Miss Bennett

Photo (ca. 1891) of stakes winner Russell, damsire of Wise Counsellor

Photo of Russell (1888 b. c. by Eolus – Tillie Russell by Scathelock) as published in The Illustrated American (Vol. 86, No. 1891, for the week ending 10/10/1891).

Sofala (1898)

Sofala (1898 ch. f. by Balgowan – Apozea by Bishop)
Breeder/Owner: Barney Schreiber (Woodlands Stud, Missouri)
Trainers: Dick Williams and Felix Carr
Family 23-b

“There are two propositions about Sofala. Either she is an equine wonder or there are no good 2-year-olds at San Francisco. She has shown that nothing there can be classed with her. She is Miss Woodford, Firenzi, Thora, Yo Tambien, and Imp all in one so far as the Pacific coast is concerned…”

Record: (18) 12-2-1
1st: Gebhard S. (170 ft. less than 6f,OAK), Western S. (5f,TAN)

NTR and world 2YO record at Tanforan (01/19/1900): 3f in :35 ½.
NTR at Tanforan (02/24/1900): 4f in :48

Winner of 12 of her first 14 starts, all of which were run before April 15 of her 2-year-old year, including six starts in the month of January.

Sofala - photo (SF Call 1900.04.15)

The San Francisco Call, 04/15/1900

A homebred for Barney Schreiber’s Woodlands Stud (Bridgeton, MO), Sofala was a “medium-sized,” “racy-looking, well made youngster” by the stakes winning Strathmore horse Balgowan and the first foal out of the Bishop mare Apozea.

Balgowan ad (DRF 1903.11.22)

Daily Racing Form, 11/22/1903

Balgowan was a multiple stakes winner (incl. Hyde Park S., Kentucky Central H., Maxwell House H., Merchants H., Peabody Hotel H., Saratoga S., Southern Hotel S.) who passed through several hands during his racing career before being purchased by Schreiber in late 1894. While Schreiber’s initial intent was for the then 6-year-old Balgowan to join his racing string in California, the horse was ultimately retired to Woodlands for stud duties in the spring of 1895, where he would remain until his death in September 1908.

In addition to Sofala, Balgowan would sire the handicapper Gus Heidorn (1901 b. c. o/o Charmion by Tyrant) and the filly Sylvia Talbot (1900 ch. f. o/o Parolee by Panique), a stakes winner who would set a track record for 6 ½ furlongs (1:19) at Washington Park at the age of three.

Apozea (aka Apoza, Spozea, Spozia) was purchased by Schreiber for $210 as an unbroken and untried 2-year-old at auction in late June 1896. Out of the Vauxhall mare Patricia, Apozea was a half-sister to 1891 Kentucky Derby winner Kingman (by Glengarry (GB)), a race in which the aforementioned Balgowan would finish second.

In a “farcical race” that was said to be “tame, flat and uninteresting” and won in “selling plater time,” Kingman’s final time of 2:52 ¼ (over a track rated slow) holds the honor of being the slowest Kentucky Derby (then at 12 furlongs) winning time in history. A multiple stakes winner during his career, Kingman would pass away at the age of five leaving no produce.

Apozea would race at least once as a 2-year-old, finishing last of nine in a five furlong dash at St. Louis in late August 1896 before being bred to Balgowan in the spring of 1897. Sofala was the first foal for the then 4-year-old Apozea, who would ultimately produce at least ten foals, including three full siblings to Sofala: Charles Green (1903 ch. g.), Alice Collins (1906 b. f.), and Louise B. (1908 b. f.). While all three were winners, none would duplicate their sister’s success.

Sofala, stabled with Schreiber’s string in Northern California, debuted in a three furlong allowance at the newly constructed Tanforan on January 6, defeating the Masetto colt Rathgar by four lengths over a slow track.

She would quickly return to competition, defeating the Red Iron filly Lillie Diggs by three lengths in a three furlong dash on January 13, and then best the Fitz James colt Sig Levy by a head in another three furlong dash on January 15. She would bear out in the stretch in the win against Sig Levy, this was later attributed to “mouth trouble.”

Despite being undefeated in three starts, Sofala’s next start came in a three furlong selling race at Tanforan on January 19. Defeating old maiden foe Rathgar by two lengths, her final time of :35 ½ was not only a new track record, but a new world record for 2-year-olds at the distance.

Tanforan 1908 (Hamilton Henry Dobbin)

Tanforan Racetrack, 1908
Photo by Hamilton Henry Dobbin, preserved by the California State Library.

Leaving the confines of Tanforan for nearby Oakland, Sofala would suffer the first loss of her career in a 3 ½ furlong allowance on January 25, finishing second by a half-length to the Duncombe (GB) gelding Dunfree. Five days later, the two would face off again at Oakland in a 3 ½ furlong allowance on January 30, with Sofala this time turning the tables on her conqueror, registering a two length win over Dunfree.

