Red Rain

Red Rain (126 lbs.) tops the 1935 Experimental Handicap

Following a brief suspension of the Experimental Handicap in 1934 due to the retirement of Walter Vosburgh (several outlets did publish their own unofficial rankings), the rankings resumed in 1935 under new Jockey Club handicapper Jack Campbell and have continued uninterrupted to the present day.


“Horsemen of thoroughbred persuasion, as well as lovers of racing, are looking forward to Jack Campbell’s Experimental Handicap for our two-year-olds, which is likely to be published shortly in “The Racing Calendar.”

It will be the official handicapper’s rating of the juveniles of 1935 along the lines of the Free Handicap in England. Walter S. Vosburgh instituted the Experimental Handicap in this country three or four years ago after a number of us had been pleading for it over a stretch of time.

It has been a distinct value for those who like to confirm their own figures, or, in any case, have a means for comparison, while a rating always is popular with the enthusiasts of any sport. The Experimental Handicap is more eagerly anticipated than usual this season because the two-year-olds have been so evenly matched, with no actual standout.

With only three or four stakes of prominence to be run before the season ends in the North, no changes of any importance in the present rating are likely. One, of course, must have the honor, always a questionable one, of heading the list at top weight, and it will be interesting to know on which one Jack Campbell places this distinction. So far as can be judged, there are at least six candidates for the place.

Lester Doctor expressed the opinion on Friday that J. E. Widener’s Brevity was the best, in his opinion, on his brilliant race in the Champagne Stakes, when he beat the Wheatley Stable’s Snark a head. His guess, no doubt, is as good as any, even though Brevity started only three times.

In my opinion, seven of our two-year-olds are not more than two pounds apart. These seven are Brevity, Marshall Field’s Tintagel, H. P. Headley’s Hollyrood, C. V. Whitney’s Red Rain, the Bomar Stable’s Grand Slam, the Coldstream Stud’s Coldstream and Morton L. Schwartz’s Bold Venture.” (George Daley / New York Herald Tribune, 11/17/1935)


List of weights for the 1935 Experimental Handicap:

126 lbs. – Red Rain
124 lbs. – Tintagel; Grand Slam; Hollyrood; Coldstream
123 lbs. – Brevity
122 lbs. – Snark
121 lbs. – White CockadeNed Reigh
120 lbs. – Bold Venture; Crossbow IIBow to MeThe Fighter; Sun Teddy
118 lbs. – Postage Due; Bien Joli; Delphinium; Memory Book
116 lbs. – Forever Yours (f); Triumphant; Jean Bart; Bright Plumage; Maeriel
115 lbs. – Split Second (f); Valevictorian; Infidox; Wise Duke; Black Highbrow
114 lbs. – Deliberator; Little Miracle (f); Beanie M. (f); Parade Girl (f); Seabiscuit
113 lbs. – Banister; Granville
112 lbs. – Bright and Early; Sparta (f); Clocks; Go Home; Mansco; Bow and Arrow; Galsac; Sangreal; Bright Light; Tatterdemalion
110 lbs. – Dnieper; Fair Knightess (f); Brush Hook; Booming Guns; Nedrow; Pharosay; Teufel; Empty Bottle; Mr. Bones
109 lbs. – Challephen
108 lbs. – Proclivity; Pelerine (f); Lemont; Billie Bane; Erin Torch; James City; He Did; Termination; Higher Cloud
106 lbs. – Danise M. (f); High Fleet (f); Maid of Perth (f); Sea Cradle (f); Thatagal (f); Tinkling Brook (f); Gleeman; Pullman; Piccolo; Wha Hae; Transporter; Boston Pal; Down Under; Indian Broom
105 lbs. – Toration; Winter Sport; Mag Mell (f); Ste. Louise (f); Victorious Ann (f); Tony’s Wife (f); Valse (f); Lovely Girl (f); Little Nymph (f); Neap; Faust; Her Reigh; Jair; Jay Jay; Redley; My Colin; Speed to Spare; Fair Stein (f)
104 lbs. – Knowing
102 lbs. – Sir Quest; Grog; War Emblem

*(f) Filly

Overall, sixty-three sires were represented among the one hundred horses weighted, with a total of twenty-two stallions having sired more than one horse on the list. As he did in the rankings of 1933, Sir Gallahad III once again led the list, this time with five horses listed. St. Germans (GB), Toro, and Victorian were next with four, followed by Blue Larkspur, Bull Dog (FR), Diavolo, Whichone, and Wise Counsellor with three. Bud Lerner, Display, Epinard (FR), Hard Tack, High Cloud, Jock, Man o’ War, Pharamond (GB), Polymelian (GB),  Royal Minstrel (GB), Sickle (GB), Sun Flag, and The Porter each had two horses make the list.


“Jack Campbell, official handicapper of The Jockey Club, puts C. V. Whitney’s Red Rain in the proud place at the top in his Experimental Handicap for two-year-olds of the season just closed.

The New York Times, 12/16/1935.

This handicap, which corresponds to the Free Handicap of England, is published in the current issue of “The Racing Calendar,” official organ of the turf’s governing body. Campbell assigns 126 pounds to Red Rain and thereby rates him as the best of his age in training this year.

As a further indication of the evenness of the juveniles of 1935, four two-year-olds are rated two pounds away from Red Rain at 124 each. These are Marshall Field’s Tintagel, winner of The Futurity; Hal Price Headley’s Hollyrood, winner of the Pimlico Futurity; Bomar Stable’s Grand Slam, that beat Tintagel in the Arlington Futurity; and Coldstream Stud’s Coldstream, that ran a dead heat with Red Rain in the Saratoga Special of six furlongs at Saratoga Springs early last August.

Campbell’s ratings of ninety-nine two-year-olds of both sexes are of particular interest to all followers of thoroughbred racing, chiefly as a barometer of that expert opinion which may guide respective owners and trainers of the juveniles involved through the treacherous three-year-old racing seas of 1936. …” (W. J. Macbeth / New York Herald Tribune, 12/16/1935)

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False Hope’s aborted attempt at freedom, March 1951

While heading to the gate in the 5th race at Bay Meadows on March 21, 1951, the 3-year-old Mahmoud (FR) colt False Hope would toss jockey Johnny Longden and then hit the road, a trip which ultimately ended in him hung up on the outside rail. Both horse and jockey were none the worse for wear after the incident.

False Hope’s dam Peace Dust was a half-sister to the stakes winning juvenile Red Rain (1933), a highly touted colt who for a time was considered by his connections to be the next Equipoise. Red Rain’s form would begin to fall off once he became a sophomore, and he was later repurposed for the jumps, becoming a stakes winning steeplechaser. Perhaps False Hope himself wanted to see if he had what it took as well.

False Hope is astride the rail after throwing jockey Johnny Longden, center, while being led to the starting gate for the fifth race at Bay Meadows, San Mateo, Calif., March 21, 1951.  Attendants attempt to free the horse, which was scratched from the race.  (AP Photo)

False Hope demonstrating that he did not inherit the jumping abilities of his uncle, Red Rain (AP Photo).

While False Hope would never face the jump course during his race career, the rail incident wouldn’t harm him any. He would continue to race for another two years, retiring with a record of (53) 3-9-5 and earnings of $12,670.