Epsom Derby Jokes and Ringers: Something of the Freaks That Have Run in the Greatest Race in History, Daily Racing Form, 1910-07-24


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EPSOM DERBY JOKES AND RINGERS. Something of the Freaks That Have Run in tho Greatest Race in History. As n high-class turf event tho English Derby is admittedly without a peer, and yet this aristocratic environ mint has failed to save it entirely from the ranks of the practical jokers and other fakers of the equine world. At various times some grotesque specimens of the racing animal have been scon carrying silk at l.psom. often in the way of a joke, or at other times because the owner wanted to win a bet. or perhaps boa st that he once had a Derby candidate. Others who have entered horses are those with some theory to demonstrate, or liecauso they wanted to bring some fad to public notice. One of the most recent steeds with the theory object in view was Azote, one of the starters two years ago. This horse was fed entirely on milk, the theory among those who entered him being that he would do as Well as the high-Mettled three-year-old fed according to the newest training method. Whether Azote weald have done betttr had ho had enough oats Is not known, but ho was two hundred yards behind when the winner was shooting by the judges box. One of the most famous joke horses that ever went to the post for the race was Cockney Boy, which tried his speed in 18TO. Not alone was the horse laeking in anything at all like speed, but his appearance was still worse. He was a most ordinary" looking creature, and when he appeared in the paddock people nearly fell over each other with laughter at the sight of the queer-looking aspirant for blue ribbon honors. The commotion caused by tho looks of Cockney Boy in the enclosure was nothing to what happened when he paraded with tho horses before the grandstand. Then the railbirds and other sharps got a look at him and the jeering and shouts of de rision about him could he plainly heard at the other side of the course. When they cantered to tho starting post the cry of "cats meat, cats meat, cats meat" was raised, but this did not prevent Cockney Boy from breaking away with the others when the flag fell. He stayed witli the crowd for a stride or two. when he gradually fell to the rear, and when Kingcraft, the winner, was at the finish. Cockney Boy was fully half a mile away and running at his liest. Kingcraft was a 2b to 1 shot, while Ialiuerston, tho second, was 11 to 1. It was notable that in tho same race Muster, owned by Lord Wilton, was such a rank outsider that M to 1 could lie obtained alxnit him for the place, yet Palmerston only beat him a neck. Macgregor •ran the favorite and he was no lietter than fourth. After the horses returned to the paddock Cocknev Boys owner came in for a lot of chaff, and a friend of his who was painfully shocked at the exhibition made by the horse said: "What on earth made you start such a wretch;" "Well, why shouldnt I?" growled the owner. "The horse has got four legs, a head and a tail, hasnt ho. and how the blazes was I to know he wasnt as good as the others till I ran him?" Fourteen years later, fn 1SS4, there was another famous joke horse known as the Hopeful Dutchman. That occasion was made memorable by the historic duel between Harvester and St. Cation, when the eagle eye of the judge failed to find advantage for either horse and it was returned a dead heat, the stake being divided. Harvester was at a trifle shorter figure in the betting, while the favorite was Queen Adelaide, her starting price lieing 5 1o 2. She was two lengths behind the dead heaters at the finish. As to the Hopeful Dutchman, it is bettor to give the story as told by a man who bat on him and who saw the race: "The summer of 1SS4 was beautiful and I had taken advantage of the fineness of the weather to undertake a walking tour through the counties of Surrey and Sussex. On tho Thursday before Kpsoui 1 accordingly found myself at the quaint little village of Banstead. which, as everybody knows, is within an easy walk at the famous Downs. As I bad covered alxtut twenty miles that day I decided to put up at the old inn. the l ost the place could lioast of. When I entered the bar parlor of this inn a small group of men were huddled together talking, and they lowered their voices when they saw a stranger enter. But I speedily discovered that the subject of their whispered conversation was horse and Unit they were heatedly discussing the various chances of Queen Adelaide. St. Cation. Harvester. St. Medard. Talisman and other Derby cracks. Occasionally I caught the name The frpfhmaa* an animal of which I had not previously heard, sjtokon of in tones so respectful as almost to amount to awe. Prtsently, their glasses being empty and no one proposing to replenish them, they went their several ways, and the landlord, a genial, rod-faced, big-Chested man of fifty or thereabout, turned to me, And what may bo your opinion, sir, of tho big event?* he asked mo. Most men as a fancy for the Derby. What do you think will win?* "I answered confidently enough that I thought Queen Adelaide would just about do the trick and that I intended to invest a sovereign on her chances. •Dont you do nothing of the kind. said the big man. I can tell you the winner of this Derby as sure as Im a s|Making to you now. He dropped his voice and. leaning across the counter, whispered: Ave you over card toll of the Opefal Dutchman? Much impressed by his mysterious ami confidential manner I disclaimed nil knowledge of any native of Holland, hopeful or otherwise, and I bogged to know to what he alluded. The Opefal Dutchman. said the landlord deliberately, is a orse. and that one is the sure and certain winner of next Wednesdays race. 1 was staggered by the confidence with which he spoke and murmured something to the effect that I had not heard the animals name mentioned in connection with the great race. No more as anybody else, ho replied, savin a few of us down ere. You can get 200 to 1 — aye. 290 to 1. I dessay — against the Opefal Dutchman, and as sure as Im a living man it aint 5 to 2 against Mm. Ks a orse and a alf. thats