Oakland Race Track

Oakland Race Track (Emeryville, CA) just prior to or following the 1907 Burns Handicap, won by Kercheval.
Photo preserved by the Library of Congress.

Returning to Tanforan, Sofala would suffer the second loss of her brief career in a 3 ½ furlong allowance on February 12, finishing second to the Bassetlaw (GB) gelding M. F. Tarpey by two lengths.

“The filly is believed to have been a trifle short when M. F. Tarpey beat her, due to the fact that she had just recovered from a slight cold which forced her trainer to let up on her for two weeks.” (Daily Racing Form, 03/07/1900)

Her next start at Tanforan on February 24 would mark a successful step up in distance to four furlongs. Once again turning the tables on her conqueror, Sofala would defeat M. F. Tarpey by four lengths in a track record setting time of :48.

She would return to Oakland three days later, defeating the Mariner (AUS) colt Count Hubert by two lengths in a four furlong allowance on February 27.

MARCH 1900
Remaining at Oakland for the month of March, Sofala would register a five length win over the Buckmaster filly Lucidia in a 4 ½ furlong allowance on March 1 and score a two length win in heavy going over the St. Andrew (GB) gelding Andrattus in a four furlong allowance on March 10.

“Sofala’s half mile in 50 ¼ seconds with 118 pounds up, over a heavy track at Oakland last Saturday stamps the Balgowan filly as one of the greatest racing machines of her age ever seen on the American turf. She handled her big impost like the stake filly that she undoubtedly is, and spread-eagled her field, winning under all kinds of wraps from Andrattus and Intrada, both of whom were in receipt of big weight. Andrattus and Intrada were returned winners in their previous starts.” (Daily Racing Form, 03/16/1900)

Sofala would end the month with a five length win over the Crescendo colt Impromptu (aka Impeto) in a 4 ½ furlong allowance at Oakland on March 31.

“Sofala’s victory on Saturday makes her tenth one in twelve starts, and the little miss enjoys the honor of being the only two-year-old in history that has ever won ten races before the first of April. She won with 120 pounds up, as easily as she won with 112 at the opening of the season. … Sofala will be shipped east in about ten days. Sofala comes from the great Gallopade family, whence comes Prioress, winner of the Czarewitch of 1857, and Starke, the only American horse that ever won the Goodwood cup.” (Los Angeles Times, 04/02/1900)

APRIL 1900 Headline - Gebhard (SF Call 1900.04.08)
Running against a strong wind and a 125 lb. impost, Sofala would take the Gebhard Stakes over Oakland’s Futurity course (170 ft. less than 6 furlongs) on April 7 by two lengths over old rival Dunfree. Chart notes from the race proclaimed that Sofala “is probably the greatest filly ever seen in California.”

“When Barney Schreiber’s crack piece of racing bric-a-brac, Sofala, started for the Gebhard it was with many misgivings on the part of Felix Carr and Dick Williams, Barney’s two trainers. Felix had a dread of the “hoodoo” thirteenth start, while Dick said Schreiber ought to be arrested for starting a young two-year-old with all that weight up. Barney himself was like a nervous “scrapper” waiting for the gong. He finally consulted Judge Joe Murphy, who probably told the St. Louis man she would strike just as hard game in an ordinary purse race. If it didn’t help her it certainly did not hurt the filly’s selling price any.” (San Francisco Call, 04/14/1900)

“And besides all that, Barney has a filly that sets one wondering. There are two propositions about Sofala. Either she is an equine wonder or there are no good 2-year-olds at San Francisco. She has shown that nothing there can be classed with her. She is Miss Woodford, Firenzi, Thora, Yo Tambien, and Imp all in one so far as the Pacific coast is concerned, and we must wait till she comes East and tackles the now unknown quantities here before we can properly gauge her.

But, leaving her repeated victories out of the question, she is still a thing to be wondered at for the nerve she has shown. Young as she is and of a sex that is rarely hardy, she has already run and won more races than are indulged in by many first-class horses. English trainers say that no stake horse should be asked to go to the post more than ten times in a season, yet here is a 2-year-old filly that has passed that limit in the first three months of the year, and the real season of her racing is not yet upon her.

