Necrology & Internment

October 1878: Obituary of Harry Bassett

Illustration of Harry Bassett as published in Harper’s Weekly (Vol. XV, No. 764), 08/19/1871.

“He was a large horse, being over 16 hands high, chestnut in color, with a beautiful star and a slight blaze running down his face and inclining toward his right nostril. His hind feet were white half way to the hocks. He was a magnificently formed horse and looked like a first-class racer, as he was. He had a splendid head, well set on a strong neck, running into powerful and well-inclined shoulders. With great body, he possessed a good back and strong loins, powerful quarters, with well-extended and strong limbs. He dropped well down in the flanks, and had strong and powerful stifles. With good legs and feet, strong arms, and clean hocks, he looked a thorough race-horse.” (The New York Times, 10/28/1878)


Harry Bassett, one of the most noted horses that ever appeared on the American turf, and the champion 3-year old of his year, died yesterday at the farm of Col. McDaniel, at Trenton, N. J. Since his retirement from the turf Harry Bassett has been regarded as one of the coming stallions, but death has suddenly deprived the turf of his services.

In his prime Harry Bassett was as popular as that phenomenal colt, Duke of Magenta, who is henceforth destined to measure strides with the champions of the British turf, and, like the latter, Bassett was regarded as invincible.

Bassett was foaled April 27, 1868, and was consequently in his eleventh year. He was sired by the now famous Lexington, the sire of a line of victorious horses. Bassett’s dam was Canary Bird, a chestnut mare, foaled in 1867, who was sired by Albion, who was foaled in 1837, bred by M. E. Peel, and imported in the ship China to Charleston, S. C., in January, 1839. He was sired by Cain or Active [sic], out of Panthea, by Comus.

Canary Bird ran many races as a 3 and 4 year old, but without success. Her only produce besides Bassett was Ortolan, by Donerall. Canary Bird’s dam was Panola, by imported Aincler, and her dam was Sweetbrier, by Recovery; her dam Primrose, by Comus, and she out of Cowslip, by Cockfighter.

Harry Bassett was purchased at the Woodburn sale of yearlings in 1869 by S. D. Bruce, for Col. McDaniel, the price being $315. He was a large horse, being over 16 hands high, chestnut in color, with a beautiful star and a slight blaze running down his face and inclining toward his right nostril. His hind feet were white half way to the hocks. He was a magnificently formed horse and looked like a first-class racer, as he was. He had a splendid head, well set on a strong neck, running into powerful and well-inclined shoulders. With great body, he possessed a good back and strong loins, powerful quarters, with well-extended and strong limbs. He dropped well down in the flanks, and had strong and powerful stifles. With good legs and feet, strong arms, and clean hocks, he looked a thorough race-horse.

Harry Bassett’s career justified the expectations regarding his appearance and breeding. He made his debut as a 2-year-old in 1870, when he started four times, and was thrice a winner. He made his debut in the Saratoga Stakes when he was unnamed, and was unsuccessful, running third to Mary Louise, then owned by John O’Donnell. His next appearance was in the Kentucky Stakes, also at Saratoga, one mile, when he defeated in fine style his seven competitors, on a heavy track, in 1:51. The stake was worth $3,400. He next appeared in the Nursery Stakes, at Jerome Park, which he won in 1:49 ¼, Fifteen horses started, and the stake was worth $4,000. His fourth and last appearance as a 2-year-old was in the Supper Stakes, at Baltimore, one mile, when he defeated his only competitor, Madame Dudley, in 1:49 ¼; the value of the stake being $7,350.

As a 3-year old Harry Bassett started nine times, and on every occasion defeated his competitors with ease. He won the Belmont Stakes from 10 competitors, among them being Monarchist and Wanderer, neither of whom were placed. The stake was worth $5,850, and the time was 2:56 – the distance of the race at that time being a mile and five furlongs. He supplemented this by winning in succession the Jersey Derby at Long Branch, the Travers and Kenner Stakes at Saratoga, the Champion (now called Jerome) Stakes, and a dash of a mile and three-quarters at the Jerome Park Fall meeting; the Reunion, now called the Dixie Stakes, and a dash of a mile and a half at Baltimore, and wound up his career as a 3-year old at the same meeting by winning the Bowie Stakes, four mile heats, beating Helmbold, who was then 5 years old, in two straight heats, which was a great performance for a 3-year old, especially against so good a horse on a heavy track.

