Noted Eastern Sportsman: Turf Career of Late E. B. Cassatt, Pennsylvania R. R. President, Daily Racing Form, 1924-12-10


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NOTED EASTERN SPORTSMAN Turf Career of Late E. B. Cassatt, Pennsylvania R. R. President. Some of His Grand Horses and Their Achievements in Americas Most Famous Stake Fixtures. Turf history certainly will not be complete without dwelling on the career of the father of Major E. B. Cassatt, the late A. J. Cassatt, known to the financial and railroad world as one of the shrewd men of his time. And he used his knowledge or men on the traciv. Mr. Cassatt never would have owned nor bred a thoroughbred, nor would he have become arbiter of the destinies of a great trunk line railway, but for the timely act of a friend during the railroad strike riots at Pittsburgh in the 70s, which culminated in the destruction by fire of the Union Depot at the Smoky City. The late railway president, then a division superintendent of the road, was in the midst of the melee with the force trying to quell the disturbance, and, like several others of the officials, wore a large white or drab felt hat. Suddenly the word went around among some of the more desperate strikers, "Lets shoot the officials with the white hats." SHED AYIIITE HATS. All of Cassatts fellow officials Avere warned to take off their white hats at once, which they did, and on Cassatt demurring to the precaution as indicating fear of the strikers, a friend grabbed his hat from his head. Just as he did so a bullet whizzed over Cassatts head, showing that his hat had become a target sure enough. It was a close call for the man Avho was destined to control such vast interests as he was called to do a few years later. Few men who go into racing on such a moderate scale as did Mr. Cassatt are fortunate to develop both a Brooklyn and Suburban Avinner. And yet almost before the Kelso, after the Cassatt, "tri-color" had become fairly well known to the racing public, most of the big handicaps at Jerome, Sheepshead, Gravesend and Monmouth Park had been won by his horses. When John Huggins first took charge of the Cassatt stable, in the middle 80s, it raced under the nom de plume of "Mr. Kelso." The Bard, destined to earn its stable its greatest honors, was then a yearling; a little bay mare called Heel and Toe, by Glenelg-La Polka, winning the first races of note for the red. white and blue. AVON FOItDIFAM HANDICAP. Heel and Toe won the Fordham Handicap at Jerome Park and other events. She was a useful mare, but rather small and not much up to weight. Her full sister, Los Angeles, was a much higher class mare, and some years later won many great races for the late "Lucky" Baldwin of California. A liberal purchaser of yearlings, Mr. Cassatt about this time secured the future Suburban and Brooklyn Avinners, Eurus and j-he Bard. At Jerome Park in the spring of 18S7 Eurus won a good race under 124 pounds, and as he was in the Suburban Handicap at Sheepshead with mlich less weight he was considered a factor, especially if the track should be heaA"j Consequently the future books received quite a neavy play on Eurus between tne Jerome and Sheepshead meetings, but at Gravesend the horse failed to show any of . his form at Jerome and his Suburban backers did not have much hope of his success in that race. YlItGIXIA-BJtED "WINS. Three years before a Virginia-bred horse, "War Eagle, had only failed of Suburban honors by a head margin that separated him and General Monroe at the finish. And had Garrison, then a ninety-five pound boy, seen "Old White Face," as General Monroe was called, the latter would not have got up in time. Master Garrison was watching Jack of Hearts on the inside, when Monroe, with an unexpected rush, nailed him on the whip hand. But Virginia scored with Eurus and made amends for War Eagles defeat the only time a horse bred in the Old Dominion ever won the Suburban. It was a heavy track on the day Eurus carried the Cassatt colors to victory, but so many other mudlarks Avere at the post that Eurus Avas at long odds in the market. Ben Ali and Quito were the favorties, while Lizzie Dwyer, the Corrigan mare, Blue Wings and others also carried tons of money. Ben Ali had beaten Hidalgo in a trial, and James B.. Haggin placed enough on the son of Virgil to have started a country