She is entered in the stakes about here and will start if fit, and it will be an interesting thing to watch her career throughout the summer after the grueling that she has had since the 1st of January at San Francisco. Schreiber’s winning at the coast tracks amount to $20,000, Bannockburn, Sofala, and Forte being mainly responsible for the golden harvest.” (Charles E. Trevathan / Chicago Daily Tribune, 04/08/1900)

“Sofala holds the world’s record, so far as early racing goes. No other two-year-old in the world has ever won eleven races before the 1st of July, let alone the 10th of April.” (“Hidalgo” / Los Angeles Times, 04/09/1900)

Returning to Tanforan for the first time since late February, Sofala then took the Western Stakes (5f) on April 14 by a length over the Rousseau gelding Diderot.

“She has shown enormous speed, the ability to carry high weights with ease and has found any route she has been asked to traverse easily within the compass of her power. What more could an owner desire? Barney Schreiber facetiously writes that she is “rotten,” but she is as the apple of his eye.” (Daily Racing Form, 04/18/1900)

Through April 14, Sofala had earned a remarkable twelve wins and two seconds in fourteen starts, and the comparisons between the filly and Golden Rule, the great California 2-year-old of the previous year, begun to grow.

MAY 1900
“Barney Schreiber’s two-year-old filly Sofala will be sent East from San Francisco to Chicago, and she may possibly come to the metropolitan tracks. The filly has won twelve out of the fourteen races in which she has started, and her owner things her the best two-year-old of the year. There have been other fillies like Sofala that were thought to be the best of their years – May Hempstead, for instance – and when they were called upon to meet fair two-year-olds in the middle of the season they were found wanting. Sofala has been raced so much so early in her career that she is bound to suffer from it. May Hempstead was just such a filly, and received the same sort of treatment, with the result that she was practically worthless last season.” (The New York Times, 05/02/1900)

Sofala and the rest of the Schreiber string arrive in St. Louis on May 15.

“The phenomenal success of Barney Schreiber’s great two-year-old filly, Sofala, who was bred in St. Louis county, has been the biggest kind of an advertisement for Missouri. She is beyond a doubt one of the best youngsters ever bred in this country, and the fact that she comes from Missouri proves conclusively that this state is capable of producing just as good race horses as Kentucky or Tennessee.” (Daily Racing Form, 05/16/1900)

While entered in a highly anticipated race against the Russell filly Miss Bennett – the “western” phenom with four wins, two track records, and another track record equaled in five starts at Little Rock (Clinton Park) and Memphis (Montgomery Park) – in the Debutante Stakes (4.5f) at St. Louis on May 19, Sofala would scratch out of the race, with Schreiber citing both poor physical condition following her journey and the toll heavy rains had on the track’s condition.

With the Debutante field then reduced to three, Miss Bennett would take the Debutante by six lengths over the Loyalist (GB) filly Clorita.

“Barney Schreiber did not start Sofala in the Debutante stakes at St. Louis and said before the race: “My filly has not been right since her long journey across the Rocky Mountains. She has been off her feed, and I have been compelled to borrow some California hay from Captain Hackett, owner of Yellow Tail, and mix it with our Missouri hay to induce her to eat. It will be an impossibility to get her ready for Saturday’s race, and it would be an injustice to her, myself, the association and the public to think of starting her. She will be ready later on, and when she does start, I want the public as well as myself to think that she is fit to win.” (Daily Racing Form, 05/20/1900)

JUNE 1900
Sofala would again be scratched from a 4 ½ furlong allowance at Harlem on June 9, with this time Schreiber citing the nine horse field size as a disadvantage.

“The reason I did not start Sofala Saturday is that the field appeared a little large for her,” said Barney Schreiber. “The filly is a nervous animal, and although she was fit for a race, I concluded that nothing would be gained had she run. I would like to have it made public that her nervousness alone was the cause of her being scratched.”” (Daily Racing Form, 06/10/1900)

Despite his stated reason for the scratch, Sofala was experienced with larger fields, as three of her twelve wins back in California had come in nine horse fields. She also had a second place finish in a twelve horse field.

After much delay, Sofala’s first start outside of California would ultimately occur in a 4 ½ furlong allowance at Washington Park on June 23. Finishing third by about five lengths to the Faraday colt Criterion and the Hindoo colt Alard Scheck, it would be the worst performance of her young career.

Remaining at Washington Park, Sofala would finally meet up with Miss Bennett in the Lakeside Stakes (5f) on June 26. The highly anticipated race would not live up to the hype, as Sofala would finish sixth in the nine horse field, well behind winner Miss Bennett, who would defeat Esher (GB) filly Lady Schorr by two lengths.