what is. " Has ho ever won anything? I ventured lo inquire. "Not yet." was the answer, "cos e never was properly trained last year and never showed In public. L"s by Bthw — Opefal Duchess, a beauty to look at anil a demon to go. We know all abnat Mm down ore, cos es trained at Mickelham. a little place in the aetghberhapd. one of these coves as was in ere just now is the bloke wots going to ride in next Wednesday. Now you just take a fools advice for once and avo a bit on the Opefal Dutchman. Outsider and all as e is. eU win tho Derby. Kll make a ark out of this Queen Adelaide. "I thanked him heartily for his information and asked him what he would take to drink, wilh the idea that over a jorum I could learn everything sbent the dark horse. He prattled away ahoat all the money that eould lie made on the race when all of a sudden he looked eagerly at me, saying: Look ore. what time does it generally take* to run the Derby mile and a alf in? I said that I did not remember the exact record figures offhand but that St. Blaise won tin- year previous in 2:48. Thats just it;- ho cried witli rising enthusiasm. Well, our orse as done the distance in two minutes and forty seconds: ows that? Isnt that just about good enough? It certainly was. for 1 know that a three-year old callable of doing the twelve furlongs In two minutes forty seconds must indeed bo a good horse. " Theyd nothing to try Mm with. added the landlord, so they put Mm agin the clock. ■ did the journey in 2:9at to lie exact. I was there and saw it done. Were all aving our little bit on the "Opefal Dutchman, and weve laid in a stock of fireworks and illuminations to celebrate the nags victory. Come over ere on Derby night and youll find this ere village given over to popular rejoicing. Kres to the orsos ealth. "I drank to the success of the son of Etlitis very heartily, and my conversation witli the enthusiast being interrupted by some customers who came in 1 sat in my corner chewing the cud of reflection and speculating as to how I could best disiiose of the two or three hundred pounds which the colts victory would bring mo. I had an excellent supper and went to bed at ten oclock to dream that I had myself steered the Dutchman first past the post, amid the wild acclamations of the astounded crowd. "Well, the great day came around. I hail related the incident to my father, who. though he was opposed to gambling, was not proof against this chance of securing a small fortune at a trifling risk. We took 0,000 to 0 ahoat tho Hopeful Dutchman. "The morning of the race you could get all sorts of fancy prices about the Celt, hut things changed when he was seen in the paddock, and of course I figured among an anxious throng who wanted to got a look at him. In appearance he was a big. leather ing. baaterltke horse and looked as if he might, cover the ground in acres. Standing well over seven toon hands ami having some good |M,ints he aide a he cut quite a figure as he paraded around the pad dock. Instead of being treated with contempt by those who seemed to know they turned away with puzzled looks on their faces after sizing him up. Some of those who laid all sorts of money against htm nearly died of heart failure. The prices short i in d about him like a shot aud It was only by a miracle that he did not go to the post a hot favorite. Nobody could blame me for at that moment figuring what a time I was going to have spending the 1910.sh,000 which I considered then ami there was as good as mine. 1 nearly forgot to mention that the Mickelham candidate was down on tho card as W. M. Hollowavs The Hopeful Dutchman, bay colt, by Kllms — Hopeful Duchess; jockey. C. Marks, a lad entirely unknown to fame: colors, white jacket, black sleeves and cap. Neither could anybody learn the name of his trainer. "At tho iiost there was some little delay, but after they broke away The Hopeful Dutchman fell behind at every stride and raced up the hill bringing up the roar. Cradually they left Mm, of course, and sailiug down by the Bushes ho was 200 yards behind. The farther they went the farther ho fell to the rear, and as St. Q at ten and Harvester flew by the judges Ikix neck and neck The Hopeful had just reached Tattonham Corner. He was never destined to finish, for the crowd pouring out on the greensward from either side of the rails closed in upon him and he had to pull up and walk back to the enclosure. Never was there a greater imposture or a more ignominious exhibition. He could not boat a selling plater. "Ahoat a week after the race I again found my way to Banstead and dropped in at the inn to hear what the landlord had to say about his tip. I found him considerably crestfallen and there was indeed a subdued air about the village. When 1 asked the landlord atiout the display made by the Dutchman: We wore all fair took in. he said, and we dropped a pot of money. I dont mind telling you. sir, ow it was. The Derby distance is a mile and a alf. isnt it? I answered in the affirmative. Well. sir. believe me or believe me not. they tried that orse over what they took to be a mile and a alf course: but theyd made a blunder someow, and it were only a mile and a quarter. F.nce the fast time. " The historic Running Rein ringer case occurred In 1SVI4, when a horse of that name was tirst past the [Mist. Subsequent investigation proved the horse was a four-year-old named Maccabeus, by Cladiator. and he was disqualified and the race awarded to Colonel Peels Orlando, by Touchstone. Ever and always, of course, the Jockey Club keeps a sharp lookout for ringers and other fake entries: but when an owner elects to nay the regular subscription price of ."0 and bring the horse to the post in the usual way, they cannot very well prevent a joker from having his hit of fniv if he should care to lose the money. It is not as easy to ring in a horse nowadays as it was in 1N4-L More publicity is given to the work of the candidates of later years, and it is rare to find one that has not been seen in public before it runs at Epsom.

Persistent Link: https://drf.uky.edu/catalog/1910s/drf1910072401/drf1910072401_6_5
Local Identifier: drf1910072401_6_5
Library of Congress Record: https://lccn.loc.gov/unk82075800