Longfellow

Photo of champion Longstreet, ca. 1891

Photo of retrospective 1891 Horse of the Year Longstreet (1886 b. c. by Longfellow – Semper Idem by Glen Athol (GB)), as published in The Illustrated American (Vol. VIII, No. 86, for the week ending 10/10/1891).

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Schreiber & Sons photographs of Asteroid, Australian (GB), Canary Bird, Eltham Lass (GB), Enquirer, Hester, Idlewild, Lavender, Leamington (GB), Lexington, Longfellow, and Planet, ca. 1860s-70s

In 1874, the Schreiber & Sons photography studio released Portraits of Noted Horses of America, a collection of photographs of select Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds of the day. The prescient purpose of this collection was stated in the book’s preface:

“In offering to the public the first book of this kind ever published, we are carrying out the suggestions of several eminent breeders who have examined our collection of photographs, and who have declared them to be the best pictures of horses ever produced. This is a point on which each admirer of good horses may judge for himself. The pictures are all taken from life, and present every animal just as they actually appear when at rest, which is the posture every horseman desires to examine a horse in when studying his various points of form.

The value of such pictures as these is not alone in the pleasure and profit they afford to the present, but will increase with years, indefinitely, becoming an interesting part of history that can be relied on as perfectly accurate.”

The notable Thoroughbreds included in the collection were the stallions Asteroid, Australian (GB), Enquirer, Leamington (GB), Lexington, Longfellow, and Planet, and the mares Canary Bird (dam of Harry Bassett), Eltham Lass (GB) (dam of Kingfisher), Hester (dam of Springbok), Idlewild, and Lavender (half-sister to Lexington and dam of Baden-Baden and Helmbold).

Click on each photo to enlarge, and then click again to enlarge even further.


STALLIONS

Enquirer (1867 b. c. by Leamington (GB) – Lida by Lexington)

The beautiful Enquirer, who was reported to have been a blood bay in color.


Leamington (GB) (1853 br. c. by Faugh-a-Ballagh (IRE) – Pantaloon Mare (GB) by Pantaloon (GB))


Lexington (1850 b. c. by Boston – Alice Carneal by Sarpedon (GB))

Lexington’s blindness is apparent in the photo.


Longfellow (1867 br. c. by Leamington (GB) – Nantura by Brawners Eclipse)


Planet (1855 ch. c. by Revenue – Nina by Boston)


Australian (GB) (1858 ch. c. by West Australian (GB) – Emilia (GB) by Young Emilius (GB))


Asteroid (1861 b. c. by Lexington – Nebula by Glencoe (GB))


MARES

Canary Bird (1860 ch. f. by Albion (GB) – Penola by Ainderby (GB))
Dam of Harry Bassett


Eltham Lass (GB) (1859 b. f. by Kingston (GB) – Maid of Palmyra (GB) by Pyrrhus the First (GB))
Dam of Kingfisher


Hester (1866 b. f. by Lexington – Heads I Say by Glencoe (GB))
Dam of Springbok


Idlewild (1859 b. f. by Lexington – Florine by Glencoe (GB))


Lavender (1855 ch. f. by Wagner – Alice Carneal by Sarpedon (GB))
Half-sister to Lexington and dam of Baden-Baden and Helmbold

Freeland, a hero of long ago

Freeland lithograph (LOC LC-USZC2-2367)

Lithograph of Freeland (1879 b. g. by Longfellow – Belle Knight by Knighthood) and jockey Isaac Murphy, produced by Currier & Ives, ca. 1885. Preserved by the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, LC-USZC2-2367.

“It may be that Henry of Navarre and Salvator are the two greatest race horses that America has produced, as their respective admirers claim, but certain it is that, compared by the records, neither of them eclipse old Freeland, who, like John Lawrence Sullivan, has become “an actor,” and is now touring with “The Derby Winner.”

Old Freeland made a fortune for Ed Corrigan, and his wonderful string of victories are part of turf history. He holds a warm spot in the hearts of Western race-goers of ten and twelve years ago, as was shown by the cry of indignation which went up several years ago when it was rumored that Corrigan was going to send the old gelding over the jumps.

According to the Cincinnati Times-Star, Dick Carey [sic] penned a beautiful poetic tribute to the old horse in protest, one verse of which will suffice to show the state of feeling into which turf followers had been worked. It is as follows:

They are schooling old Freeland over the timber,
Over the fences and walls of stone;
My heart gleams up like a dying ember,
That burns in the darkness all alone.
And I fancy again, as I sit here, dreaming,
I hear the cheers from the crowded stand,
As they hailed him there in the sunlight gleaming,
The grandest race horse in all the land.

