Lady Bess Queer Pedigree: Salvator Questions Its Admission to the American Stud Book, Daily Racing Form, 1922-03-24


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■ »m mi mimii. .1 . , .. i... .. Ill »i MiMHWBrillwmiaW LADY BESS QUEER PEDIGREE » Salvator Questions Its Admission to the American Stud Book. « Tangled Southern Tales Which Caused Mare to Be Passed as Lexingtons Daughter. P.V SALVATOU The derision, on the part of tlie officials of tho .Tie-key Club, lo record in tlie first volume of tin-Stud Hook, when it is reprinted, an alleged newly-discovered daughter of lAxinjiton. her name Li ly Hess, her dam Kdith. by im]w itcd Sovereign, her breeder ieneral T L. Well- of Louisiana, and her year of foaling IMS, is can-ins astonishment among American pedigree experts and students of thoroughbred history. For many of them are unanimous in declaring that this alleged mare is a myth, pure and simple, whose existence is an historical impossibility. The case is peculiarly interesting in view of the fact that it was in the course of investigation of the pedigree of a famous American trotter that this so ailed daughter of Ixitigton has come to light. The trotter in uuestion is no other than the renowned stallion Peter the Ireat. 2:07, the foremost of all living trotting sires and previous to that I sensational race horse Some time ago Daily Racing Form published an official communication in which the announcement that the mare Lady Hess was to be recorded as a hona-fide laughter of lxington was made on behalf of the Jockey Club. The internal evidence all goes to show, however, that when tliN action was taken the officials of that organization either had not in their possession, or else had neglected to examine, the mass of contradictory evidence which demonstrates the mythical character of the mare in uuestion. To make a long story short, it is claimed by two ancient witnesses that tins mare. Lady Bess, was sired by Lexington at the Metairie rare course. New Orleans, in April, 1S." 4. just after his last race there that spring against his famed rival Le-coinpte. The witnesses who allege this are two nephews of T. .1. Wells by courtesy culled Cen-eral. by name Montfnrt and .leffer-on Wells, now living in Louisiana. General Wells himself died in 1SH3. or fifty-nine years ago. His two nephews, still living, are now nearly ninety years of age. one of them affying that he is eighty-six. while the other seems not to know how old he is. having given his age variously as from eighty-seven to eighty-nine. WELLS TESTIMONY IN UUESTION. When men of such advanced age are testifying to events which occurred sixty -eight years ago. the acceptance of their statements without attempting to keenly verify or check them up by known historic facts is decidedly unwary. Had the Jockey lulls officials examined all the evidence they would certainly not have taken the action which they have and ordered registered in the Stud Hook an animal obviously mythical. The "star witness" is Jefferson, familiarly known as "Jeff" Wells, nephew, as stated, of T. J. Wells, the famous ante-bellum breeder of thoroughbreds at "Wcllswood." his great plantation in Louisiana. T. J. Wells bred largely from members of the notable Dance family," founded by the imported mare Callopade. by tatton — amillina. by Cainilltts. Two of the most celebrated of these which he owned were Keel, by imported Glencoe, and her son. Le-compte. by Hoston. Lecompte lives in history :s the great rival of Lexington and the series of races between the two sons of Hoston at the Metairie course, in the years of 1S.~ 4 and lS..o, are epic tales which will never grow old. "Jeff" Weill claims that he was thoroughly familiar with all the breeding and racing operations of his uncle, also was present at Metairie when Lexington and Lecompte ran their races there in the years mentioned. In ls.Vt he states that among other horses besides I -ionii te taken to Metairie to race was the mare Kdith. by imported I : Sovereign — Judith, by imported Glencoe. bred audi I owned by his uncle. And that after the second and last race there in April, 1S.4. between Lexington and Lecompte. the mare was bred to Lexing Ion, and in lSo.i had n filly by him. This loal •rtu in Louisiana, but sent to Kentucky with her dam when the latter was bred, in the latter stale, in the spring of USES, to Cracker, another son of Koslon. Later she th» Lexiugion filly was sent back to Tj uisiana. had Hie influenza and became touched in her wind, was never trained or raced. and when the war broke out was given by T. J. Wells lo his nephew. Montlort Wells, lor a cavalry charger. Montlort Wells rode her during the Fort Duielson campaign, in the spring of 1SG1. and daring Its course traded her off to a blacksmith near Clarksville. Tenn. She later produced there i a colt by I non-thoroughbred sire that was called I Creole. M tile S.1111 Johnson horse, and that sired The third dam of Peter the Groat. This colt was be* onlv known produce. She was called lidv Bess. WELLS TALE OF MISSED RECORD. As no such foal appear- in the list of the produce of Kdith. in the Stud Hook, as Lady Bess, bay filly, j foaled in ls.",5. In Lexington. "Jeff" Wells make-| the explanation that his uncles brood mares ajwal kept in Kentucky and only their foals bred there re-. poi ted for entry in the Stud Hook by Janus A. Grinstead. who had them iu charge for T. J. Wells. Grinstead made no report, therefore, of the Lexington-Kdith filly, as she was bred in Loui-iana. Now Ihis tale might seem straightforward and j convincing oil its face and, therefore, credible. Bin when the aitcndant facts, of history are ex-. aniined they quickly make its improbability apparent. lo begin with. l xington and lecompte ran their second and last race of 18o4 at Metairie on April 8, Lexington had won on their former meeting. April I. The Lecompte parly demanded a lettnn race and it was made for April B, and lecompte won . it. They were "boss and ho—." On April 9 T. J. Wells, owner of Lecompte boasted loudly of his horses victory and the great inferiority of Lexing-••»n. This was April 0. On April M Richard Ten Hroeck. owner of Lexington, challenged for a third race Ear *10.00O