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)

Chart (and photo) of the week: 27-horse field at Belmont, August 1945

On August 7, 1945, the fourth race at the wartime Saratoga at Belmont meeting masqueraded as a cavalry charge when twenty-seven colts and geldings took to the starting gate for a 5 ½ furlong maiden event.

The race was won by Top Flight’s cousin Our Bully (Bull Lea), who scored by a half-length over Uncle Mac (Rhodes Scholar (FR)), with Count Fleet’s full brother Count Speed (Reigh Count) next back in third.

The New York Times, 08/08/1945

27-horse maiden race at Belmont Park (08/07/1945), won by Our Bully.
Photo available from (Part number: nes42227).

Chart(s) of the week: Princequillo’s 2-year-old struggles

While Princequillo (IRE) would become a solid stakes performer in his later years as the distances increased, nine out of ten of his starts as a 2-year-old were in the claiming ranks.

Racing at distances from 5 ½ furlongs to 1 mile, Princequillo’s lone non-claiming appearance did not come until his final start of the year – a last place finish in the Sporting Plate Handicap (6f) at the United Hunts Racing Association’s Belmont Park meeting in November 1942. He would conclude his juvenile season with a record of (10) 3-2-3 and $3,575 in earnings.

*Note: This Sporting Plate Handicap was a 2-year-old race held over the years as part of the United Hunts at Belmont meeting, and is an altogether different race from the Sporting Plate Handicap run from the late 1970s to late 1990s at Aqueduct.

The New York Times, 07/24/1942

Princequillo chart (NYT 1942.07.30)

The New York Times, 07/30/1942

Princequillo chart (NYT 1942.08.07)

The New York Times, 08/07/1942

The New York Times, 08/21/1942

The New York Times, 08/28/1942

The New York Times, 09/15/1942

The New York Times, 09/29/1942

The New York Times, 10/08/1942

The New York Times, 11/11/1942

The New York Times, 11/15/1942

Chart of the week: Black Toney’s maiden race, May 1913

Ok, the title is a bit of a misnomer, as the last “Chart of the Week” post prior to this was in August 2016, but hope springs eternal.

“E. R. Bradley’s Black Toney, the first of Peter Pan’s get to start this season in these parts, spreadeagled his opposition in the second race, consisting of 11 other youngsters, the Californian Sosius taking second place and the favorite, Francis, outside of the money.” (Cincinnati Enquirer, 05/15/1913)

Cincinnati Enquirer, 05/15/1913

Of additional note, fourth place horse Christophine (Plaudit) would go on to set a new world record for 1 mile (1:36 ⅘) at Juarez on March 11, 1914, lowering the previous record of 1:37 set by Bonne Chance (Orsini) also at Juarez in January 1914. Christophine’s record would stand for six months until lowered by Stromboli’s (Fair Play) 1:36 ⅗ at Belmont Park in September 1914.

Chart (and photo) of the week: Beldame wins the 1905 Suburban Handicap

On June 8, 1905, the 4-year-old Octagon filly Beldame would defeat Cairngorm (Star Ruby (GB)) by 1 ½ lengths to land her first win of the season in the Standard Stakes (1 ¼ mi.) at Gravesend.

Having previously run unplaced in the Metropolitan Handicap (1 mi.) at Belmont Park and second in a mile and a sixteenth handicap at Gravesend, Beldame’s win in the Standard Stakes inspired confidence in her backers, as the race was run under the same weight-for-age conditions as the rapidly approaching Suburban Handicap (1 ¼ mi.) at Sheepshead Bay on June 15.

One week later, despite a bookmakers’ strike which suspended betting at the Sheepshead Bay track for half an hour, Beldame would go off as a 7-2 second choice in the Suburban betting behind James R. Keene’s Ben Brush colt Delhi at 3-1.

Typically a hot tempered filly, Beldame was unusually calm and collected while lining up for the start of the race, with Delhi causing the most trouble at the line, and broke well, laying behind pace setter Delhi for roughly the first mile, then taking charge in the final quarter to defeat Proper (Prestonpans (GB)) by a length for the win. Delhi would tire to finish fifth.