As a 4-year-old Harry Bassett started twelve times and won nine of the events. He began the season by beating Lyttleton for the Westchester Cup at Jerome Park, which he followed up by distancing Metelia, at two-mile heats, at the same meeting. He then left the scene of his triumphs for Long Branch, to meet Longfellow in the Monmouth Cup. The scenes of that memorable day are still fresh in the minds of turfmen. Such a crowd has never assembled on a race-course in this country before or since. Longfellow won a hollow victory, and then Bassett was taken to Saratoga, and won the All-aged Stakes, one mile and a quarter, and three days afterward again met Longfellow in the Saratoga cup. It was the fiercest struggle ever seen in this country, and Bassett won in 3:59, Longfellow breaking down in the race. Bassett had now disposed of Longfellow, and had everything clear before him until he met Monarchist, in the Maturity Stakes, four miles, at the Jerome Park Fall meeting. Hayward, the well-known English jockey, who was then riding for Mr. Sanford, prayed the latter to allow him (Hayward) to run at Bassett from the start, and being allowed to have his way, Bassett was defeated. At the same meeting they again measured strides in a dash of four miles, and Bassett again lowered his colors. This was his last appearance for the season.

In 1873, being 5 years old, Harry Bassett appeared eight times, but gained only two victories. Being forced by circumstances and the importunities of his partners, Col. McDaniel entered Bassett in all sorts of races in 1874, and finally ran the great horse virtually off his legs, and was obliged to retire him. With this action the famous McDaniel confederacy was broken, and the Colonel entered upon a career of misfortune. Harry Bassett had shown his ability as a race-horse until he was abused, and gave promise of making a name as a sire, as shown by the running of the two fillies Fawn and Lillian. His early death will be regretted by turfmen, with whom he was a general favorite.” (The New York Times, 10/28/1878)

June 1906: Obituary of Cinderella (GB), dam of Hastings and Plaudit

Cinderella, queen of the stud book, is dead.

The most successful and valuable of thoroughbred broodmares was her glorious reputation.

Made her owner, a struggling physician in a country town, a wealthy capitalist in a few years. She cost $500 and returned to him $150,000. She paid for every inch of 850 acres of blue grass land owned by Dr. J. D. Neet, the now famous Versailles, Ky., breeder and turfman. Her produce run far over $100,000 on the turf and no less than four of her sons now rank among America’s most valuable sires. The most costly monument ever erected in memory of a horse is to mark her grave at Kindergarten Stud.

Here is her stud record … Sold for
1889 – Foreigner … $5,000
1890 – Ferrier … 5,000
1892 – Handsome … 12,500
1893 – Hastings … 37,000
1894 – Chelsea … 5,000
1895 – Plaudit … 25,000
1896 – Glenheim … 15,000
1897 – Dan Reagan … 6,000
1898 – Glass Slipper (running qualities only) … 5,000
1900 – East India (running qualities only) … 5,000
1902 – Migraine … 10,000
1903 – Fairy Prince … 5,000
1904 – Slippers … 5,000

She was barren the first year she was bred, in 1888, and she had no foal in 1891, 1899, 1901, 1905, and 1906. Dr. Neet sent her this season to Elmendorf Stud to be bred to Waterboy. Later he received a message from C. H. Berryman, manager of that establishment, to the effect that the Brighton Handicap winner was impotent. Dr. Neet then ordered her to be bred to Africander, but that horse’s book proved full, and he sent her to Horse Haven Farm, and mated her to Ethelbert, and she was presumed to be in foal to Perry Belmont’s great racer when she died. Cinderella was 21 years old. Early last winter she was in rather poor condition, but she soon recovered her health and was in first-class fix seemingly up to within an hour of her death. She died of heart disease.

Of her famous produce Hastings is the premier sire of A. Belmont’s Nursery Stud, and in 1902 he headed the list of American winning sires; Plaudit is a star in the noted Hamburg Stud by J. E. Madden; Glenhelm is owned by H. S. Oxnard, the multimillionaire Treasurer of the Sugar Trust; Migraine is also at Hamburg Place; Handsome is at the head of Dr. Neet’s Kindergarten Stud; Glass Slipper and East India are broodmares at Kindergarten Stud, and Fairy Prince, now a 3-year-old, and Slippers, a 2-year-old of this season, are both in the racing stable of Harry Payne Whitney. Of her other produce Dan Reagan and Chelsea both were gelded, while Foreigner and Ferrier are dead, the latter dying the property of W. S. Hobart, the San Mateo (Cal.) breeder, who purchased him to place at the head of his stud.

In the thirteen foals she produced Cinderella never dropped but three fillies, and for six straight years she dropped in succession a half dozen stud colts. No matter what she was bred to she produced a sensational horse. Ferrier was by Fonso, Hastings by Spendthrift, Plaudit by Himyar, Handsome and Glenhelm by Hanover, and Migraine by imp. Topgallant.