It is sufficient to say that the greatest horse of his day was not degraded. He was sent to the farm and driven as a buggy horse, although the interest which he always aroused when he appeared in public did not permit him to be often used for that purpose.

Freeland, Parole and Barnum live in turf history as the greatest geldings the American turf has ever had. Freeland was foaled at Frank Harper’s famous Nantura stud, near Lexington, Ky., and is by Longfellow, out of Belle Knight, the famous stud matron, who gave the turf such flyers as Bell Boy, Long Knight, Lavinia Bell and Cicero. His successes firmly established Ed Corrigan’s fortunes and caused him to thereafter secure the pick of the get of Longfellow, which have rendered the green jacket with white sash famous.

Old Frank Harper raced the colt in his 2 and 3-year-old form. Like all the Longfellows, he did not race well as a 2-year-old. He started but three times at that age, and was not placed. He showed his quality and class as a 3-year-old. The famous Phoenix Hotel Stakes at Lexington was his first triumph in 1882. The Malden Stakes, at mile heats, long since dropped, was his next victory. At Louisville that spring he won the Fall City Stakes and the Louisville Stakes, the latter at mile heats, in which he defeated such crackerjacks as Fellowplay, Belle of the Highlands and Fatinitza. In his eight starts that year he won four races, all stakes.

After several victories, in 1884 the great gelding was purchased from his breeder by Ed Corrigan, and during his racing career belonged to him. That year he won the Cincinnati Hotel Stakes at Latonia. He started twenty-four times and won nine races. It was in 1884, as a 5-year-old, that he proved his title to champion of the West. He started ten times and won all but one race, in that being hard held to let his stable companion, the great mare, Modesty, win. He won the Distillers’ Stakes at Lexington, the Dixiana Stakes and Merchants’ Stakes at Louisville, the Merchants’ Stakes at Latonia, the Cash Turf Handicap and Citizens’ Handicap at St. Louis, the Boulevard and Columbia Stakes at Washington Park and the Excelsior Stakes at Saratoga. In all of these stakes, over greater distances than are now usually run, he carried crushing imposts against the best horses of his day, defeating such as Gen. Monroe, Audrian, Blazes, Lucky B, Billy Gilmore, Nellie Peyton, Vanguard and John Davis.

It was in 1885, as a 6-year-old, that his memorable match with Miss Woodford took place, when, as champion of the West, for $10,000 a side, he defeated the Dwyer’s Miss Woodford, the champion of the East. That season he started thirteen times, winning seven races. These include the Boulevard Stakes at Washington Park, the Excelsior Stakes and Morrissey Handicaps at Monmouth and the Merchants’ Stakes at Latonia. The latter race was his last victory. He faced the flag on several occasions in his later career, but never finished in the front again.

Big weights carried at high speed over great distances of ground had proven too much for him; he had pulled up lame several times during 1885, and it was to be seen that his turf career was nearly over. He started but once in 1886, in the Merchants’ Stakes at Latonia, when he ran second to Tyrant. He started twice in 1887, but was so lame that after these defeats Corrigan made no further efforts to train him.

The old campaigner looks well and hearty despite his seventeen years. Even the uninitiated can pick him out of the five race horses that Al Spink uses in The Derby Winner when he appears in the stable scene. He looks the great horse he was. The winner of twenty-nine races, nearly all of them stakes, and when pitted against the best in the country, usually at weight disadvantage, it is not remarkable he should be an impressive looking horse. His front legs are badly stove up, he being sprung-kneed now. He is quiet and docile, and never gives any trouble. He seems to enjoy the acting as much as any one.” (The Nashville American, 03/29/1896)


On December 12, 1896, the 17-year-old Freeland passed away of what was reported to be old age at the farm of George Wright in St. Louis County, MO.

1898: Frank B. Harper reflects on Ten Broeck

“It is very easy to see that of his horses Ten Broeck was [Frank B.] Harper’s favorite, although Longfellow, besides being a great race horse, was infinitely more successful in the stud, and his progeny has shed luster upon Nantura to a greater extent than that of Ten Broeck.

This favoritism is accounted for by the fact that Longfellow as already fully developed and had made his reputation during the lifetime of John Harper, while Frank Harper had ‘the raising’ of Ten Broeck, who was given to him as a suckling colt by his uncle.

