Historic Relics Of Turf: Belmont Park Entrance Piers Are From Old Charleston Course.; Earliest Records of Racing in South Carolina Date Back to 1734--Washington Course Inaugurates Epochal Period in 1792., Daily Racing Form, 1923-02-20


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HISTORIC RELICS OF TURF Belmont Park Entrance Piers Are From Old Charleston Course Earliest Records of Racing In South Carolina CarolinaDate Date Back to 1734 Washington Course CourseInaugurates Inaugurates Epochal Period in 1792 NEW YORK N Y February 19 Few who journey by motor to Belmont Park dur ¬ ing the meetings of the Westchester Racing Association realize that they pass one of the most historic relics of the turf in the United States in the shape of the piers upon which the gates marking the entrance to the course are hung hungThe The casual observer may have remarked the unusual appearance of the piers showing their age through the stains of time and weather the cement chipped in places ex ¬ posing the brick beneath the surface but if he will draw near and read the inscription on a bronze tablet inserted in the face of one of them he will if possessed of the heart of a sportsman and a knowledge of the American turf in its earliest period have a feeling of reverence for these reminders of the day and generation when racing was a great social function as well as a test of blood and sportsmanship in a state which had so much to do with the development of the American thoroughbred thoroughbredThe The presentation of the old gate which marked the entrance to the Washington course at Charleston S C showed that the spirit which imbued those responsible for the golden era of the turf in the South be ¬ tween 1792 and 1857 is still alive In passing these relics on to the Westchester Racing Association there was a recognition of tho same qualities which had made the South Carolina Jockey Club a toast wherever the thoroughbred and his history in the United States is known knownPRESENTATION PRESENTATION OF GATES GATESThe The inscription reads Charleston Gates presented to Belmont Park May 1903 by the Mayor and park commissioners of the city of Charleston at the suggestion of D R Kittridge Esq and through the good offices of A W Marshall Esq EsqThese These piers stood at the entrance of the grounds of the Washington Course of the South Carolina Jockey Club of Charleston S C which course was opened Feb 15 1792 under the presidency of J D McPher son Esq and was last used for racing in December 1882 Theodore C Barker being then president presidentThe The earliest record of racing in South Carolina is to be found in the South Carolina Gazette of Feb 1 1734 when the prize was a saddle and bridle The race was at mile heats and called for white riders to carry ten stone The event was run on the green at Charleston Neck The horses were not clean bred In 1747 the importation of thorough ¬ breds to the colony began and rivalries be ¬ tween the gentry of the land mounted high There was racing for money prizes at the York Course and later at the Newmarket Course both near Charleston Other courses in various parts of the state were open soon after and by 1760 racing was in vogue in nearly every part of South Carolina CarolinaThe The sport in the vicinity of Charleston then the center of wealth and culture in the South was carried on at Newmarket until 1792 when the Washington course was opened to inaugurate a period of sport that was epochal Racing began on the first Wednes ¬ day of February each year and continued through the week There was a Jockey Club dinner on the night of the opening day and the Jockey Club ball was always held on Friday night the best races of the meet ¬ ing liaving been scheduled for that day These functions were attended by the so ¬ cially elect of the country visitors being bidden from New York and other distant points for in the days of the stage coach New York and Charleston were truly far apart apartBIG BIG FEATURE OF DINNER DINNERA A feature of the dinner was the recitation of the stirring old poem The High Mettled Racer by the president of the club Any respectable stranger was tendered the hos ¬ pitality of the club during the period of the meeting and men of every cloth and profes ¬ sion mingled in amity and vied with each other in their admiration of the splendid horses considered in that period as the vehicle of an ennobling and invigorating pastime pastimeMany Many fine amateur horsemen were included in that aggregation of Washingtons Single ¬ tons Richardsons Ravenels Hugers Hemp tons McPhersons Sumters Fenwicks Tay ¬ lors Hutchinsons Alstons Harlestons Can teys Sinklers Ashes Thorntons Pringles and others who considered a knowledge of the horse and his management an elementary part of their education In 1841 races were established by the South Carolina Jockey Club for horses to be jockied by members of the club and owned by members These were no pink tea affairs at a mile but dashes of two miles with a cup not exceed ¬ ing 200 in value as the sole reward Dr Continued on twelfth pace HISTORIC RELICS OF TURF Continued from first page John B Irving distinguished sportsman and gentleman of the old school afterward sec ¬ retary of the American Jockey Club at j Jerome Park was the secretary of the South j Carolina Jockey Club for twentyfive years It is a far cry from the days of affluence at the Washington course to the present I when there is no racing in the state but the I love for a good horse is still alive in the j descendants of many of the oldtime sports men though the Washington course is no j more and crops of cotton and corn are being grown where the flying feet of the thorough ¬ bred beat a rataplan a century or more ago at St Matthews Pendleton Greenville Barn well Pineville Laurensville Union Deadfall Beaufort Strawberry Georgetown Fulton Camden Columbia Orangeburg Cherokee Ponds Limestone Springs and Ycrkville YcrkvilleSumter Sumter County boasts of several thorough ¬ breds today William L Saundcrs maintains a small stud at his historic old home Hill I Crest where Old Boy by Planudes son of the Derby winner St Simon and the Oaks winner Lonely is quartered along with mares by McGce Niagara and other wellknown sires It is a region which is rich in blood j horse tradition The great mare Albine j conqueror of Planet and other good racers j was foaled near Hill Crest and it was in this i neighborhood that Colonel Richardson had Bertrand Jr and produced some of the best j horses that trod the Washington Course It is historic ground and some of the most des ¬ perate guerilla warfare of the Revolution was waged among the high hills of Santee as the region has been named namedAiken Aiken and Camden with a transient popu ¬ lation interested in polo and hunting keep alive interest in the thoroughbred during the winter months but at Columbia and other parts of South Carolina there is little to re ¬ call the halcyon days of the Washington Course During the lifetime of William C Whitney there were hopes of a revival of racing at Aiken A race course with its stretches covered with sod and long rows of stables nestling in the pines are the present day reminders of that good sportsmans ac ¬ tivities in the South

Persistent Link: https://drf.uky.edu/catalog/1920s/drf1923022001/drf1923022001_1_5
Local Identifier: drf1923022001_1_5
Library of Congress Record: https://lccn.loc.gov/unk82075800