CHART - 1905 Suburban H. (NYT 1905.06.16)

The New York Times, 06/16/1905

In addition to becoming only the second female horse to win the Suburban (Imp – 1899), Beldame’s final time of 2:05 ⅗ would go down as the third fastest recorded (Hermis – 2:05 (1904)); Gold Heels – 2:05 ⅕ (1902)) in the twenty-two year history of the race.

Interestingly, many online sources give a remarkably different finish to the 1905 Suburban, listing Beldame as having beaten Broomstick by five lengths. Beldame did beat Broomstick by four lengths in the Second Special (1 ½ mi.) at Gravesend on September 24, 1904, but unless timelines have diverged somewhere, he did not contest that next year’s Suburban.

Following the race, Beldame’s owner/breeder August Belmont “said that he would keep the mare in training through the remainder of the season, but will select her future races with great care, as he will not permit her to be raced excessively, his intention being to retire her while still sound and in full vigor as a brood mare,” and (despite earlier reports that she was to go to Hamburg) stated that she was to be bred to Clarence Mackay’s St. Gatien (GB) stallion Meddler (GB) upon her retirement.

“This decision, Mr. Belmont said, was in deference to the opinion of a majority of experts on breeding, reached through a competition conducted in Kentucky last Winter, when the weight of opinion was that the union of the blood of Meddler and Beldame would be the most successful cross possible to find for the filly.” (The New York Times, 06/16/1905)

PHOTO - Beldame wins 1905 Suburban (HW Vol. XLIX, No. 2532, 1905.07.01)

Beldame (1901 ch. f. Octagon – Bella Donna (GB) by Hermit (GB)) wins the 1905 Suburban Handicap at Sheepshead Bay (Coney Island Jockey Club) over Proper (2nd) and First Mason (3rd). Photo as published in Harper’s Weekly (Vol. XLIX, No. 2532), 07/01/1905.

Chart of the Week: Leochares carries 145 lbs. in the Momus Highweight Handicap

PHOTO - Leochares (LCJ 1917.02.17)

Louisville Courier-Journal, 02/17/1917

On January 9, 1917, the seven-year-old veteran campaigner Leochares (Broomstick) carried 130 lbs. while scoring a runaway ten-length win in a purse at New Orleans’ Crescent City Race Course. His final time of 1:12 equaled the track record set by the Bonnie Joe mare Useeit on January 29, 1915.

Fresh off of this outstanding effort, Leochares would take to the track again at Crescent City on February 16 in the six furlong Momus Highweight Handicap, where despite shouldering a crushing burden of 145 lbs., he would once again equal the track record in recording a half-length win over J. J. Murdock (Contestor).

CHART - Leochares Momus Highweight H. (DRF 1917.02.17)

Daily Racing Form, 02/17/1917

Leochares would ultimately set or equal at least the following records over the course of his career:

  • ETR at Aqueduct (9/17/1917): 6.5f in 1:18 (carrying 124 lbs.).
  • ETR at New Orleans [Crescent City] (2/16/1917): 6f in 1:12 in the Momus Highweight H. (carrying 145 lbs.).
  • ETR at New Orleans [Crescent City] (01/09/1917): 6f in 1:12 (carrying 130 lbs.).
  • NTR at Bowie (11/24/1916): 1 mi. in 1:41 in the Terminal Purse (carrying 114 lbs.), defeating Bondage.
  • NTR at Pimlico (11/04/1916): 6f in 1:11 ⅘ in the Pimlico Fall Serial Handicap No. 1 (carrying 133 lbs.), defeating Prince of Como, Rhine Maiden, Runes.
  • NTR at Fort Erie (08/05/1914): 6f in 1:11 ⅖ (carrying 102 lbs.), defeating Little Nephew, Pan Zareta.
  • EAR at Louisville [Douglas Park] (10/03/1913): 6f in 1:10 ⅘ (carrying 109 lbs.), defeating Helios, Iron Mask, Helen Barbee, Pan Zareta.
  • NTR at Louisville [Douglas Park] (09/26/1913): 1 mi. in 1:37 ¾ (carrying 101 lbs.), defeating Kleburne, Prince Hermis.
PHOTO Leochares (TB Record, Vol. 18 No. 18, 1914.10.31)

Thoroughbred Record (Vol. 18, No. 18), 10/31/1914