a side That same day. April 10. T. J. Weils refused to make such a race. In his iifusal he gave no reason. But a few weeks later he published a letter iu which he gave as hi-reason that Ten Broeck had tried to trick him by making it impossible for him to get a good jockey for Lecompte for the proposed third and final race. The bitterness and hostility of the two men. Wells and Ten Kroeck. was at this time exlremo and many charges were made back and forth by then: and their partisans. Now, the idea that under these conditions, the owner of Lecointe would think of breeding I mine to I.exington, or the owner of Lexington would allow that horse to be bred to a mare owned by his foe, is ridiculous. At this time Lexington never had covered a mare in his life and the records show that he never did until over a year later. Hut further evidence shows that the mare Edith was raced at two-mile heats at Metairie on April 13. It aho shows that Lexington was shipped away from there within a day or two after Wells refused the third race on April 10, for he was at Ijouisville. Ky.. on April tZ, after having made the long trip there from New Orleans. 1.440 miles, up the Mississippi River by boat, as was then the custom. This trill required from a week to ten days and shows that he must have been taken away from the Metairie course by Aprii IU to 18. NO SUCH 1854 MATING POSSIBLE. All theme things show that any idea of a mating of Lexingc n and Kdith at any lime in the early part of April. 1H." 4. is preposterous and incredible. Moreover, the value of the testimony of "Jeff" Wells is impeached by many of his sworn statements. He has sworn, under oath, that Lexington was trained by a man named Graves and was kept in the stable of D. F. Kenner. He strenuously denies thai Iexiugtou was ever trained by Benjamin Pryor. The facts aie thai 1-xington was never tiained by Graves at kepi in the stable of Kenner— who was a racing partner of T. J. Wells. Lexington was trained by Benjamin Pryor during his entire career afler oa--ing into the ownership of Richard Ten Broeck in May. landoo; and while in training and racing ut Metairie was kept iu the stable of A. L. Bingaman. of Natchez. Miss , whose horses Pryor also trained. "Jeff" Wells also has sworn from his personal knowledge that I/exington was ridden by Gil Patrick against Lecompte nt Metairie in 18."i4. whereas he was really ridden by Henry Meichon. But the most serious charge again-t "Jeff" Wells as an authority is this: He was first interviewed regarding the mare l,ady Ke-s in li»14 and then stated that she was by imported Vorkshire from Grisette. by imported Glencoe. Nothing was at that time heard of any -uch thing as Lexington — Kdith pedlgre • for her. He fir-t came forward with this contradiction of his original story three years ago, in March, 191!». But his claim then was that Iady Bess was not gotten by Ivexington in lS.VL.and foaled in 18.V . hut that she was got in HO."., and foaled in 1S.".6. This the Stud Hook shows to be a flat impo-sibil-ity. for in DC ti her alleged dam. Kdith, produced a bay colt called Milton Keif, by Cracker. What is more, in the spring of 1855, when lxingtou and lecompte met for the third and last time at Metairie. their owners were still bitter enemies and, alter Lecompte lost the race. T. J. Wells iu-inuated. both in and out of the public prints, that he had been "nobbled." or "doped." at the instigation of the Lexington party. He "named no names." but that the accusation was meant for Richard Ten Hroeck there is no doubt. Many other perversions of known historic facts are made by "Jeff" Wells in his affidavit, and he repeatedly contradicts him -elf on vital points in the various statements made. EXPERT BEST REJECTED PEDIGREE. The first of these were made in 1914 -15 to the late May Overton, who then interrogated him on the subject. Again in March. 1919, he and his cousin Montfort Wells made a new series of statements to secretary Frank Best of the American Trotting Register Association, who had taken up the investigation after May Overton died. It was to Mr. Be-t that the Lexington — Kdith version of the pedigree of Lady Hess was first alleged instead of the former Yorkshire — Grisette one alleged to Overton by the same witnesses. Mr. Best, who is mo-t expert about pedigree matters and genealogical subjects, having devoted his life to these lines of research, discovered the incredibility of the Lexington claim, as then made, and disallowed it. But he pointed out to "Jeff" Wells wherein this incredibility consisted and asked him for a further statement. This Wells refused to make. These latest pieces of testimony, in the shape of affidavits from the two Wells cousins, were obtained but a few months ago by still a third investigator. W. H. Gocher, who is not a pedigree expert and, in his various communications to the press regarding them, has betrayed ignorance of what con-titutes credible evidence, as well as of the history of the thoroughbred breed and the thoroughbred turf. In conclusion I would call attention to the fact that Lexington was not allowed to breed to any males whatever in 1855, the year he is now alleged to have begotten this mythical mare. I happen to paasteaa an index of all his foals, compiled from the Stud Book, and there is not a single foal of 1S55 in the list of his offspring. His first Dialings were made iu May. 1S5.". at Midway. Ky.. whither he was sent immediately after his last victory ove" Lecointe at Metairie and placed in the stud. His first foal was John C. Breekeinidge. and another of that season. 18.M1. was the famous Daniel Boone. It is to be hoped that the officials of the Jo. key Club will reconsider a decision evidently taken without the requisite examination of evidence and based wholly upon the less than reliable tesiiiuony of two wilnesses almost ninety years old, whose memories of events which occurred nearly seventy ye. ii- ago are. to be charitable, anything but accurate. It would be indeed | pity were the page-of the St ml Book to be disfigured by the insertion there, as authentic, of n animal that is patently a myth and never could have existed. a •

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