Crescent City Derby (1894-1908)

Crescent City ca. 1906 (LOC LC-D4-19303 [P&P])

Crescent City Race Course ca. 1906.
Photo: Library of Congress, LC-D4-19303 [P&P] /

Run at Crescent City Race Course in New Orleans, LA in 1894 and from 1897 to 1908, the Crescent City Derby for 3-year-olds is considered to be the forerunner to the Louisiana Derby. With an initial purse of $1,500 in 1894, the race would rapidly grow in prominence and purse size during its short run, with the final running in 1908 hosting a purse of $10,000.

In 1908, the passage of the Locke Law by the Louisiana State Legislature outlawed on track betting/bookmaking on horse races conducted within the city of New Orleans. While the law did not ban racing outright, it did so by proxy in calling for on track revenue to now be made through concessions and gate receipts rather than through wagering.

In January 1909, with the future of racing in New Orleans uncertain, and Louisiana governor Jared Sanders using an iron fist against those tracks who did attempt to allow betting through the ban, several stockholders in the Crescent City Jockey Club (Alex Brewster, Louis Cella, J. B. Harrison) would reportedly attempt to “freeze out” at least two other stockholders (C. S. Bush, P. A. “Bud” Renaud) by asking for liquidators. Bush and Renaud were reportedly “behind in their assessment” in regards to approximately $200,000 worth of upgrades conducted at the track in 1908, which included a new grandstand installed at the cost of $100,000. Two additional stockholders (George C. Bennett, John Condon) would refuse to be a part of the plan against Bush and Renaud.

Ultimately, due to both tensions between stockholders and more importantly – the ban on betting – the Crescent City Jockey Club’s assets were liquidated in 1913.

The Locke Law was repealed in 1916. In 1920, the Crescent City Derby, now resurrected as the Louisiana Derby, would hold its inaugural running at Jefferson Park before permanently moving to Fair Grounds in 1932.

In 1973, Fair Grounds would bring back the Crescent City Derby as a 1 1/16 mile race for Louisiana bred 3-year-olds. This race continues to be run to this day, and is to be considered a separate event from the initial Crescent City Derby rather than a belated continuation.

1894: Won by Buckwa (1891 b. c. by Buckra – Wewa by Jils Johnson)
Distance: 1 mile
Time: 1:51
Track: Poor
Margin: By 2 lengths over B. F. Fly Jr.

Crescent City Derby 1894 chart (Daily American Nashville 1894.04.01)

The Daily American (Nashville, TN), 04/01/1894

1895-1896: No race

1897: Won by Meadowthorpe (1894 b. c. by Kantaka (GB) – Baby by Strachino (GB))
Distance: 1 1/8 miles
Time: 1:55 1/4
Track: Good
Margin: By 3 lengths over Donna Rita

Crescent City Derby 1897 chart (DRF 1897.03.28)

Daily Racing Form, 03/28/1897

1898: Won by Presbyterian (1895 b. g. by Prestonpans (GB) – Dareka by Darebin (AUS))
Distance: 1 1/8 miles
Time: 1:55 1/2
Track: Fast
Margin: By 1 length over Joe Shelby

Crescent City Derby 1898 chart (DRF 1898.03.24)

Daily Racing Form, 03/24/1898

1899: Won by King Barleycorn (1896 ch. c. by Kantaka (GB) – Nattot by Frederick the Great)
Distance: 1 1/8 miles
Time: 1:54 1/4
Track: Fast
Margin: By 2 lengths over Elmer S.

Crescent City Derby 1899 chart (DRF 1899.03.26)

Daily Racing Form, 03/26/1899

1900: Won by Prince of Veronia (1897 b. c. by Cayuga – Veronia (GB) by Trappist (GB))
Distance: 1 1/8 miles
Time: 2:00
Track: Dead and slow, but smooth and “footing sufficiently firm”
Margin: By a neck/head over Sidney Lucas

Crescent City Derby 1900 chart (CDT 1900.03.18)

Chicago Daily Tribune, 03/18/1900

1901: Won by Henry Clay Rye (1898 ch. c. by Kantaka (GB) – Ten Drop by Ten Broeck)
Distance: 1 1/8 miles
Time: 1:55
Track: Good
Margin: By a nose over Wild Pirate

Crescent City Derby 1901 chart (CDT 1901.03.17)

Chicago Daily Tribune, 03/17/1901

1902: Won by Lord Quex (1899 br. c. by Ingoldsby (GB) – Sankara by Deceiver (GB))
Distance: 1 1/8 miles
Time: 2:00 1/4
Track: Heavy
Margin: By 1 1/2 lengths over Vassal Dance

Crescent City Derby 1902 chart (DRF 1902.03.16)

Daily Racing Form, 03/16/1902

1903: Won by Witfull (1900 ch. f. by Mirthful – Response by Longfellow)
Distance: 1 1/8 miles
Time: 2:07 3/5
Track: Muddy
Margin: By 12 lengths over Rosanco

Crescent City Derby 1903 chart (DRF 1903.03.15)

Daily Racing Form, 03/15/1903

1904: Won by Ostrich (1901 b. c. by Order (GB) – Plumage by Goldfinch (GB))
Distance: 1 1/8 miles
Time: 1:52 1/5
Track: Fast
Margin: By a length over Auditor

Crescent City Derby 1904 chart (NYT 1904.03.13)

The New York Times, 03/13/1904

Ostrich (CDT 1904.03.13)

Chicago Daily Tribune, 03/13/1904

1905: Won by Right Royal (1902 b. c. by Rapallo (GB) – Mrs Delaney (GB) by St. Simon (GB))
Distance: 1 1/8 miles
Time: 1:59 2/5
Track: “Sea of slush”
Margin: By 1 1/2 lengths over Jake Sanders

Crescent City Derby 1905 chart (CDT 1905.03.12)

Chicago Daily Tribune, 03/12/1905

1906: Won by Guiding Star (1903 b. c. by Gerolstein (GB) – Samoa by Maxim (NZ))
Distance: 1 1/8 miles
Time: 1:54 2/5
Track: Fast
Margin: By half-length over Lady Navarre

Crescent City Derby 1906 chart (DRF 03.18.1906)

Daily Racing Form, 03/18/1906

1907: Won by Montgomery (1904 ch. c. by Pessara – Montgomery Cooper by Duke of Kent)
Distance: 1 1/8 miles
Time: 1:53 2/5
Track: Fast
Margin: By 1 length over Temaceo

Crescent City Derby 1907 chart (DRF 1907.03.24)

Daily Racing Form, 03/24/1907

1908: Won by Meelick (1905 ch. c. by Planudes (GB) – Ilithyia by Tammany)
Distance: 1 1/8 miles
Time: 1:51 4/5 (NTR)
Track: Fast
Margin: By 2 lengths over Chapultepec

Crescent City Derby 1908 chart (DRF 1908.03.15)

Daily Racing Form, 03/15/1908

Meelick (DRF 1908.03.15)

Daily Racing Form, 03/15/1908

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s