Headline - Lakeside S. (SF Call 1900.06.27)

“Barney Schreiber refused to be consoled last night over the poor showing made by Sofala. He says he does not want to do Caywood any injustice, but cannot believe the filly ran anything like her race. Caywood, he says, failed to follow his instructions to keep at work on Sofala, who is inclined to loaf. “I know that Sofala can beat all those horses,” exclaimed Schreiber, “and will bet she can if they ever meet again.”” (Chicago Daily Tribune, 06/27/1900)

“Sofala finished fifth after having shown no speed. The California filly is undoubtedly far short of her far Western form. Saturday’s race, instead of helping her, probably hurt her. Owner Schreiber was exasperated at her performance and seemed to blame Caywood. He even declared he was willing to bet $5,000 that his filly could defeat Miss Bennett.” (Chicago Daily Tribune, 06/27/1900)

Returning to St. Louis, Sofala would finish last of seven in the Turf Congress Handicap (6f) on June 30, well behind winner Lady Shorr, who would defeat the Charade colt Ampere by five lengths in the heavy going.

“They tell me she acted badly before the race. She cut up while being saddled in the paddock, and Jockey Ruiz says she gave starter Bruce some trouble at the post. This satisfies me that the filly was not right, for she never before acted sour or mean. I shipped her from Chicago to St. Louis the night before the races, and I guess the trip didn’t do her any good.” (Barney Schreiber as quoted in the St. Louis Republic, 07/02/1900)

JULY 1900 Headline - Schreiber barred (CDT 1900.07.04)
In early July, Barney Schreiber is barred from Washington Park as a result of the “inconsistency” of his horses Fly By Night and In Shot.

Prior to his arrival at Washington Park, Fly By Night had run a number of unremarkable races at Harlem and Hawthorne. In his first start at Washington Park, Fly By Night would finish up the track in a 1 ⅛ mile race, despite going off as the betting favorite. However, two days later he would win the Oakwood Handicap (1 ⅛ mi.) handily at odds of 7-1. That same day, the 2-year-old filly In Shot would also display a reversal in form when winning at high odds.

The stewards at Washington Park ultimately ruled that Schreiber’s suspension was to run only through the rest of the track’s race meeting, which was to conclude at the end of the month.

The events at Washington Park were not the first time Schreiber horses had come under scrutiny in recent months. In November 1899, trainer Dick Williams was suspended alongside jockey Jack Ward by decision of the California Jockey Club due to the strange reversal of form of Schreiber’s horses Aluminum and Forte during the Oakland meeting. The stewards recommended revocation of the two’s licenses; however, Williams’ license was later reinstated.

Sitting on the sidelines for the month of July, the next (and what would ultimately be the final) start of Sofala’s career came in a 5 ½ furlong allowance at Saratoga on August 2. After being “practically left at the post,” she would finish last in the eight horse field, with the Luke Blackburn colt Luke Ward defeating the Belvidere colt Bellario by one length for the win.

Following her poor performance at Saratoga in August, Sofala was sent to Schreiber’s Woodlands for a rest. On the morning of October 25, she was turned out in company with the 3-year-old St. George (GB) filly Nance O’Neil, “a worthless race horse that Mr. Schreiber has been trying to sell all season.” Shortly after the two fillies were turned out, a kick from Nance O’Neil rendered Sofala “badly crippled.” Tetanus would soon set in, and despite receiving all care available, Sofala would pass away in agony during the evening of October 28.

Despite his prior feelings towards Nance O’Neil, Schreiber would ultimately not rid himself of the filly following the accident, instead breeding her to Balgowan in the spring of 1901. He would retain the mare for the rest of her life.

Nance O’Neil would produce at least five foals for Schreiber, the most notable being the continent trekking Balgowan filly Tavora (1903), who would race for eight years, retiring in 1912 with a record of (152) 26-19-12 and $8,790 in earnings. In late November 1911, Schreiber would disperse his bloodstock in a sale at Mexico City, where upon arrival at the sales grounds from Missouri, the 14-year-old Nance O’Neil (in foal to Sain (GB)) would drop dead unexpectedly in the sales paddock.

Miss Bennett (1898)

Miss Bennett – 1898 ch. f. by Russell – Memoria (GB) by Oxlip (GB)
“She was certainly a grand filly, take her all the way,” said Mr. Brown.
“She was, indeed,” responded Mr. Bennett.

Breeder: Milton Young (McGrathiana Stud, Lexington, KY)
Owner: George C. Bennett
Trainer: Henry McDaniel

RECORD: At least (35) 21-9-3; possibly up to 38 starts
1900: 1st Turf Congress S. (NTR-4f,Clinton Park), Memphis S. (ETR-5f,Montgomery Park), Debutante S. (4.5f,St. Louis), Lakeside S. (5f,WAS), Quickstep S. (ETR-4f,WAS), Lassie S. (5f,HAW), Petite S. (5f,Harlem); 2nd Graduate S. (6f,Harlem), Aspirant S. (4.5f,Harlem); 3rd Ardelle Sweepstakes (4f,Montgomery Park); Hawthorne S. (5f,HAW)

