History of American Thoroughbred, Daily Racing Form, 1922-12-25


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History of American Thoroughbred Twenty-Ifinth Installment. "To perform which," it is further absurdly stated, "he must have moved at the rate of eighty-two and a half feet in a second of time, or nearly at the rate of one mile in a minute." The inaccuracy of this is patent. If a horse moved at the rate described he would cover the ground in a trille less than four minutes and a half. No horse ever foaled went at the pace spoken of. The rate of fifty feet in a second is great the present time 1S50 and more than the average pace required to run the distance of the Beacon course, four miles one furlong and one hundred and thirty-eight yards, in seven and a half minutes, which Flying Childers is also supposed to have done. To prove still further, if it were needed, the utter absurdity of the mile in a minute, or eighty-two and a half feet in a second, story it only need be stated that twenty-three feet is the full average stride of the best horse at speed and, consequently, to cover eighty-two and a half feet in a second, the horse must gather and extend itself within a fraction of four times, a physical impossibility in a seconds time. BUT TTVO MATCHES. After all, the high-flown panegyrics concerning the racing exploits of this horse in public, the only trials worthy of credence, were confined to the winning of two matches. He beat Speedwell, a gelding of equivocal celebrity, at four miles, and Chanter, twelve years old, at six miles. He was engaged in three other matches, for which he received forfeit- No time is on record as to his public running, a circumstance which throws a doubt on that related to have been made on Lis trials. Granting that the timing of Flying Chil-ders race, at four miles and 35S yards is correct at 7 :30, by deducting the excess of 358 yards we find that he would have done his lour miles in 7 :19, or within a fraction of the same time it took Lexington to run his four miles against time. There is no record of the weight carried by Flying Childers in this trial, but taking it to have been the same as that with which he ran over the Newmarket round course, 128 pounds, the time is not in i excess of Lexingtons race, even at soutlicrn low weights. Firetail is said to have run a mile in 1772 in one minute and four seconds, but there is no authentic record of races kept of that date and the fact may safely be denied on the grounds above shown. Concerning Eclipses real powers, no correct estimate can possibly be formed nor was formed at the time. He ran against all of the best horses of his day and always beat them, carrying enormous weights- He won ten Kings Plates with 108 pounds on his back. He was never put to his speed nor was his time ever kept. He was undoubterly a marvelous animal, both as a racer and in the stud. He sired 130 winners, which brought their owners more than 00,000, exclusive of cups, at a time when great races were few and the prizes of the present day 1850 unknown. In December, 17SG, Quibbler ran twenty-three miles at Newmarket in fifty-seven minutes. It does not clearly appear whether this is to be understood as being a straight race, without intermission, or as an aggregate of heats. It probably refers to a single unbroken effort. If it were done in heats the speed would be nothing remarkable nor the stoutness. Twelve miles were made by Sir Henry and Eclipse in 1S23 in an aggregate of three heats, in 23:50, over the Union course. Black Maria beat Lady Relief, Trifle and Slim at twenty miles, in an aggregate of five heats in 41:40. Thus far, therefore, there are no grounds whatever for believing that the race horse of the middLe of the nineteenth century had degenerated from the turf worthies of olden time, even if we admit the remarkable trials above cited were satisfactorily established. Supposing Flying Childers did, in fact, run the Beacon course in the time stated or at the rate of four miles, in 7:19 and the round course in C:12, which would be at the rate of four miles in about 7:05, although the speed would be extraordinary, even at the extremely low weight of .119 pounds for a six-year-old, the perfect facility with which he and his successor Eclipse ran away from everything that encountered them demonstrates that their superiority to all horses of their own day was as great, if not greater, than it would be to the racers of 1S50. SO EVIDENCE OF G HEAT SPEED. However, there is no evidence of this speed, much less is there any pretense that such speed was common to all horses of that day. Far from it. A writer in the London Sporting Magazine, in 1S40, in an article written to prove that Eclipse and Flying Childers were the best horses that ever went on four pasterns asserts that were the latter alive then he would easily beat the best racers of 1S50 a quarter of a mile in a four-mile race. He founded his assumption on the assertation that the Beacon course was never covered in better time than it was by Hambletonian and Diamond in 1799; or the round course in better time than that made by Alonzo and Orville in 1S02. These second best time races he sets at :45 and :32 worse than those of Flying Childers, as stated in the foregoing. But, adding :45 to 7:19, the rate at which Flying Childers is said to have run four miles over the Beacon track, and wo get 8:04 for the time of Hambletonian and Diamond. Adding :32 to 7:05, the rate at which the round course would have been covered if protracted to four miles, according to the time in which he is stated to have run over it agianst Almanzor and Brown Betty ana we have 7 :37 as the time of Alonzo and Orville. These were, moreover, both single dashes, not heat races, and do not tell so decisively. PERFORMANCE NOT REMARKABLE. It is unnecessary to say to American sportsmen that the time of the first race, S:04, for a first heat, is simply no time at all nor has it been so considered in the United States since 1825. While 7:37 was thought great in 1823, when done by Sir Henry, it was regarded as no performance at all in 1S5C. In considering this point I have, of course, drawn by comparisons between the races of these old celebrities and similar races of American horses of the middle of the nineteenth century. Though the altered