At 17 years of age the late W. C. Whitney offered Dr. Neet $15,000 for the celebrated mare. Dr. Neet wrote the noted New York turfman that the principal living things he possessed were his wife, daughter and Cinderella, and he could not break up the family. Later on Whitney leased the breeding qualities of the mare for $10,000, and she was sent to his La Belle Stud, being returned to Dr. Neet in the summer of 1904, the breeding contract being canceled at the death of Whitney.

Cinderella was bred by Sir Thomas Throgmorton [sic], of England. In 1886 Alfred Withers, of London, sent to Egmont Lawrence in this country to sell ten broodmares and two yearling fillies. The last named two were Cinderella and Sarantella, the latter herself the dam of ten winners. Both were purchased shortly after their arrival in Lexington by Dr. Neet, he paying $500 for Cinderella and $400 for the dam of Handsel.

Cinderella was broken and handled by John Clay in the training stable of the late Maj. B. G. Thomas, and showed to have much speed in her work. Dr. Neet, however, had bought her for a brood mare and would not permit her to race. As a result she never faced the starter’s flag.

None of her daughters as yet are old enough in the stud to have representatives on the turf. Glass Slipper now has at Kindergarten Stud a suckling bay colt by Don De Oro and East India has at her side a bay colt by Ethelbert. Dr. Neet bred Glass Slipper this season to the latter horse, while he mated East India to imp. Star Shoot. He has ten foals by Cinderella’s son, Handsome, this year.

Cinderella was of double parentage, being sired by Blue Ruin, or Tomahawk, while her dam Hanna was a daughter of Brown Bread. She belongs to the No. 21 family of the Bruce Lowe figure system. What Pocahontas and Queen Mary were in England, Cinderella was in this country, and she has left an impression on racing in America as lasting as time itself.

The monument Dr. Neet will erect to perpetuate her memory will be mounted with a pedestal in bronze, a reproduction of the famous mare in life, taken from the last photograph made of her in her paddock at Kindergarten Farm.” (The Nashville American, 06/12/1906)

Photograph of Plaudit as published and Bit & Spur (Vol. 11, No. 1), February 1912.

May 1917: Old Rosebud’s half-brother Mars Cassidy dies under suspicious circumstances

“The stewards to-day issued a ruling barring from the turf C. R. Anderson and R. Holcomb, the former the owner of the horse Mars Cassidy and the latter the trainer. Mars Cassidy died early this morning and an investigation by the officials followed. The horse started in the seventh race Tuesday and when he went to the post he appeared like a wild horse. He ran a disgraceful race, finishing last beaten off.

The ruling is as follows:
“C. R. Anderson, owner and R. Holcomb, trainer, are ruled off the turf under the provisions of rule 202, Kentucky Racing Commission. Should the owner decide to make a bona fide sale of the horse of the stars Bars and Stars to anyone in good standing he can do so.”

Veterinarians worked until far into the night with Mars Cassidy, but to no avail. He was a useful horse during his racing career, having a number of stakes and handicaps to his credit. He was capable of running six furlongs in 1:12, and his most recent good race was when he beat Chalmers on last Saturday.” (Louisville Courier-Journal, 05/10/1917)


“Lexington, Ky., May 9. – Mars Cassidy, the five-year-old half-brother of Old Rosebud, by Ogden out of Ivory Bells, died early this morning as a result of the drugs administered to him before the closing race yesterday, and as a consequence C. R. Anderson and R. Holcomb were this afternoon ruled off the turf by Presiding Judge Thomas J. Clay. The horse raced in the name of R. M. Anderson, who is not here and a brother of C. R. Anderson.

The death of the horse has aroused against the practice of doping horses, which took the form this afternoon of a declaration on the part of one who has influence at Frankfort that he will ask Governor Stanley to back a bill at the next session of the Legislature making it a felony, punishable by confinement in the penitentiary, for the administration of drugs to horses with a view to stimulating them for racing purposes, or the reverse of that. It further has served to bring out strongly the need of a veterinarian at each track, whose sole duty shall be to inspect all horses entering the paddock for each race.” (Cincinnati Enquirer, 05/10/1917)


“Lexington, Ky., May 11. – C. R. Anderson, owner of Mars Cassidy, the race horse, which died at the Kentucky Association track Tuesday night, who was arrested on a charge of cruelty to animals, was dismissed this morning on the charge by Justice W. A. Ahern. Only three witnesses were examined. They were James P. Ross, superintendent of the association; Lon McCarty, executive secretary of the Humane Society, and Dr. James T. Shannon, veterinarian.