1901: 2nd Free Handicap (6f,HAW), Fleetwood S. (6f,HAW); 3rd Tennessee Oaks (1mi.,Montgomery Park)

NTR at Clinton Park (03/29/1900): 4f in :48 ¾ in the Turf Congress Stakes
NTR at Montgomery Park (04/24/1900): 4.5f in :55 ½
ETR at Montgomery Park (04/25/1900): 5f in 1:01 ¾ in the Memphis Stakes
ETR at Washington Park (07/05/1900): 4f in :48 in the Quickstep Stakes
NTR at Harlem (08/11/1900): 4.5f in :54
NTR at Hawthorne (09/01/1900): 6f in 1:12 ¾

Miss Bennett - GC Bennett 1901 (SDN-000426, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago History Museum)

Miss Bennett with George C. Bennett (possibly Henry McDaniel at left), 1901.
Photo: SDN-000426, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago History Museum.

At a Lexington, KY dispersal of A. H. and D. H. Morris’ Texas bloodstock in late 1897, McGrathiana Stud’s Milton Young would acquire the young Oxlip (GB) mare Memoria (GB) for $275. Memoria, in foal to the Eolus stallion Russell, would produce a chestnut filly in early 1898.

Consigned to a Sheepshead Bay paddock sale in June 1899, Memoria’s filly, now a yearling, was purchased by Memphis turfman George C. Bennett for $750. She would later be given the name “Miss Bennett” in honor of Bennett’s daughter.

Shipped to Bennett’s training base at Newport, KY following the sale, the yearling Miss Bennett quickly drew notice during the fall of 1899, reportedly having worked a quarter of a mile in “exceptionally fast time.”

Henry McDaniel 1904 (SDN-002274, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago History Museum)

Henry McDaniel, 1904.
Photo: SDN-002274, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago History Museum

MARCH 1900
Now with Bennett’s house trainer Henry McDaniel, Miss Bennett would make her debut at Clinton Park (Little Rock, AR) in the Turf Congress Stakes (4f) on March 29. Winning by five lengths over Silverdale in :48 ¾, her final time was a new track record.

“Miss Bennett was much the best and was never fully extended. She showed dazzling speed and performed like a filly of high class.” (Chart notes as published in the Daily Racing Form, 03/30/1900)

“All of the returned horsemen from the Little Rock meeting are loud in their praise of Miss Bennett, G. C. Bennett’s young miss, by Russell-imp. Memoria. She is said to be a remarkably quick breaker and has speed to waste. One enthusiastic turfman, who has followed the destinies of the Little Rock track since Boundless won the Derby there in 1893, declared that Miss Bennett possessed more speed than Sulsan, Howland or Bannockburn, all of which received their baptism in racing silk at the Arkansas track.” (The Nashville American, 04/03/1900)

APRIL 1900
“In the opinion of good judges Miss Bennett is a better filly than May Hempstead was at this time in her career, and it is said she could have run a half mile at Little Rock in :47 ¾ when she won the stake for 2-year-olds at the Arkansas capital last week. It is also conceded she holds the early filly stakes at her mercy unless something should turn up in the races and show unexpected speed.” (Chicago Daily Tribune, 04/04/1900)

Miss Bennett’s second start would come in the Ardelle Sweepstakes (4f) at Montgomery Park (Memphis, TN) on April 12, where over the “slow and improving” course she would finish third by about three lengths to Lady Schorr and The Mecca.

“Miss Bennett, hitherto considered the fastest 2-year-old filly at the track, was a poor third, but had an excuse. She is a high strung filly, and acted nervous at the post, delaying the start six minutes.” (Chicago Daily Tribune, 04/13/1900)

Miss Bennett - HEADLINE 1900.04.24 MEM race (Atlanta Constitution 1900.04.25)

Miss Bennett would return to winning ways in a 4.5 furlong race at Montgomery Park on April 21, defeating Sad Sam by six lengths in :57 ½. Three days later (April 24), she would win a 4.5 furlong purse by four lengths over Silverdale,  setting a new track record of :55 ½, and then follow up on the effort the next day (April 25) with a two length win over Garry Hermann in the Memphis Stakes (5f), where her time of 1:01 ¾ would equal the track record.

