Foals of 1932

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)

Will the real Blue Boot please stand up?

“But when you mention Hynes and Beezley you always think Blue Boot. It pays to know your blood lines.” (Los Angeles Times, 12/16/1936)

A small 2-year-old Wise Counsellor filly named Exotude would win a 3.5f maiden claiming event at Fair Grounds.

A nondescript 2-year-old Boot to Boot filly named Blue Boot would make six unsuccessful starts in claiming races at Alamo Downs (San Antonio), Arlington Downs (Arlington, TX), and Epsom Downs (Houston).

On February 15, the now 4-year-old Exotude would finish sixth in a 1 mile 70 yards claiming race at Fair Grounds. Her career to this point had been relatively unremarkable, with her best performance coming in a half-length win in the Golden Rod Purse at Fair Grounds in December 1935.

Now a 3-year-old, Blue Boot would make a number of starts at Riverside Park during the months of May and June, winning three claiming events, and finishing third in the Missouri State Fair H. (1 1/16 mi) on June 27.

Racing three times in fifteen days, Blue Boot would finish fourth in the Nile Temple H. (8f) on July 15, fourth in a mile handicap on July 20, and second in the Post-Intelligencer H. (8f) on July 25.

Given a two and a half week respite, Blue Boot would then win the Fort Lawton Claiming Purse (8f) at Longacres on August 12. She was claimed out of the race by former harness trainer Earl Beezley and his partner Bill Hynes for $2,000.

Blue Boot was about to display a remarkable change in form upon her transfer to “the Wichita wizard.” She would earn more than $11,000 in less than three weeks while winning the Washington Derby (8.5f) by 1 ½ lengths on August 16, the mud plagued Mayor’s Handicap (8f) on August 23 by a nose, and the $10,000 Longacres Mile on August 30 by a head. Her performance in the Longacres Mile was especially noteworthy, coming from far behind to set a new track record (1:35⅗), while defeating such horses as Indian Broom and Bonny Grafton.

Exotude - PHOTO Longacres Mile

Blue Boot following her win in the 1936 Longacres Mile. Photo courtesy of Emerald Downs.

Blue Boot would finish third in the October 10 $2,500 Yerba Buena H. (1 1/16 mi) at Tanforan. True to her previously established form, Blue Boot was close to twenty-five lengths off the pace during the race; however, the margin proved too great to overcome in the stretch. Following the race, she would be booed by the crowd for her poor performance.

Blue Boot’s deep closing running style would prove no handicap on October 28, as she would win the Dr. Leggo Purse (1 mi 70 yds) by two lengths. She entered the starting gate with a small equipment change – due to her tendency to run out on the turn, Beezley had equipped Blue Boot with a full cup blinker over her right eye.

On November 7, she would finish fourth in a 1 1/16 mile stakes race and then dead heat with Sweepstaff for the win in a mile handicap one week later on November 14.

While scheduled for a start in the $10,000 World’s Fair Handicap at Bay Meadows on December 12, Blue Boot was instead pin fired and scratched from the race. Beezley stated that after a rest, she would be pointed toward February’s “hundred grander” at Santa Anita – the $100,000 Santa Anita Handicap.

The Beezley horses arrived at Santa Anita in mid-December 1936, with Blue Boot still on course to make a start in the Santa Anita H. in February.

“The investigation in Blue Boot’s identity was opened about ten days ago when her owner, Earl Beezley, received a series of threatening wires from Texas, alleging that he was racing a “ringer.” Beezley immediately placed the matter before the stewards and asked that his horse be cleared of the charges or its true identity established.” (Oscar Otis – Los Angeles Times, 01/17/1937)

Blue Boot - ringer

On January 16, it would be determined that the (now) 4-year-old filly running under the name Blue Boot was actually a (now) 5-year-old Wise Counsellor mare named Exotude. The real Blue Boot was at the time boarded in Kentucky, in foal to a United States government remount stallion. Exotude was then suspended from racing by Santa Anita officials until it could be decided how to handle the situation.

The below is the affidavit of Paul Harvey of Odessa, TX, as made to Texas officials and printed in the Los Angeles Times on January 17.

“Before me, notary public in and for Bexar county, Texas on this 13th day of January, A.D. 1937, appeared Paul Harvey of Odessa, Tex., who upon being duly sworn by me upon his oath desposes and says.