track in business. Representative William L. Scott and his friends could not see how that gentlemans Erie-bred horse, Quito, could lose in the mud, and the horse was supported for a kings ransom. Other horses were heaAily played, and Eurus Avent to the post at 20 to 1, owner Cassett not having a dollar on the horse, letting him run for the 0,000 purse and stake money. IIUGGIXS BACKED EURUS. Trainer John Huggins, however, spread 00 across the board on Eurus, and as he gave jockey "Bill" Hayward the leg up, said to the veteran rider : "Bill, get the little cuss off in front if you can and then let him go like hell." As matters turned out it Avas comparatively easy for Hayward to obey these orders, for he got aAvay to a running start and before his opponents Avere fairly under way he was six lengths ahead. Hayward kept his horse up to the lead he had taken and never was reached. The same day Euius won the Suburban, tho Cassatt 2-year-old filly, Eandusia, won a good race at the long odds of 100 to 1. This time, OAvner Cassatt did not let his horse run loose, for he sent a commission across the board at netted a good sum toAvard stable expenses for the year. AVhile not as large a horse as Freeland, Riley, Irish King, Leonatus or other sons of Longfellow that could be named, The Bard was all horse, speedy and game as a bulldog. Like Thora, the best daughter of Longfellow, the Cassatt champion Avas honest $.s the day Avas long. AVhen The Bard Avas asked to meet Troubadour in the Coney Island stakes at Sheepshead it was West Pennsylvania against East Pennsylvania, as only tho two champions started. Both horses were considered at their best, Troubadour having won the Suburban the year before 1886, while The Bard had done all that was asked of him that season 1887. The race Avas at a mile and an eighth, and as The Bard was not so speedy as Troubadour, but a fast "later," Hayward sent Cassatts horse out from the start in an attempt to run Sam Browns champion off his legs. The tactics succeeded, and The Bard was winner by half a length. A little later Tourbadour turned the tables on The Barer at the same distance in the Ocean stakes, and Avon by a length. Four days after the Ocean stakes the two horses met in a race for the Monmouth cup, and Troubadour again was winner. Then came their fourth meeting in th3 Freehold stakes, a mile and a half, when The Bard eAened up the score. Tho victory, hoAveA-er, Avas dimmed by the fact that Troubadour was sore and a bit lame and Avas started against the advice of his trainer. A big crowd was at the track, drawn by the expected meeting of the two horses, and president Withers, of the association, personally requested Capt. Sam Brown to start Troubadour rather than disappoint the people. AVith sportsmanlike spirit, but questionable judgment, the Pittsburgh coal king sent Troubadour to the post, and the horse broke down in the race and never ran again. The following year The Bard set the seal on his fame by winning the Brooklyn handicap from a big field on a slow track. The Bard always Avas a good "mudder," like his brother-in-blood, Riley, Avhich beat Tournament in the mud at Morris Park, when that horse was considered the best mud lark of the decade. A few years later came the suppression of betting by the New. Jersey legislature, and Mr. Cassatt and his associates at Monmouth Park decided to sell the magnificent race course at auction and quit. The spacious Monmouth Park property, tho grounds and buildings of whir-h had cost over 00,000, was sold at auction at Freehold, N. J., for 1,000. The iron in the grandstand later was sold by its new owner for 0,000, and the site was later cut up into building lots, netting a fortune. Mr. Cassatt sold all his race horses except Tho Bard and a few mares, and started his Chesterbrook stud. Here The Bard sired Gold Heels, by many considered a better race horse than his sire. As a breeder and importer of hackneys, Mr. Cassatt Avas as enthusiastic as any of the rich men who haAe given that industry attention. He imported the famous horse. Cadet, at a reputed price of 5,000, winning the championship prize at New York and Philadelphia. Mr. Cassatt Avas an expert whip, and up to 1S9C, in the annual horse sIioavs in Madison Square Garden, always droAe his own entries. a

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