‘Uncle John didn’t think much of Ten Broeck,’ said Mr. Harper. ‘He was an undersized colt, very awkward and mischievous. He had a way of humping down his back and crawling under the bar into the calves’ shed, where he would make way with all their feed. Uncle John came down to the stable one day for the purpose of making a gelding of him. I begged him to let the colt alone.’

‘Why should I?’ he asked.

‘Because, Uncle John,’ I replied. ‘I have been watching that colt in the pasture and he’s bound to make a race horse. When the colts run across the pasture he pushes a little ahead of the others every time.’

‘Well, you may have him, Frank, to do as you please,’ was his reply. ‘Maybe he will make you a little hack horse.’

‘He gave me at the same time a horse named Turner, by Endorser. I sold Turner and held on to Ten Broeck.

Ten Broeck’s first start was as a two-year-old at Louisville in 1874, and he was beaten by McGrath’s Aristides. He didn’t start any more until he was three years old, when he won his race at Lexington, and then he kept on winning. It kept the horsemen pretty busy in those days that Ten Broeck wasn’t going in. They didn’t hanker much after his company.

Yes, I guess his greatest race was the match contest for $5,000 a side between him and the California mare, Mollie McCarthy [sic], at Louisville in 1878, though it was a bad race. When they came to see me to arrange for the meeting they told me the Californians were going to bring a world of money here to put on that race. I sent them word to keep their money at home, that when the horses had gone two miles there wouldn’t be any race. The betting went on for weeks beforehand. They said there were 30,000 people at the track the day of the race. The horses ran neck and neck to the first quarter, Mollie gaining and finally leading in the home stretch. She kept up her pace around to the half mile post again, and presently the crowd saw Ten Broeck take the lead. On he flew, the mare making a desperate effort to regain her ground, but without avail. Mollie quit at the two-mile post and galloped the rest of the way. The excitement was terrific, and men rushed onto the track and nearly smothered Ten Broeck with caresses. I was caught up in the arms of the crowd and carried up and down the track, completely overpowered. I was naturally very happy over the result.

Ten Broeck could run longer and keep his wind than any horse that ever lived in the world. And I never saw him race when he was fit to run but once in my life, and that was when he beat a horse named Ad [sic], owned by J. B. Crouse, of Chillicothe, in a three-mile race at Louisville. Crouse took Ad [sic] East and won everything until he tackled Ten Broeck. When they had him run two miles some fellow hollered: ‘Ad [sic] has him agoing,’ but a moment later they saw Ten Broeck walk away from him, and he reached the stand fully an eighth of a mile ahead.

No horse ever had a kinder, better disposition, or approached as near to perfection as old Ten Broeck – he was that way all his life. Longfellow, too, was a good-tempered fellow. In a race you could ride either of them up to the string and they would stand there perfectly quiet and obedient while all the other hoses were frisking and cutting up. But the moment the drum tapped they were off.’ ” (Cincinnati Enquirer, 01/23/1898 & Louisville Courier-Journal, 01/30/1898)

The stride length of good horses

“What is the length of stride of a thoroughbred in full racing action? On that hinges the whole problem, Scarcely any two experienced turfmen agree on the length of stride, and that is why the Chicago turfmen – “reformed” but not regenerated – started something when he sent his question to a Santa Anita friend.

From fourteen to twenty-eight feet is the range of stride given by the horsemen at Santa Anita – good, practical horsemen, too. Trainer Griffin says a 2 year old will stride from fourteen to sixteen feet. Trainer West says the stride of Longfellow was twenty-eight feet. Presiding Judge Hamilton says his recollection of the stride of Longfellow at Saratoga when that mighty striding horse ran the middle three-quarters of a mile and three quarters in 1:14, was twenty-seven feet. The great Longfellow is reputed the longest striding horse in the world. Even Price McGrath, who trained the famous Tom Bowling, with a stride of twenty-seven feet, conceded the palm for length of jump to Longfellow.

The veteran trainer, Tom Harris, says when he raced Barnum, that short striding animal covered sixteen feet, and he gives the average length of a horse’s stride in racing action at twenty-two feet from tip of toe to heel. Miss Woodford, when under full sail, covered nineteen feet at each stride, and, according to Frank McCabe, the great mare was a long strider. Dr. Rice is said by Fred Foster to have covered seventeen feet at each stride when racing. Charlie Brossman maintained that his mighty race mare Imp covered twenty feet when in action and no more ease and grace of action was ever displayed by a thoroughbred than by Imp when running in a race.”
(Chicago Daily Tribune, 02/14/1909)