History of American Thoroughbred, Daily Racing Form, 1922-11-17


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History of American Thoroughbred Tenth Installment. SECOND HEAT. The horses, after a lapse of thirty minutes, were called up for the second heat. I attentively viewed Eclipse while saddling and was surprised to find that, to appearance, he had not only entirely recovered but seemed full of mettle, lashing and reaching out with his hind feet, anxious and impatient to renew the contest. Mr. Purdy, having tinted his favorite, was perfectly at home and self-confident. The signal being again given he went off rapidly from the start. Sir Henry, now entitled to the inner rail position, took the track and kept the lead, followed closely by Eclipse. Mr. Purdy at once brought him to his work, knowing that game and stoutness was his play, and that his only chance for success was driving his speedy adversary up to the top of his rate without giving him the least respite. Sir Henry went steadily on, nearly at the top of his speed, keeping a gap of about twenty feet without variation between himself and Eclipse. This continued for about two miles and seven-eighths or until toward the conclusion of tho third mile, when they had arrived nearly opposite the four-mile distance post. TUItDY MAKES HIS RU. Here Mr. Purdy made his run and. when they had advanced forty rods farther, which brought them to the end of the third mile, was close up, say, nose and tail. They now entered upon the fourth and last mile, which commences with a turn or sweep the moment you leave the starting post. Here the crowd was immense. I was, at this moment, on horseback, stationed down the stretch or straight run, a short distance below the winning post, in company with a friend and Buckley, the jockey, who kept close to me during the whole race. We pushed out into the center or open space of ground in order to obtain a more distinct view of the struggle for the lead. Everything depended upon this effort of Purdy; well he knew it; his case was a desperate one and required a desperate attempt; it was to risk all for all; he did not hesitate. When the horses were about one-third of the way round the sweep they had so far cleared the crowd as to afford us a distinct view of them a little before they reached the center of the turn. Eclipse had lapped Sir Henry about head and girth and appeared evidently in the act of passing. Here Buckley vociferated, "See Eclipse! Look at Purdy! By heaven, on the inside!" I was all attention. Purdy was on the left-hand or inside of Sir Henry! I felt alarmed for the consequence, satisfied that lie had thus hazarded all. I feared that Waltlen would take advantage of his position, and. by reining in, force him against or inside one of the posts. "When they had proceeded a little more than half way round the sweep the horses were a dead lap ; when about three-quarters around Eclipses quarter covered Sir Henrys head and neck and, just as they had finished the bend and were entering upon the straight run which extends along the back part of the course. Eclipse was, for the first time, fairly clear and ahead. He now, with the help of the persuaders which were freely bestowed, kept up his run and continued gradually, though slowly, to gain during the remaining three-quarters. As they passed up the stretch, or the last quarter-mile, the shouting, clapping of hands, waving of handkerchiefs, long and loud .applause sent forth by the Eclipse party exceeded all description. It seemed to roll along the track as the horses advanced and resembled the loud and reiterated shout of contending armies. I ha-e been thus particular in stating that Mr. Purdy made his pass on the inside, understanding that many gentlemen, and particularly Mr. Stevens, the principal in the match on the part of Eclipse, insist that the go by was given on the outside. After the heat was over I found my friend, M. Buckley, and myself were far from the only persons that had observed the mode in which Mr. Purdy ran up and took the inside track from his adversary. The circumstance was in the mouths of hundreds. In corroboration of this I will quote a passage from the New York "Evening Post" of May 23, 1823, giving a description of this second heat: SIR HENRY TAKES THE LEAD. "Sir Henry took the lead as in the first heat, until about two-thirds around on the third mile, when Purdy seized with a quickness and dexterity peculiar to himself the favorable moment that presented, when appearing to aim at the outside he might gain the inside, made a dash at him accordingly and passed him on the left." Here, then, the observations of many, independent of my friend, M. Buckley, or myself, added to the instantaneous and striking remark of B., which did not fail to rivet my peculiar attention, form a wonderful coincidence. Thus circumstanced, and long conversant with turf matters, rules and practices and familiar with sights of this kind, it was impossible I could be mistaken. I was not mistaken, the honest belief of some gentlemen to the contrary notwithstanding. Time, this second heat, 7 minutes 49 seconds. THIRD HEAT. It was now give out that in place of the boy Walden, who had ridden Sir Henry the two preceding heats, Arthur Taylor, a trainer of great experience and long a rider equaled by a few and surpassed by none, would ride him this last and decisive heat. At the expiration of thirty minutes tho horses were once more summoned to the starting post and Purdy and Taylor mounted. The