Horses of Yesteryear

Chart of the week: Beau Purple defeats Kelso and sets course record in the 1962 Man o’ War Stakes

Beau Purple defeats Kelso in the 1962 Man o’ War Stakes (12fT) at Belmont Park, 10/27/1962. Photo as published in Belmont Park, 1905-1968 (The New York Racing Association, 1968).


“The simple tactic of going to the front and staying there all the way resulted in victory once more for Jack Dreyfus’s Beau Purple yesterday.

The New York Times, 10/28/1962.

The 5-year-old son of Beau Gar, overlooked in such illustrious company as Kelso and Carry Back, thrilled a getaway-day crowd of 33,026 at Belmont Park by winning the mile-and-a-half Man o’ War Stakes by two lengths in record-breaking time.

A field of 12 competed in the $114,800 race, including a pair of campaigners from France. Bill Boland, riding Beau Purple, didn’t get a look at any of his opposition as he sped along in first place.

Finishing second was the highly favored Kelso. It was just these two at the finish, for the third horse, The Axe II of the Greentree Stable, was 6 ½ lengths farther back. Carry Back was fifth, back of Wise Ship.

Carrying 126 pounds in the weight-for-age test, Beau Purple covered the distance on the soft turf in 2 minutes 28 3/5 seconds. This knocked 3/5 of a second off the track mark made by Amber Morn as a 4-year-old, under 118 pounds, two years ago. In contributing the upset, Beau Purple rewarded his packers with a $43.30-for-$2 payoff in the straight wagering.

Beau Purple’s opposition, or rather the trainers of his opposition, refused to believe the “book” on the Dreyfus colt. He has a history of going to the font and staying there, contrary to all expectation.

He did the same thing in the Suburban Handicap, when he upset Kelso, and in the Brooklyn Handicap, when he finished well ahead of the fourth-place Carry Back. And last week, in the Gold Cup at Hawthorne, he did it again, on a sloppy track.

His fractions in the Man o’ War were 0:34 4/5, 0:49, 1:14 2/5 and 1:39 1/5. The one big “knock” against Beau Purple was that he had never been on the turf before, but he demonstrated that any footing suits him.

Ismael Valenzuela, aboard Kelso, contributed an even enough performance after getting away in fifth place. He gradually picked up those in front of him and when the field reached the stretch he had only Beau Purple to beat. The favorite players had only the smallest hope that Kelso could do it, though, for Beau Purple was moving with assurance and gave no indication of weakening approaching the wire.

As for Carry Back, he did not do any better than the betting board indicated he would. Sent off at 9 to 1, this 4-year-old colt owned by Mrs. Katherine Price moved in the pack all the way, improving only from seventh to fifth and just failing to get into the purse payoff. He was ridden by Johnny Rotz.

The winner’s share of the purse was $47,620. Kelso, as the runner-up, earned $22,960 for his owner, Mrs. Richard du Pont. A 5-year-old gelding, Kelso was the horse of the year for 1960 to 1961. The other purse payoffs were $11,480 to The Axe II, who was ridden by Bill Hartack, and $5,740 to Wise Ship, who was guided by Heliodoro Guistines.

Raymond Guest, the owner of the English Derby winner, Larkspur, made the presentation of the trophy to Dreyfus, while Boland and Hal Jerkens looked on. Jerkens is the 32-year-old trainer who has been so successful with Beau Purple. Dreyfus, 48, is the head of an investment firm.

The race was started from the gate, with all the contestants leaving from it. Val de Loir, one of the two French representatives, propped at the getaway, but managed to wind up in 10th place, ahead of Nasomo and Monade.

The last-named entrant, a 3-year-old filly, is also a French import. The order of finish after Carry Back was Honey Dear, Guadalcanal, T. V. Lark and Harmonizing.

Boland gave a plain enough description of Beau Purple’s performance: “I just let him run early and he went to the lead like he likes to do. He was going easy on the backstretch and into the far turn. I hit him coming into the stretch when Kelso came along and I thought Kelso would eat him up. But I kept hitting him and he kept running and Kelso never got there.”