“Miss Bennett made her own running and won as she pleased. This is undoubtedly the best filly that has shown up here thus far. She can handle weight, has phenomenal speed and seems to like to go a long route.” (Chart notes as published in the Daily Racing Form, 04/26/1900)

“When she ran five furlongs at Memphis in 1:01 ¾ she not only equaled the track record for the distance, but ran a second and a quarter faster than any other 2-year-old did over that course, yet some of the greatest horses America has seen have raced as a 2-year-old at Memphis, the mighty Ornament included.” (The Nashville American, 09/16/1900)

Miss Bennett - Memphis S. chart (DRF 1900.04.26)

MAY 1900
“Miss Bennett, George C. Bennett’s 2-year-old wonder, is not near as large as a filly as Lady Schorr, but what there is of her is all horse. Hugh R. Baker, the veteran trainer, says that Miss Bennett is one of the best looking fillies he ever laid his eyes on.” (Daily Racing Form, 05/24/1900)

While Miss Bennett has been the talk of the “western” tracks, the connections of the “far west” 2-year-old filly Sofala, who through the month of April already had a remarkable twelve wins on the season at Oakland and Tanforan, stated they believed she was better than Miss Bennett and they intended to come east.

Now at St. Louis, the “wonderfully speedy” Miss Bennett would win the Debutante Stakes (4.5f) on May 19 by six lengths over Clorita and Lady Schorr and a track rated slow.

JUNE 1900
Miss Bennett would suffer the second loss of her career at Hawthorne on June 2, finishing second over the “slow and improving” course to Fancywood (aka Fancy Wood) by two lengths in a five furlong allowance. Undeterred by the loss, railbirds claimed Miss Bennett was simply short and needed the race to round into form.

“Chicago had its first glimpse of the great Miss Bennett, and the initial view of her was not a pleasant one. To those who had not seen her race at Memphis, and who had not had the opportunity of enthusing over her performances there, she was a distinct disappointment. From the stories which the correspondents had sent out of Memphis, Chicago racing folks had got the notion that Miss Bennett was an individual of rare possibilities. When she came out for her preliminary the rail was lined with men anxious to see what sort she was. She was not in the least impressive in appearance, and when she worked through the stretch she galloped like one that had already been to the races too often and was not desirous of going there again. … Miss Bennett may be the great filly which the Southerners have claimed she is, but if their estimate of her is true, her race was not up to form. It may be said for her, however, that her people have not been able to do much with her recently, and she was hurried for this race. It is possible that a recent workout over the heavy Hawthorne track might have set her off.” (Chicago Daily Tribune, 06/03/1900)

Miss Bennett would once again fail to give her backers confidence following her performance in the Hawthorne Stakes (5f) on June 8, where over a track alternately described as “heavy and lumpy” and “nasty and sticky,” she would finish third by roughly five lengths to Silverdale and Invictus.

“Miss Bennett was giving away weight to everything in the race, and the delay at the post did her no good, as she is a fretful filly. She, at no part of the race, had a chance to beat Silverdale, and is hardly his equal in the mud.” (Chart notes as published in the Daily Racing Form, 06/09/1900)

Miss Bennett - Hawthorne S. chart (DRF 1900.06.09)

Leaving Hawthorne and heading to Washington Park (Chicago, IL) to end the month, Miss Bennett would finally return to winning ways in the Lakeside Stakes (5f) on June 26, defeating Lady Schorr by three lengths in 1:02.

Miss Bennett - better than Sofala (WP 1900.06.27)

The Lakeside would mark the first matchup between Miss Bennett and her California rival Sofala. Barney Schreiber, the owner of Sofala, was so confident in his filly’s chances prior to the race that he proclaimed he was willing to bet $5,000 that Sofala would win. Sofala would ultimately finish fifth in the Lakeside, which would be the only time the two fillies would meet in competition.

Miss Bennett - HEADLINE 1900.07.05 Quickstep S. (Washington Post 1900.07.06)

JULY 1900
In the Quickstep Stakes (4f) at Washington Park on July 5, Miss Bennett would defeat Harry Herendeen by three lengths in a track record equaling time of :48.

It was announced on July 15 that a sweepstakes between the top five 2-year-olds in the west (Harry Herendeen, Miss Bennett, Garry Hermann, Golden Age, Silverdale) would be held at Hawthorne on July 28. However, this race was later cancelled.

Miss Bennett - Quickstep S. chart (DRF 1900.07.06)

Over a track rated “heavy and improving” and under her highest assigned impost to date (123 lbs.), Miss Bennett would win the Lassie S. (5f) at Hawthorne on July 26 by four lengths over Fancywood (who was later disqualified).