“That my name is Paul Harvey, and I reside in Odessa, Tex. That during the middle of February, 1936, I bought the mare Exotude from C. C. Krantz at New Orleans and turned the mare over to Dr. William Bloss at Alamo Downs, San Antonio, Tex., and told Bloss the mare was Blue Boot. The mare started at Kansas City some time in June, 1936, and she ran in my name and Dr. Bloss trained her. I was present at the Kansas City meeting and watched the mare win three races. The mare Exotude, under the name of Blue Boot, won three races at the River Side Park spring meeting of 1936.

At the close of the River Side Park meeting in Kansas City, Mo., it was decided to ship to Longacres at Seattle, Wash., where the filly was raced and claimed by Hynes and Beezley. I was not present in Seattle, but to my knowledge Exotude, running under the name of Blue Boot, won one race at Longacres before she was claimed by Hynes and Beezley.

The idea of buying Exotude and running her under the name of Blue Boot was entirely my own thought, and I did not take anyone into my confidence. I played the entire deal as a lone hand. It was my scheme to run Exotude as Blue Boot at Kansas City and other tracks where the entries and results would not show in the Texas papers or get into the neighborhood of Midland or Odessa. My idea for doing that was to keep the scheme away from Sheriff A. C. Francis and Tom Nance, the owners of the original Blue Boot.

I obtained the original certificate of pedigree of Blue Boot in my own way and handed it to Dr. Bloss to use when identifying the mare when she started. Dr. Bloss returned the papers to me after the Seattle meeting and I replaced the papers in my own way. Before I went into this scheme, I made several attempts to get the attitude of Dr. Bloss in reference to starting a ringer. Bloss told me that it could not be done, that a person would be bound to be caught and be ruled off and cause a lot of trouble. I decided to go ahead with the scheme alone and felt certain that when I turned a horse over to Bloss or anyone and had the registration certificate and the markings to check, that there would be no difficulty in starting the horse.

I did not at any time mention this matter to Sheriff A. C. Francis, Tom Nance, or Dr. William Bloss. In fact, when I turned Exotude over to Dr. Bloss and told him it was Blue Boot, he told me he was certain that Blue Boot was not a good filly, and that he would take her and give her a chance, that she might win some kind of a cheap race.

I instructed Dr. Bloss to run this mare in his name at Seattle inasmuch as he had so many friends among horsemen that I did not think she would get claimed, whereas if she started in my name, there was a risk of her being claimed.


Subscribed and sworn to before me this 13th day of January, A.D. 1937. (Signed) Pauline Burkhead, nee Kibbee notary public in and for Bexar county, Texas.”

As a result of his admissions, Paul Harvey was ruled off the turf for life by Riverside Park (Kansas City) stewards on January 22 and this ruling was subsequently enforced by all recognized American tracks. It is not clear who initially sent Beezley the threatening wires in early January.

Even though Harvey stated Dr. Bloss had no knowledge of his actions, an article posted in the Spokane Daily Chronicle shortly after Blue Boot’s win in the Longacres Mile that past August does raise some suspicions when compared with the affidavit provided some four months later by Harvey.

“STERLING FILLY PROVES WINNER — This is the story of Blue Boot and Trainer Earl Beezley, with the name of Dr. William Bloss thrown in for illustration. Two years ago Bill Bloss paid $300 for a yearling filly by Boot to Boot and Blue-Eyed Peggy. That filly was destined for stardom. Dr. Bloss knew that when he began to break the filly and yearling, the latter named Blue Boot.

This year, through small Texas meetings and later at Riverside Park, Kansas City, Bloss merely played around with Blue Boot. Then he headed for the northwest and Longacres. With Blue Boot came John Marcum and Little Mickey, a pair of running hosses. The doctor began with Little Mickey – but the horse was claimed immediately from under his nose by Walter Nielsen.

The doctor was astounded. He decided to move next with Blue Boot, who apparently did not have the necessary burst of speed to get in time. But Dr. Bloss knew better – and so did Early [sic] Beezley, the man from Wichita. Later, Beezley had $2000 in cash. This went into the claiming bank and thence was entered for Blue Boot.

Immediately after the third running of the Washington derby Beezley claimed the horse. He claimed Blue Boot for his partner, Bill Hynes of Omaha, and himself. Bloss felt broken-hearted.