Supt. Ross testified that he saw the horse at different times during the night being led about the ground and that when he went to the stable after the horse’s death, Anderson said: “Mr. Ross, some one has got to my horse and doped him.” Evidence of the other witnesses was insufficient to connect any one with giving stimulants to the horse.”

As a result of the horse’s death the racing stewards ruled Anderson and the trainer, R. Holcomb, off the turf.” (Louisville Courier-Journal, 05/12/1917)

March 1909: Obituary of Sir Dixon

Photo of Sir Dixon as published in Hoofprints of the Century: Excerpts from America’s oldest journal of horse racing and breeding, the Thoroughbred Record, and its predecessor publications, the Livestock Record and Kentucky Live Stock Record, as compiled and annotated by William Robertson (covering 1875-1919 and 1966-1974) and Dan Farley (1920-1965).

“Lexington, Ky., March 24. – Sir Dixon, Colonel E. F. Clay’s famous old thoroughbred stallion, is dead. Sir Dixon, while romping in his paddock at Runnymede stud, near Paris, yesterday afternoon, fell and broke a bone in his right hip. Colonel Clay, seeing that it would be impossible to save the son of Imported Billet and Jaconet, by Imp. Leamington, had him destroyed.

Sir Dixon was bread in the Runnymede stud and was foaled in the spring of 1885, making him 24 years old. As a yearling he was sold to W. S. Barnes, who disposed of him at the same age to Green B. Morris, for whom, as a two-year-old, he won the Camden and Select Stakes and Flatbush Handicap.

Morris took him to Washington the following spring, 1888, and won the Analostan Stakes, then moved on to Brooklyn and won the Carlton Stakes so easily from Raceland, the only other starter, that Dwyer Brothers bought him for a large price. For them he won that year the Withers, the Belmont, the Travers and the Lorillard Stakes. He did not go to the post in 1889. His only victory in 1890 was the defeat of Taragon in the St. James Hotel Stakes at Brooklyn, and his racing career ended with his breakdown in a high weight handicap sweepstakes at Coney Island in June of that year.

Sir Dixon’s winnings for Mr. Morris and the Dwyer Brothers aggregated nearly $50,000, and after his breakdown he was sold to Colonel Clay and Catesby Woodford, for something like $6,000, to become the premier stallion at Runnymede.

The first of Sir Dixon’s get made their appearance in racing in 1894, and the following is a schedule of their winnings:

1894 . . . . . . . . . . . $61,470
1895 . . . . . . . . . . . $25,435
1896 . . . . . . . . . . . $41,208
1897 . . . . . . . . . . . $35,085
1898 . . . . . . . . . . . $83,617
1899 . . . . . . . . . . . $59,499
1900 . . . . . . . . . . . $68,806
1901 . . . . . . . . . . . $206,926
1902 . . . . . . . . . . . $92,092
1903 . . . . . . . . . . . $32,165
1904 . . . . . . . . . . . $75,454
1905 . . . . . . . . . . . $99,905
1906 . . . . . . . . . . . $64,916
1907 . . . . . . . . . . . $68,070
1908 . . . . . . . . . . . $24,392

Making an aggregate of $1,039,040 in 15 years.

The most distinguished performers by Sir Dixon were Alpen, Ahom, Agile, Audience, Blues, Blue Girl, Butterflies, Captain Arnold, Conjurer, Countess Irma, Diminutive, Disobedient, Dr. Bernays, Druid, Donation, Elusive, Femesole, George Arnold, George B. Cox, Hymettus, Jack Point, John Bright, Kernel, Kilmarnock, Martha Gorman, Memories, Mercer, Maceo, Necedah, Nones, Queen Dixon, Orimar, Outcome, Running Water, Six Shooter, Sir Vassar, Sir Dixon Jr., Sweet Dixie, South Breeze, Sir Oliver, Sir Hubert, Surmise, The Conqueror, Thirty-Third, Yankee Girl.

The star winners of these were: Blue Girl, $68,900; Blues, $62,805; Running Water, $52,990; Butterflies, $50,830; Agile, $49,332; Kilmarnock, $46,595.” (Cincinnati Enquirer, 03/25/1909)

Sir Dixon’s champion daughter Blue Girl (1899 ch. f. o/o Bonnie Blue by Hindoo) as a 2-year-old. Photo as published in Management of Breeding of Horses by Merritt Wesley Harper, 1913.