Miss Bennett - Lassie S. chart (DRF 1900.07.27)

“Miss Bennett yesterday won the Lassie Stakes at Hawthorne under circumstances that proved her to be a really first-class filly, certainly the best of her age in the West and worthy of attention anywhere. G. C. Bennett’s daughter of Russell was asked to give away fifteen pounds to several of her youthful sisters. None of them possessed a great deal of speed, and yet fifteen pounds is a good deal to horses at this age, especially on a muddy track. Yesterday the track was sticky. … The race shows that Miss Bennett can carry weight and run in the mud. Her ability on a hard track was already demonstrated, so she is a race horse.” (Chicago Daily Tribune, 07/27/1900)

Now at Harlem (Chicago, IL), Miss Bennett would win the Petite Stakes (5f) on August 9 by 1 ½ lengths over Bonnie Lissak and Fancywood in a final time of 1:00. “Miss Bennett is a speed marvel and undoubtedly the best two-year-old filly in training in the west today. She fairly flew in the first part of the journey and pulled up fresh and good without taking a long breath.” (Chart notes as published in the Daily Racing Form, 08/10/1900)

Returning in a 4.5 furlong allowance on August 11, over a track rated “fast, but a trifle cuppy,” Miss Bennett would defeat Money Muss by one length in a track record setting time of :54. “Miss Bennett had the hardest race of her career. She was giving away a lot of weight and the track conditions were against her. At the eighth post it seemed that Money Muss would win, but Miss Bennett hung on like a leech and made Money Muss quit.” (Chart notes as published in the Daily Racing Form, 08/12/1900)

Miss Bennett - 1900.08.11 Harlem chart (DRF 1900.08.12)

“This remarkable filly has now started thirteen times and won ten races and finished second once and third twice in her remaining three starts. These latter defeats were all accomplished on a heavy track, a sort of going she does not fancy any too well. She has never suffered defeat on a good track. … No other 2-year-old filly ever held as many records in the annals of racing. …” (The Nashville American, 09/16/1900)

“In the ten races she has won she has never been brought to a drive, and on a fast track she seems absolutely invincible. Good judges who have seen them all race believe Miss Bennett is even the superior of Commando, Ballyhoo Bey and the other great 2-year-olds of the Eastern world.” (The Nashville American, 09/16/1900)

Remaining at Harlem, the first of September would mark Miss Bennett’s first start against older horses in a six furlong all age race. Carrying a lightweight 82 lbs., she would set a track record for six furlongs in the win, running the distance in 1:12 ¾.

She would then finish second by two lengths to Joe Frey in the Graduate Stakes (6f) on September 6 and second by three lengths to Joe Frey in the Aspirant Stakes (4.5f) on September 11. Joe Frey’s time of :54 in the Aspirant would equal the track record set by Miss Bennett back on August 11.

Miss Bennett’s final start of 1900 came in a 5.5 furlong purse at Kinloch Park (St. Louis, MO) on October 13, where she would defeat Frank Bell for the win.

“Miss Bennett, Dick Burgess, Hand Squeeze and seventeen yearlings will be shipped from St. Louis to Memphis in a few days, where they will be quartered until February. They will then be shipped to Clinton Park, Little Rock, Ark., where they will be prepared for next year’s racing. … The stable had a very successful year, having won fifty-five races, including 12 stakes, which were won by Miss Bennett.” (The Nashville American, 11/3/1900)

With $12,335 in earnings, Miss Bennett ends the year as the top earning 2-year-old filly and tenth highest earning overall 2-year-old of 1900.

Miss Bennett - 2YO winners of 1900 (AC 1900.12.26)

On February 2, the early odds for April’s Tennessee Oaks (1 mi.) at Montgomery Park are released. Lady Schorr is installed as the 3-1 favorite, with Miss Bennett and Lady Strathmore co-second choices at 4-1.

Miss Bennett’s first start of 1901 comes in a 6 furlong purse at Montgomery Park on April 12, where she would best a field of six that included Silverdale and Lady Strathmore. Four days later (April 16), she would make her first attempt at a distance greater than six furlongs in the Tennessee Oaks (1 mi.). This attempt would be unsuccessful, as she would finish last in the three horse field. Lady Schorr would win, with Lady Strathmore taking the place.

“The general opinion after the race was that Miss Bennett is nothing more than a sprinter.” (Chicago Daily Tribune, 04/17/1901)

Miss Bennett would bounce between the Chicago, IL area tracks (Harlem, Hawthorne, Washington Park, Worth) during the summer of 1901.

Having been shipped to Worth in late April, she won a 5.5 furlong selling race on May 6, defeating Kenilworth by 2 ½ lengths. She would then finish second by two lengths to The Rush in a five furlong allowance on May 11.

“Miss Bennett looked finer than silk and scored in a high class way. For her size she is a grand filly. Coburn seems to understand her and rode a perfect race, hugging the rail throughout and saving every inch of ground possible.” (Chart notes as published in the Daily Racing Form, 05/07/1901)

At Washington Park, after reportedly stopping badly during the race, Miss Bennett would finish second in a six furlong allowance by four lengths to Isia on June 28. She would then defeat Burnie Bunton by 2 ½ lengths in a six furlong allowance on July 9, and best The Rush by 1 ½ lengths in a six furlong allowance on July 12. Ending the month at Hawthorne, she would win a six furlong allowance by two lengths over Admonition on July 22, and remain at Hawthorne for the Free Handicap (6f) on August 3, where she would finish second by one length to George Arnold.