What’s more, Blue Boot, running in her greatest form, came from last place, out of a position where she seemed hopelessly beaten, to nip Primulus, Indian Broom, Bartlett and the whole shebang to win the $10,000 Longacres mile. Messrs. Hynes and Beezley made $8225. Dr. Bloss had a headache.” (Joe Hernandez – Spokane (WA) Daily Chronicle, 09/02/1936)

Was the man who sent the wires to Beezley a scorned Bloss? Was Harvey himself nothing more than a fall guy? Are Bloss’ comments in August 1936 just that – random comments?

One other thing – Harvey stated in his affidavit that he purchased Exotude at New Orleans in February 1936 from C.C. Krantz. Through at least the end of January 1936, the filly was owned by F.P. Letellier.

Is Blue Boot truly Exotude?

Beezley began steps to have the filly reinstated in good standing at Santa Anita as “Exotude.” Upon a physical inspection and confirmation by three reputable turfmen (who were not identified) that the horse standing before them was indeed “Exotude,” she was reinstated at Santa Anita as “Exotude” on January 23, with a clean bill of health submitted to the Jockey Club in New York.

“So far as is known, Blue Boot is the first “ringer” given a clean bill of health on the American turf and allowed to continue a racing career.” (Oscar Otis – Los Angeles Times, 04/24/1937)

Prior to the reinstatement at Santa Anita of “Blue Boot” as “Exotude,” Beezley had withdrawn “Blue Boot” from the Santa Anita H. As Exotude was nominated to the race under the name “Blue Boot” during a nomination period that had since expired – it was determined she was not legally entitled to re-register under a new name.

Per an unspecified Santa Anita steward, “The entry was made for Blue Boot, a four-year-old, and the weight for ‘Blue Boot’ was on a four-year-old basis. Exotude is a nonentity as far as the Santa Anita Handicap is concerned.” (Paul Lowry – Los Angeles Times, 01/20/1937)

Even though Exotude was cleared by Santa Anita officials and the Jockey Club, Tanforan managing director John Marchbank announced on February 16 that all horses associated with Beezley were barred from the Tanforan premises. Marchbank reversed this mandate without explanation on March 8, assigning Beezley’s thirty-seven strong stable housing in Barn E.

Exotude’s first start post scandal came in the San Carlos Handicap (1 1/16 mi) at Bay Meadows on April 24. Going off as the favorite, she would finish last. She would then continue her losing ways, finishing seventh in the $5,000 Fashion Mile on May 1.

“How Exotude managed to beat Indian Broom in last summer’s Longacres Mile is a problem that probably will never be solved.” (Daily Racing Form, 04/29/1937)

Exotude was listed as being a potential starter in May’s Bay Meadows Handicap and Del Monte Handicap; however, it is uncertain if she started in these races.

Following a stay at Ak-Sar-Ben, the Beezley stable would move to Longacres, where Exotude would finish third in a 6f handicap race on August 14 and second in a mile allowance on August 19. She would finish fifth in an attempt to defend her title in the Longacres Mile on September 4.

“Even Exotude, which won the $10,000 Longacres mile as Blue Boot a year ago last summer, went to the dogs. As Blue Boot, she was a killer. Restored to her original identity she became quite ordinary.” (Paul Lowry – Los Angeles Times 12/9/1937)

Following an out of the money start in early 1938, Exotude was retired and sent to Carleton Burke’s Greenfield Farm in Camarillo, CA, reportedly to be bred to the stakes winning Whitney horse Soon Over (GB).

Exotude would have one reported foal, the Gallant Sir colt Burlingame (1940). Racing from the ages of two to six, Burlingame would retire with a record of (20) 5-4-3 / $4,050 and sire nine foals, including the stakes placed stallion Snow Flight, who would go on to sire eight foals of his own.

As of early 1937, the actual Blue Boot was in Kentucky and in foal to a government remount stallion. There is no additional information on the mare until June 1941, when it is written that she was to be a part of a group of young broodmares potentially to be acquired by Texas breeder C. M. Armstrong for breeding operations at his farm in Seagraves, TX. She had no Thoroughbred foals registered with the Jockey Club.

The histories of Blue Boot and Exotude are forever intertwined. In official online racing data sources (Brisnet/Equibase/Equineline), the stakes races run by Exotude, but “won” by Blue Boot are still credited to Blue Boot, not Exotude.

Lip tattooing did not come into practice until 1947.