mode of public running adopted in England about the latter time, with stoutness and bottom tested by heavy weights and shorter distances, it is impossible to measure them directly against the earlier winners of English stakes. i I do not wish to enter individually into any question of superiority between English and American horses. If there be any advantage it can only arise from the influence of climate and the different modes of training, as the blood is identical. But I must in order to show that the English no more than the American racer of 1800 has fallen below his ancestry of 1700 in the ability to endure and to run long and repeated races endeavor to explain wherefore I do not yield the palm of bottom in running distances any more than In carrying weight, or in speed, to the race horse of the United States of 1850 over the racer of England of the same time. HUNTING FIELD A REAL TEST. In the first place, if the racing field no longer shows bIood-horse3 under the same conditions of long distances, the hunting field, which is supplied altogether by thoroughbreds, does. A thoroughbred which will carry 210 pounds through two bursts of six or seven miles each with an interval of an hour between them not devoted to rubbing down, drying off or recruiting, but to crossing the country slowly while the hounds are drawing respectively in twenty-five and thirty minutes, taking perhaps a hundred rasping fences or large brooks in the course of each burst and going over every sort of bad and broken ground, often hock-deep in greasy ploughland, or fetlock-deep in what is worse, sticky turf, would have little difficulty in running over a hard, sound course, with less than half the weight on his back, double the distance, in half the time. According to the old dictum that seven pounds is equal to a distance of 120 yards in a four-mile race, as between equal horses, ninety-two pounds, or the diference between 210 pounds and the southern six-year-old weight of 118 pounds, would be equal to at least one mile in four, if both animals were ridden over the same course or the same country. Morever, the training of thoroughbreds for the hunting field is exceedingly similar in all respects to that of racers for four-mile heats. What is true of the hunter is far more true of the steeplechaser, which is invariably thoroughbred and which is at carrying heavy man-weight, to perform the severest, most trying, most exhausting and crudest exertions for which horseflesh can bo called upon. In proof of what I have here put forward we will cast a glance at the most remarkable match against time that has been ridden up to the middle of the nineteenth century. I mean that of Osbaldeston, to ride two hundred miles within ten hours over the Newmarket round course, in 1831, a feat which he performed in seven hours nineteen minutes and four seconds, or, adding one hour twenty-two minutes and fifty-six seconds for stoppages, in eight hours and forty-two minutes. In this match Mr. Osbaldeston weighed 154 pounds and rode twenty-eight horses, all of them thoroughbreds, though not one of any previous celebrity or standing on the turf as racers of reputation. He divided the distance into four-mile heats for his own convenience and the facility of changing. Nineteen of the twenty-eight he rode more than once. Sixteen performed two heats each and averaged their four miles in 8 :30, with an infinitesimal fraction. Two of them fell lame. Considering all things, the weight they carried and the fact that none of them was above third or fourth-rate horses, the average is creditable and looks little like degeneracy. If third and fourth-raters can average 8 :30 with 154 pounds on their backs, what would the first raters, 1850, such as Plenipotentiary, Harkaway, Euphrates, Venison, Catherina, Beeswing, Alice Hawthorne, Surplice, Flying Dutchman and other such cracks have done with ninety-nine pounds, the weight they would have carried on the northern courses at their age? TRANBY IS IIERO OF TEST. The hero of the test, however, was Tranby, by Blacklock, which performed four heats in the following gallant style: 8:10, 8:00, 8:19 and S :50, or a total of sixteen miles under 154 pounds in 33 :19, which was justly considered prodigious proof of bottom and courage. Tranby was subsequently imported to America solely on account of his performance in this match as being a likely sire of four-milers. He was a disappointment, however, as few of his stock did anything of consequence and none proved superior. The same tiling has occurred with other celebrated horses in the cases of Catton in England and Chateau Margaux in America, neither of which produced descendants worthy of their great renown. We will now view this subject in another light, which I think confutes yet more conclusively the idea alluded to above, that the thoroughbred of 1850 is not the inferior of his forefathers. Writing in the year of 1S52 Cecil states: "According to the Racing Calendar and other periodicals there are one hundred and seven stallions. Some of these ought not to be used in the stud, because they are possessed of infirmities likely to be inherited by their progeny. It must be understood that there are many other stallions, in all probability as many more again, which are of inferior character and whose services are confined to rural districts, where they are patronized by farmers. These are not included in this estimate. The latter would not pass muster with breeders of race horses and ought not to be allowed to perpetuate their species among any class. COMPARATIVE TABLE. The following table supports proof of the progress made in the speculation of breeding by giving the number of races won by the stock of fourteen horses of celebrity in the years of 1S25 and 1S52, the interval being a little more than a quarter of a century. 1S25. 1S52. Corans 21 Lanercost 3.1 Fillio da Puta 17 Birdealcher 29 Phantom 17 Touchstone 20 Ardrossan 13 Venison 20 Catton 12 Cotherstone 17 tn be us 12 Faugh a Ballagh 15 Wlialebone 12 Orlando 13 Whisker 10 Slanc 13 Blacklock 9 Don John 12 Bourbon 9 Hay Middle ton 12 Partisan 9 Kpirus 11 Soothsayer 9 Pantaloon 10 Walton 9 Melbourne 10 Octaviaa 9 Alarm 9 Total ICS Total 232

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Library of Congress Record: https://lccn.loc.gov/unk82075800