Jerkens said: “Boland knew the horse and I left it up to him what to do out there.”

Dreyfus and Jerkens said that they would be glad to send Beau Purple into the Washington, D. C. International at Laurel on Nov. 12, “if he is invited.” There is no reason to believe that the horse will not be asked to the $125,00 race.

Beau Purple’s 1962 record shows eight victories in 19 starts, with earnings of $342,205. The 5-year-old horse is a Kentucky home-bred, whose mare was Water Queen.”
(Joseph C. Nichols / The New York Times, 10/28/1962)

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Photos of Singing Wood, ca. 1936

Just a few photos of the multiple stakes winning/placing Royal Minstrel (GB) horse Singing Wood, winner of $126,090 in five years of racing (1933-1937).

Photo of then 5-year-old Singing Wood at Santa Anita Park taken shortly after he won the Santa Margarita Handicap (7f) in January 1936. Photo: Los Angeles Daily News Negatives Collection, Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive, Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

Photo of then 5-year-old Singing Wood at Santa Anita Park taken shortly after he won the Santa Margarita Handicap (7f) in January 1936. Photo: Los Angeles Daily News Negatives Collection, Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive, Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

Undated photo of Singing Wood as published in John Hervey’s Racing in America, 1922-1936, privately published for The Jockey Club.

January 1937: Boxthorn recovers from bowed tendon, is promoted from Class C to Class A handicaps

Photo of Boxthorn (1932 br. c. by Blue Larkspur – Doreid (FR) by Galloping Simon (GB)) as published in the Los Angeles Times, 11/01/1936.

“Graduation ceremonies, slightly modified as far as the popular concept is concerned, were in order at Santa Anita yesterday. Ed Janss’ Boxthorn was promoted from a Class C to a Class A horse in Mr. Racing Secretary Webb Everett’s latest book on graded handicaps.

Boxthorn never was a Class C thoroughbred from the time Col. E. R. Bradley attempted to win his fifth Kentucky Derby with the Blue Larkspur colt in 1935, but Boxthorn bowed a tendon that summer and went out of circulation.

The chances being only one in twenty that a horse ever recovers from such an ailment to become a topnotcher again, you cannot hold it against Mr. Everett that in the first issue of his grades Boxthorn was found with the C boys and girls.

And in addition to the fact that he hadn’t run for eighteen months Boxthorn was purchased by Janss to become a stallion on his Conejo ranch. He was going into stud. He was supposed to be through with the race track.

But what does this $5000 bargain do but thrive on our “unusual” Southern California weather. He gets to running like the dickens again, wins a Class C six furlongs by six lengths in 1:11 over a dull track, and follows this up with an easy victory in the $3500 San Felipe Handicap, beating some of the best horses at the track. Time, 1:23 3/5 for seven furlongs.

So in the third issue of the graded handicap list which Everett changes periodically Boxthorn has gone to the top of the list occupied by only fourteen others at Santa Anita – Accolade, Firethorn, Indian Broom, King Saxon, Mr. Bones, Ned Reigh, Red Rain, Rosemont, Seabiscuit, Singing Wood, Stand Pat, Time Supply, Top Row and Where Away.

Boxthorn, which has come out of his two races in splendid condition, will now be pointed for one more engagement before his test in the $100,000 added Santa Anita Handicap on February 27.

The $7500 San Antonio Handicap, a mile and one furlong race, will be the test of Boxthorn’s route running ability.

As a 3-year-old the former Bradley color bearer never indicated a desire to go beyond a mile. He raced rankly in the Kentucky Derby after setting some of the early pace, and in the Preakness he was away out in front until the field moved around the far turn. He had nothing left for the last quarter.

