First St. Leger a Notable Race: D. Swigert and William Jennings Alone Survive of Nominators Represented in It, Daily Racing Form, 1910-09-27


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FIRST ST. LEGER A NOTABLE RACE. D. Swigert and William Jennings Alone Survive of Nominator* Represented in It. Louisville. Ky.. September 28.— Nearly U50 years ago there was inaugurated at Doncaster. in England, a sweepstakes upon which the name St. Legcr was bestowed. Ever since that time what the Epsom Derby is to England in the spring, the St. Leger is to the fall snort in that country. Just after the Civil War in America a St. Leger Stakes was put on the fall card of a track located at Fatetson, N. J. This race was run only two or three times and it passed away with the dissolution of that racing plant. The St. Leger at latersou. N. J., was shortlived, unlike its celebrated English namesake. Rut it gave tin cue to Co!. M. Lewis Clark to bring back into existence t lie American St. Leger at the inaugural fall meeting of the Louisville Jockey Club in 1875. This was nearly a decade after the passing of the race called the St. Leger in New Jersey. Front 1875 to 1S 2 the St. Leger, like the Kentucky Derby; became part ami parcel of the history of racing at Church 111 Downs. Then Colonel Chirk died and the famous race was not again put upon the program of the New Louisville Jockey Club until revived this fall by Col. M. .1. Winn lor he meeting which liegins October 1. This storv is not Intended as a history of this great race. Ii is rather to recall the inaugural event, which race was one of the most interesting events of tin- Kentucky turf. It was on September 20. 1875, that the lirst Ken tacky St. Leger Stakes was decided. The conditions of that race called for three-year-olds, at each, play or pay. with .«hmi added, making the value to the winner *1.7-~iO. The distance of the race was two miles. There were ten starters, all carrying 1 H panada, and the result was as follows: owner. Bone and Jockey. Fin. D. Swigorts King Alfonso Walker 1 F. B. Harpers Ten Broeck Baxter 2 W. Jennings Verdigris Claiborne •". W. T. Lineks George Graham Knoxi • 1. J. rouses Add Johnson 0 W. II. Cheathams Astcrlite Houston 8 Robinson and Co.s Millionaire Swimj J D. McCarthys Voltigenr Rossi 9 Stringftetd A: Clays Brdiater Davis 1 8 F. Lloyds Mainsail Mcirath 8 Of the nominators who started in the first St. Leger Stakes only two are still alive — Daniel Swi-l it. owner of King Alfonso, and William Jennings, who liad Verdigris entered in this race. Mr. Sxvi-gert, in those days a famous turfman, later became known as a breeder, purchasing from the late M. II. Banford the farm which is now known as El-ineiidorf. the seat of J. B. Haggins great blue grass estate. Mr. Swigert bred many famous horses. Including Hindoo. Firenze. l,os Angeles and the wonderful Salvator. Salvators mile record of 1:351 still stands as the best American mark for the distance. Mr. Swigert has long since ceased his operations as a thoroughbred breeder. He is still living in Lexington and is enjoying good health at the advanced age of about seventv-tive years. William Jennings, the other survivor, is nbpat the same age as Mr. Swigert. resides on his farm at M iddleslHiio, Md.. and still maintains a string of race horses, which are raised by bis son. under the supervision of the father. He must not he confounded with W. R. Jennings of California, to whom he liears no relation. The Jennings here referred to has always la-en known on the turf as •Gltmnioro" Jennings. He owned a celebrated horse by that name which won the famous Monmouth Cup, defeating the anMMMedly invincible Luke Blackburn. Some of the stock Mr. Jennings is racing today trace back to the famous ilenmore. This turfman, in tin days when he raced Verdigris at Churchill Downs, resided in a cottage suroumded by an orchard op|xi-site rbe school building near the present Fourth avenue entrance to Churchill Downs. At that time his bouse was the only residence in the Immediate vicinity of what is now the New Louisville Jockey Club track. It may be here noted that it was the increased value of this blot of ground, coupled with the winnings of Olf WnotT and his other horses, that made Mr. Jennings independent and enabled him to buy his Maryland estate. All of the other owners of the starters in the first St. Legcr are dead, and but one Joekey Who rode in that race- still survives. This is William Walker. He is the trainer who developed for w. i. Tank* and Co. the sensational two year-old filly. Round the World. Walker rode the winner of the first St. Leger. he lxdng on King Alfonso, which defeated bis ompetitors that day and ran the two miles in 3:34f, which was record time for three-year-old*. The great Ten Droeck finished second and Verdigris was third.

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