Futurity Stakes

1836: Racing for big cotton at Natchez

“A quarter of a million dollars is the most money ever put up for two horses to race for. This sum was wagered at Natchez, Miss., in 1836, Walker Thurston matching his horse Rodolph against Hon. J. F. Claybourne’s mare Susan Yandell for 2,500 bales of cotton aside, it being equal to $250,000. Susan Yandell had a walkover for the money, as Rodolph took sick shortly before the time set for the contest.” (The Daily American (Nashville, TN), 06/14/1890)


Accounting for inflation, $250,000 in 1836 is roughly equivalent to $5,540,000 in 2016.

Susan Yandell would go on to become the sixth dam of the Salvator colt Savable, who landed his own big cotton in winning the $58,400 Futurity Stakes in 1902.

Photo of Savable as published in Outing (Vol. XLII, No. 2), May 1903.

The finish of the 1902 Futurity Stakes, won by Savable by a nose over Lord of the Vale.
Photo as published in Munsey’s Magazine (Vol. XXVIII, No. 2), November 1902.

Sam Bryant reflects on Proctor Knott’s Futurity win

“The special correspondent of the Sportsman has this to say in the last issue of that journal:

Ever since the Futurity Mr. Sam Bryant has been the happiest man on the grounds, as indeed he well might be. Old Sam was resplendent in a brown derby and blue jean suit, and stroked his scrubby, sandy chin beard in a vain endeavor to appear philosophical.

“You were confident, of course?” we observed.

“Confident? Yes, I know thar was none of ’em that could beat my hoss. I told you at Long Branch that my hoss was the best hoss I ever owned, and I’ve had a few good ones.”

“But these stories about Auricoma and Galen –they didn’t make you lose faith?”

“Why should they? Mr. Withers’ filly I’d never seen run. She never beat my hoss’ record. As for Galen, suppose he did run it in 1:14 in private. My hoss did that in public at Long Branch. You’d rather have a public race than a private trial, wouldn’t you? Of course; so would any man that knows anything ‘bout horses.”

“Was Knott as good as he was at Monmouth?”

“I reckon he was. Talking about losing confidence, the only thing I was afraid of was I couldn’t get my hoss fit. He’s an awful good doer, and when you let up on him he gets hog fat in no time. He wasn’t quite right at Saratoga, and that worried me a bit. You see I was between two dangers–not giving him enough and giving him too much. I thought he needed more work, but there was too short a time to do it in.”

“What were the orders you gave Barnes?”

“I told him to get off with the rest, but keep with ’em–not go out and kill the hoss.”

“Did you expect Salvator would give Knott so hard a race?”

“No, although I heard a lot about him before the race. Since the race I’ve heard people say my horse fouled him. Barnes says Salvator fouled him more than he fouled Salvator. That black fellow of Haggin’s ran into my boy so that he couldn’t use his whip hand.”

“Are you going to start Knott again this season?”

“No, I reckon not. What’s the use of sweating such a horse as that for a little money. We’ll let him up until next season. He’d ought to make a great 3-year-old. They do say that Luke Blackburn colts can’t stay. But when they’re out of Tom mares they’ll stay far enough. I wouldn’t have bought Knott if he hadn’t been out of a Tom mare. I’m more of a believer in Great Tom than most people, because I’ve had some good ones myself. Luke Blackburn gives ’em the speed and Tom gives them the size and power. My hoss is 16-hands, and I’ll bet he weighs more than any good 2-year-old in the country.”

“Shall you bring him East next season?”

“Oh yes, the East is the place for a man that has a good hoss, but he’ll meet all his Western engagements.”

“You have refused a big offer for Knott?”

“Yes; I don’t want to sell. Though if he is worth that much money to any man he’s worth it to me.”
(The Daily American (Nashville, TN), 09/10/1888)