After that the Bradley connections placed him in sprint races, and he did well, his best score being made in the Commonwealth Stakes. It was following this victory that he bowed a tendon and returned to the Idle Hour Farm. But now that he’s older Trainer Grayson Philpott believes Boxthorn will run farther.” (Paul Lowry / Los Angeles Times, 01/26/1937)

March 1899: Obituary of Tremont

Tremont, known in his racing days as ‘The Black Whirlwind,’ is dead at Belle Meade. In some unaccountable manner, he broke his stifle Thursday, and yesterday when the veterinarian looked at him, it was decided best that he be destroyed to put him out of his misery.

Tremont, was bred at Elmendorff [sic] stud, by the late Daniel Swigert,  and was by Virgil, son of Vandal, out of Ann Fief, by Alarm. He ran eleven races as a 2-year-old, winning them all, and earning the title given him above. Early in his 3-year-old career and before he had faced the flag, he developed a ring-bone. He was the property of the Dwyers, and his career had been such a phenomenal one that Mr. Swigert paid $25,000 for him and took him back to Kentucky. At the Elmendorff [sic], disposal sale, some years later, Gen. Jackson bought the unbeaten stallion, paying $17,500 for him. Since that time he has been domiciled at Belle Meade.

Tremont’s get were numerous, but the best of them were Dogonet [sic] and Lovelace. El Telegrafo also gave promise at one time of being a wonder.

The dead stallion was of a highly nervous temperament. He was almost unmanageable, often kicking his barn until he was exhausted. It is presumed he met with the accident which cost him his life during one of these tantrums.” (The Nashville American, 03/04/1899)

Brooklyn (126 lbs.) tops the 1936 Experimental Handicap

“Edward Riley Bradley’s Brooklyn is rated at the head of the list at 126 pounds in the Experimental Handicap weights fixed by Jack Campbell, official handicapper of The Jockey Club and published in the current issue of “The Racing Calendar,” official organ of the The Jockey Club. Campbell considers Brooklyn one pound better than J. H. Louchhiem’s Pompoon, while still another pound lower comes Reaping Reward.

Brookyn is a well-made colt by Blue Larkspur – Knockaney Bridge, an Irish mare. Brooklyn started only four times and won two races, including the Walden Handicap. He finished third to Privilege and Matey in the Pimlico Futurity, but was moved up to second place on the disqualification of the winner.

Pompoon won six out of eight starts, including The Futurity at Belmont Park and the Junior Champion Stakes at Aqueduct. He is the leading money-winning two-year-old with a total of $83,420. Reaping Reward won five out of fifteen starts, including the United States Hotel Stakes at Saratoga Springs and the New England Futurity, in which he came from behind to beat Pompoon by a neck. He is by Sickle – Dustwhirl, by Sweep.

Case Ace, winner of the Arlington Futurity, is placed at 123 pounds, while Privileged, second in the Futurity at Belmont Park, is next, together with Bottle Cap at 122. War Admiral, highly regarded by many handicappers, follows at 121.

Apogee, winner of the Fashion Stakes at Belmont Park and the Lassie Stakes at Arlington, is rated the best of the fillies under 112 pounds [NOTE: The honor actually belonged to the Insco filly Rifted Clouds at 115 pounds]. Goldey F., winner of eleven out of fourteen starts, and Wand, a winner of only three out of four, which, however, included the Matron Stakes in which Apogee was unplaced, are put at 110 each. Apogee led fillies in earnings with $33,965.

Talma Dee, winner of the Selima Stakes, is listed at 108 pounds, one less than Maecloud, well thought of during the Saratoga Springs meeting.” (New York Herald Tribune, 12/10/1936)



List of weights for the 1936 Experimental Handicap:

126 lbs. – Brooklyn
125 lbs. – Pompoon
124 lbs. – Reaping Reward
123 lbs. – Case Ace
122 lbs. – Bottle Cap; Privileged
121 lbs. – War Admiral
120 lbs. – Flying Cross; Maedic; Matey
119 lbs. – Airflame
118 lbs. – Fairy Hill; Moonton; Optic
117 lbs. – Clodion
116 lbs. – Billionaire; Sir Damion; Tedious; Yellow Tulip
115 lbs. – Forty Winks; Grand Play; Knight Gallant; No Sir; Rifted Clouds (f); Orientalist; Supply House
114 lbs. – Black Look; Charing Cross; Heelfly; Nation’s Taste; Advocator; Rough Time; Scintillator
112 lbs. – Apogee (f); Dawn Play (f); Dogaway; Flying Scot; Manatella (f); Rebellion; Rex Flag; Traulove
110 lbs. – Betty’s Buddy; Chicolorado; Clingendaal; Flying Trapeze; Galsun; Goldey F. (f); Merry Maker; Murph; Remolino; Wand (f); White Tie
109 lbs. – Drawbridge (f); Knight’s Plume; Maecloud (f); Ocean Roll; Rudie; Supremador; Fair Lead
108 lbs. – Eli Yale; Mr. Blaze; Mosawtre; Talma Dee (f); Tattered; Zostera; Challite (f)
106 lbs. – Biologist; Coramine (f); Juliet W. (f); Planetoid (f); Post Meridian; Prairie Dog; Proph; Regal Lily (f); Rosenna (f); Your Honor
105 lbs. – Camisado; Dellor; Devil’s Banner; Devil’s Pace (f); Duel; Dressy (f); Fitter (f); Gosum; Grey Count; Jewell Dorsett (f); Knave High; Old Nassau; Ptolemy; Riparian; Sun Capture; Scrooge; Siam; Tarpwood; Third Count
102 lbs. – Count Atlas; Crow’s Flight; Melodist; Golden Era; Rouge et Noir (f)

*(f) Filly

Overall, sixty-three sires were represented among the one-hundred horses weighted, with a total of eighteen stallions having sired more than one horse on the list. In what was becoming tradition, Sir Gallahad III once again led the list with six horses listed. Sickle (GB) was next with five, followed by High Time, Man o’ War, Pharamond (GB), and Reigh Count with four, and Ariel with three. Bostonian, Challenger (GB), Display, Haste, Jean Valjean, Pennant, Sortie, Stimulus, Teddy (FR), The Satrap (IRE), and Whichone each had two horses make the list.



“Jack Campbell has proved himself a master in rating and handicapping horses, so that any of us who are wondering why he put E. R. Bradley’s Brooklyn at the top of his Experimental Handicap should withhold criticism until such time as his judgment is proved sound or unsound.

One of the charms of racing is the difference of opinion which constantly arises in the rating of horses. Personally, my regard for Brooklyn, son of Blue Larkspur, is high as expressed in this column two or three weeks ago. He runs like a stayer and is a bright prospect for our historic three-year-old stakes next season. Still, on my rating he is below Reaping Reward, Pompoon, Case Ace, Privileged, War Admiral, and Matey; not above this group. The difference in poundage is not much but all of six pounds under Reaping Reward, which happens to be my top colt.

Just before The Futurity was run I was standing on the roof of the stand at Belmont Park with Jack Campbell, who remarked: “Pompoon is almost sure to prove himself the best colt of the year in the next two or three minutes,” and none could question this when the son of Pompey raced to commanding victory.

Later Reaping Reward came from behind to beat Pompoon in the New England Futurity, but that did not change Campbell’s rating. It is a little surprising then that he puts Brooklyn at the top in considering the fact that the last named won only two races in four starts, including one stake – the Walden Handicap, in which he beat No Sir a length at a difference of only four pounds.

Plainly, Campbell’s Experimental Handicap is not a rating of the two-year-olds as they raced this season, but rather a declaration of what he thinks about their chances as three-year-olds.

The Experimental Handicap, of course, is never run. It is like the Free Handicap of England, simply an expression by the official handicapper of how he thinks the horses should be weighed as if for a race in the future.