Obituary and photos of Hall of Fame steeplechaser Good and Plenty

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Good and Plenty (1900 b. g. by Rossington (GB) – Famine by Jils Johnson) taking a hurdle during the Whitney Memorial Steeplechase at Belmont Park, May 1906. Photo as published in Harper’s Weekly (Vol. L, No. 2582), 06/16/1906.

“Thomas Hitchcock, Jr.’s  famous steeplechaser, Good and Plenty, has been shot. For several months the well-known jumper has shown signs of weakness. During the Spring meeting at Belmont Park Good and Plenty developed trouble in the near hind leg. He was put into retirement for a while, and later sent into light training again, when the old trouble reappeared, and the examination of a veterinary surgeon developed the fact that he would be a permanent cripple, in addition to being affected internally.

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Good and Plenty during and after the Champion Steeplechase at Morris Park, October 1904. Photos by N. W. Penfield as published in Harper’s Weekly (Vol. XLVIII, No. 2498), 11/05/1904.

Mr. Hitchcock, when assured the horse would never recover, ordered him shot, to put him out of pain, and on Saturday a bullet ended his existence, and with it the most notable career of any steeplechase horse on the American turf. Good and Plenty was buried in a plot of ground near the private race course on the Hitchcock estate, near Westbury, L. I., and a monument will probably be erected over his grave.

Good and Plenty was the greatest timber topper in America. He was a bay gelding, 7 years old, by Rossington-Fannie [sic], and during the four seasons he raced he won more honors than any other steeplechase horse, and almost equaled the record of the great Sysonby. He first appeared in the jumping list at the Brighton Beach track in 1904, when he finished second to Walter Cleary in a steeplechase race. He won the next seven starts, and finished second in his ninth start, winding up the season with a victory. In all, he started ten times, and was first in eight races, winning, among other events, the Champion and Westbury Steeplechases.

In 1905 he was reserved for two of the big steeplechase events of the year, the New York and Whitney Memorial Steeplechases, at Belmont Park, and won them both. In the following year Good and Plenty started four times, and was first three times and unplaced once. He was easily the best steeplechase horse in training, and won the Grand National and Whitney Memorial Steeplechases. His third victory was in a handicap steeplechase. He ran unplaced in a handicap flat race at a mile and a furlong at Belmont Park.” (The New York Times, 08/16/1907)

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Good and Plenty during the Whitney Memorial Steeplechase at Belmont Park, May 1905. Photos by N. W. Penfield as published in Harper’s Weekly (Vol. XLIX, No. 2527), 05/27/1905.

March 1902: Obituary of Duchess

“Gen W. H. Jackson lost by death yesterday morning the famous thoroughbred matron Duchess, aged 22, by Kingfisher, out of Lady Blessington, a daughter of Eclipse. The second dam was Philo, by Mariner, out of Cassandra, by the imported horse Priam, and the third dam was Flirtilla, Jr., by Sir Archy.

Her death was due to a spasm. She was considered by the master of Belle Meade to be one of his best broodmares, she having produced many good race horses. Duchess leaves a weanling filly by the imported stallion Tithonus; also, a brown colt by imp. Loyalist, the latter being assigned to the sale which will be held in New York in June. The daughter of Kingfisher was perfectly well on Saturday, but rallied only a few minutes after she was taken ill.

Duchess was a capital winner, and also foaled the winners Clifford, the best horse of his day, and winner of 42 races, including the Phoenix Hotel, First Special, Sea Foam, Albany, Moet and Chandon (seven furlongs in 1:25 2-5, best on record), Second Special, Oakwood, Omnium and other stakes. Archduke, the winner of the Grand Union Hotel Stakes, beating Hamburg, sold for $15,000 and sent to England; Waterson, winner of 40 races; Jim Head, Utica, a stake winner in this country and also a winner in England in 1895, 1896, 1897 and 1898, under the name of Eau Gallie.

Duchess was a half sister to the Baroness, dam of Badge, winner of 70 races and a prominent sire, and the winners Baronella, dam of Sweet Alice, Romolo, Ballarina [sic], dam of Ballister, Goldbaron and May of Teck, dam of St. Distaff and others. The dam of Duchess, Lady Blessington, was a stake winner and also produced Count D’Orsay, The Countess, Lady Margaret and other good race horses.

Duchess’ death is a severe loss to Gen. Jackson, as her produce always brought top prices on the market. She was the dam of Titian, a three-year old that was never raced, for whom Mr. Murphy of Philadelphia, paid $6,500 at auction. The dead matron will be buried to-day in her paddock. The weanling filly was given to the broodmare Madge.” (The Nashville American, 03/10/1902)