in last year’s Merchants’ and Citizens. Man o’ War’s top impost was 138 during his racing career. Even Exterminator, mighty cup horse of another day, failed at Latonia over a distance of ground under 140.

In sprint races the weight above 140 can be handled, as Roseben and many other thoroughbreds have shown. But over a distance of ground, poundage beyond 140 takes its toll. The impost today was 140, plus a three-pound penalty for the victory of Discovery at this course on Wednesday. The total of 143 and the track were too much.

The break was even after a brief time at the post and Johnny Bejshak, Discovery’s rider, had to change his mind in the first few seconds. His mount broke smartly, but he did not have his accustomed drive in getting away. For this the lead in the saddle was doubtless to blame.

In any event, instead of having his mount outrun his field to the first turn, as Discovery with such an even break might be expected to do, Bejshak found himself on the outside of four horses as they made the swing for the first turn. Thus he had to change tactics and try to rate behind the pace-setting Mantagna. That fellow stepped away smartly and opened a couple of lengths’ lead.

Most of the riders in most of the races were staying off the rail, and Bejshak took advantage of this when he tried to improve his position in the backstretch. He let the big horse slip down toward the rail, where there was clear sailing and perhaps poorer footing. In any event Discovery began to pick up those in front; by the time the far turn was reached the field had bunched and Discovery was in danger of being in close quarters.

But this never happened. Because Wall gave Esposa the call on the outside she moved up to challenge Mantagna, and Mantagna and Esposa moved away from the others. These events transpired in the run from the far turn to the top of the stretch. As the leaders came to the top of the home lane, it was seen that they were well off the rail and that Discovery had plenty of room to run.

Bejshak had not given up. He cut the corner with Discovery, saved all possible ground, and it was clear that he thought he needed to save ground. Discovery came on only momentarily and then he stopped. He could do no more.

Esposa and Mantagna on the head end had about finished their duel, with the filly the decisive winner. Mantagna tired and could not even withstand Count Arthur, which made his usual late charge and was good enough to be second.” (Bryan Field / The New York Times, 08/09/1936)