Campbell thus boldly calls Brooklyn the best prospect for next season, and he may be right. Such a good judge as Tom Shaw expressed the opinion a few days ago that Reaping Reward and Pompoon should be equal favorites at 10 to 1 each for the Kentucky Derby and quoted Brooklyn at 15 to 1.

When the future books are opened Campbell’s rating may influence the quotations and make Brooklyn the choice or close to it. It will be interesting to see.

Incidentally, in the Experimental Handicap a year ago Red Rain was in the post of honor, with Bold Venture in tenth place six pounds away and Granville in thirty-fifth place at the light weight of 113 pounds. The form of horses oftentimes change in a surprising way from one season to another.” (George Daley / New York Herald Tribune, 12/14/1936)

The 1925 season one of the most disappointing in the history of the U.S. Thoroughbred

“From every conceivable angle the turf season of 1925 was one of the most disappointing in the history of the thoroughbred sport in this country. The year did not develop one outstanding champion and in the class of horseflesh, such as it was, there was no vestige of form.

American Flag, the three-year-old son of Man o’ War, and Pompey, the son of Sun Briar and Cleopatra, were awarded class honors in the three-year-old and two-year-old divisions, respectively. They seemed worthy of such distinction. Samuel Riddle’s great Man o’ War colt, in what little racing he did, had all the others of his class almost as badly whipped as had his illustrious sire during his three-year-old and last campaign. He won the Belmont, third and last of the $50,000 spring three-year-old classics, in a common gallop, yet in time that equaled the Belmont Park track record for the distance.

Yet the fact that American Flag broke down while at Saratoga showed he was a thoroughbred with a fault, which could not be said of his sire. Certainly he was not pounded down in racing. No three-year-old had a milder campaign.

Generally the three-year-olds were a common lot. Silver Fox, of the Rancocas Stable, showed real promise early in the season, but against opposition scarcely up to mediocre ability. The Preakness and the Kentucky Derby, $50,000 stakes that preceded the Belmont, were both won by rank outsiders that would have paid in box car numbers had they not been parts of fields with better horses. Strange to say, both of these horses belonged to Gifford A. Cochran.

Clarence Kummer rode Coventry in the Preakness. This horse was a cripple when he went to the post, and indeed did break down in the stretch, but he was so far in front at the time Kummer was able to whip him home. As a matter of fact, Coventry never would have been so far out in front but for a bad jam at the paddock turn caused by Johnny Maiben with Maid at Arms that piled up and eliminated all the dangerous ones of the field.

Gifford A. Cochran, who took the Preakness with Coventry, also won the Kentucky Derby with Flying Ebony, which he entered at the last moment to provide a ride for Sande. Flying Ebony was right that day and won on merit. But the fact that the horse showed little else all season proves what a rather poor lot the three-year-olds were – bar only American Flag.

Pompey clinched his right to the title in the juvenile division by winning both the Hopeful and the Futurity. He was somewhat lucky not to be disqualified in the Futurity, for he plainly crowded Canter, which in turn crowded Chance Play. Pompey seemed straight at the end of this seven furlongs, though he looks to be a stayer and should be dangerous in the long three-year-old classics of next spring.

Canter is a good colt though an unfortunate one. He looked a real champion in winning the Pimlico Futurity and he looked a champion in Kentucky earlier. Bubbling Over in the Pimlico Futurity could not hold a long lead safe from Canter and proved a sprinter solely. Haste ran such a race in the Futurity.

Mad Play was the champion of the sprinters and a champion that stood out prominently in a poor lot. Of course this is taking nothing away from the game little horse of the Rancocas stable. He usually was burdened with staggering weight, but always he would run as courageously as any horse that ever wore plates.

Samuel D. Riddle, who earned such fame with Man o’ War a few years ago, was the leading money winner among the owners. His success was due solely to the get of Man o’ War and particularly to American Flag’s $50,000 in the Belmont.

Mortensen was the leading jockey of the year. But the real sensation in the riding line was the spectacular come-back of Jockey Earl Sande.” (New York Herald Tribune, 12/27/1925)