Now back at Harlem, she would defeat Burnie Bunton twice in a five day span, besting the mare in a six furlong allowance on August 5, and (by a nose) in a six furlong allowance on August 10.

Burnie Bunton - Worth 1902 (SDN-000633, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago History Museum)

Burnie Bunton at Worth, 1902.
Photo: SDN-000633, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago History Museum.

Still at Harlem, she won a six furlong allowance on September 2 by one length over Henry of Trastamare and then turn in a sixth place finish behind winner Maggie Davis in the Garden City Stakes (6f) on September 7. 

Maggie Davis in Chicago 1901 (SDN-000332 Chicago Daily News negatives collection Chicago History Museum)

Maggie Davis in Chicago, 1901.
Photo: SDN-000332, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago History Museum.

Off of the poor effort in the Garden City, Miss Bennett would return to winning ways in a six furlong allowance run in a “rainstorm and ankle deep mud” at Harlem on September 11, defeating Burnie Bunton by a half-length. “Miss Bennett finished stoutly through the last eighth and outgamed Burnie Bunton in the closing strides. Her victory was a surprise, as she was supposed not to run well in the sloppy going.” (Chart notes as published in the Daily Racing Form, 09/12/1901)

Miss Bennett - HEADLINE 1901.09.20 HAW (Chicago Daily Tribune 1901.09.21)

At Hawthorne for her next two races, Miss Bennett would finish second by a head to Maggie Davis in the Fleetwood Stakes (6f) on September 16 and second by a neck to The Pride in a 6.5 furlong allowance on September 20.

The Pride’s time of 1:19 ½ on September 20 equaled the track record, and was just off the world record of 1:19 set by Sly at Harlem in June 1900. “The Pride laid along second to Miss Bennett up to the last sixteenth, where he moved up on even terms and the two fought it out desperately to the wire. It was just about a sixteenth further than Miss Bennett likes to go.” (Chart notes as published in the Daily Racing Form, 09/21/1901)

In what were to be her final two races of the season before heading south for the winter, Miss Bennett finished second to Money Muss in a five furlong race at Harlem on October 5 and fourth in the Speed Stakes (6f) at Harlem on October 7.

While en route from Harlem to Bennett’s winter base at Montgomery Park, Miss Bennett and her stablemate Abe Frank, himself a leading 2-year-old on the year, would become ill, with both cases worsening to pneumonia by the time they arrived in Memphis.

“Miss Bennett was reported dying this afternoon. Dr. Scheibler denied that her condition was so serious as this, but admitted entertaining grave doubts as to the filly’s recovery. The first symptoms of pneumonia developed Monday, and everything known to veterinary science has been done to save her. Like her great stable companion Abe Frank, Miss Bennett caught cold during the trip to Memphis.” (Chicago Daily Tribune, 11/02/1901)

While Abe Frank would fortuitously recover, Miss Bennett’s burden was too great, and she would ultimately pass away at Montgomery Park on November 3.

“George C. Bennett’s 3-year-old race mare, Miss Bennett, by Russell-Memoria, died to-day of lung fever. The crack 2-year-old Abe Frank, reported in critical condition last night from the same disease, will probably recover.

Miss Bennett was a pet with owners, trainers, jockeys, stable boys, and all habitués of the Memphis running track. George Bennett had never put a money value on the filly. One offer of $15,000 was turned down without a moment’s consideration.” (The Nashville American, 11/03/1901)

“G. C. Bennett’s good filly, Miss Bennett, died today at Montgomery Park. She was buried within the track inclosure, and her grave marks the resting place of the only thoroughbred at the track.” (Chicago Daily Tribune, 11/03/1901)

“…Miss Bennett, the speedy filly whose memory is immortal to the Bennett family and as green as the floral offerings placed on the mare’s grave each week by the miss for whom she was named” (Chicago Daily Tribune, 01/26/1902)

“Mr. Bennett feels the loss of his great 3-year-old filly, Miss Bennett, who died last fall, very sorely, and as the filly was also a great favorite with Henry Brown, of the Climas, the latter and Mr. Bennett condoled with each other much over her untimely demise.

“She was certainly a grand filly, take her all the way,” said Mr. Brown.

“She was, indeed,” responded Mr. Bennett.” (The Nashville American, 07/10/1902)

“After her death Mr. Bennett did not take interest in any particular horse he owned, treating them all alike.” (The Nashville American, 05/21/1907)