More of Barrier History: Andrew B. Delvin Contributes an Other Interesting Chapter on Starting Gate Origins, Daily Racing Form, 1922-11-29


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MORE OF BARRIER HISTORY Andrew B. Delvin Contributes Another Interesting Chapter on Starting Gate Origins. Some time ago Daily Racing Form published a history of the starting gate which aroused considerable interest and friendly disagreement among horsemen. Several of the disputed points were set at rights by letters from old-timers who recalled incidents in the development of the device. The latest letter on the subject is from Andrew B. Devlin, who says : At the Brighton Beach meeting, July, 1893, the fields were exceptionally large in short races twenty horses or over to a race. The late James Clare, officiating as starter, deemed it advisable that something should be done to enable the horses to be off. A starting gate was then introduced, I believe, by some mechanic in Brooklyn similar to a railroad signal crossing. It was constructed with black leather webbing on top. A heavy fringe of thongs came down in front of the horses within six feet of the ground. The horses broke through the gate did not go up. This device caused less delay at the post. The horsemen protested its use. Mr. Clare insisted that, if given a chance, the gate would develop in use. The horsemen won, however, and, after a few days trial, the gate mentioned was a dead issue.

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