word was given and they went off at a quick rate. Purdy now took the lead and pushed Eclipse from the start. Indeed, during the whole four miles he applied whip and spur incessantly, evidently resolved to give Sir Henry no respite but to cause him, if determined to trail, to employ all hi3 speed and strength without keeping anything in reserve for the run in. Sir Henry continued to trail, apparently under a pull, never attempting to come up until they had botli fairly entered the straight run toward the termination of the last mile and had advanced within about sixty rods from home. Here Sir Henry, being about five yards behind, made a dash and ran up to Eclipse so far as to cover his quarter or haunch with his head. For a moment he had the appearance of going past. He made a severe struggle for about two hundred yards, when lie again fell in the rear and gave up the contest. The time of the last heat was 8 minutes 21 seconds. Thus terminated the most interesting race ever run in the United States up to 1823. Besides the original stake of 0,000 each, it was judged that upward of 00,000 changed hands. In the last heat Sir Henry carried 110 pounds, two pounds over his proper weight, as it was not possible to bring Arthur Taylor to ride less. Although a small horse and wanting twenty days of being four years old, he made the greatest run witnessed to that time in America. Notwithstanding Sir Henrys defeat, the southern gentlemen continued to be inspired with so much confidence in their horse that they offered to renew the contest for a much larger amount, as appears by the following challenge and the answer thereto, which I give as connected with the event : "Long Island, May 28, 1S23. "To John- C. Stevens. "Sir I will run the horse Sir Henry against the horse Eclipse at Washington City next fall, the day before the Jockey Club purse is contested, for any sum from twenty to fifty thousand dollars, forfeit ten thousand dollars. The forfeit and stake to be deposited in the Branch Bank of the United States at Washington at any namable time to be appointed by you. "Although this is addressed to you individually, it is intended for all bettors on Eclipse. If agreeable to you and them you may have the liberty of substituting at the starting post in the place of Eclipse any horse, mare or gelding foaled and owned on tho northern and eastern side of the Nortli River, provided I have the liberty of substituting in the place of Sir Henry at tho starting post any horse, mare or gelding foaled and owned on the south side of tho Potomac. As we propose running at Washington City, the rules of that Jockey Club must govern, of course. "WILLIAM R. JOHNSON." STEVENS MAKES REPLY. Mr. Stevens immediately sent the following answer: "Sir The bet just decided was made under circumstances of excitement which might in some measure apologize for its rashness, but would scarcely justify it as an example and I trust the part I took in it will not be considered as proof of my intention to become a patron of sporting on so extensive a scale. For myself, then, I must decline the offer. For the gentlemen who, with me, backed Eclipse, their confidenco in his superiority, I may safely say, is not in the least impaired. But even they do not hesitate to believe that old age and hard service may one day accomplish what strength and fleetness. directed by consummate skill, has hitherto failed to accomplish. "For Mr. Van Ranst I answer that ha owes it to the association which has so confidently supported him, to the state at largo which has felt and expressed so much interest in his success and to himself, as a man not totally divested of feeling, never, on any consideration, to risk the life or reputation of the noble animal the generous and almost incredible exertions of which have gained lor the North so signal a victory and for himself such well earned and never-fading renown. JOHN C. STEVENS." "As Mr. Van Ranst, in a little work issued from the press at his instance entitled Tho History of American Eclipse," has touched upon the comparative powers of the early English race horses before I take leave of the subject, I propose, hereafter, to offer a few remarks in reply. "AN OLD TURFMAN." Of all the descendants of American Eclipse, none held .more deservedly a higher place than the noble mare Ariel. Her pedigree is undeniable ; her performances, in regard to stoutness, more particularly, were almost miraculous. I well remember, long before my arrival in this country, reading of her performances in the English newspapers at a time when matters of local interest in America seldom found a place in the Europen press and to be mentioned in them was in itself a proof of real celebrity. She was a beautiful gray, about fifteen hands high, of good proportions, strongly made, and, in action, said to have been strikingly handsome. The following account is from the "American Turf Register" of September, 1S34: Ariel certainly ranks with the best race horses of any age or clime. To adopt tho language of a valued correspondent, "Wo doubt whether any horse of any region ever did more good running, attended with such extensive and constant travel." From reference to English works and to our own pages we find no account of any horse which has either run or won as many races up to her time. To Be Continued.

Persistent Link: https://drf.uky.edu/catalog/1920s/drf1922111701/drf1922111701_8_5
Local Identifier: drf1922111701_8_5
Library of Congress Record: https://lccn.loc.gov/unk82075800