Shelley Saw Derby Of 1879: Present Racing Secretary-Steward of Downs Track Watched Lord Murphy Race to Victory., Daily Racing Form, 1939-05-08


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SHELLEY SAW DERBY OF 1879 Present Racing Secretary-Steward of Downs Track Watched Lord Murphy Race to Victory. LOUISVILLE, Ky., May 6.— Barefoot and perched atop a mule, a wisp of a lad rodo into the centerficld at Churchill Down3 on May 20, 1879, for the express purpose of seeing the Kentucky Derby, and little did he suspect at that time that he would some day be a part of that great throughbred spectacle. The lad who on that May afternoon saw Lord Murphy conquer his rivals is William H. Shelley, at present and for many years past racing secetary and .judge at the historic Kentucky course. In a reminiscent mood a few days ago, judge Shelly recalled some of the incidents of that Derby that impressed him with great-force and which he has remembered through the many years since that time. Lord Murphy, a robust bay colt owned by George W. Darden and Co. and trained by George Bice, was an 11 to 10 favorite to annex the honors. "And a great horse he was," Shelley mused. Despite all of the greatness of the favored son of Pat Molloy, Shelley recalled that it was he who informed trainer Rice of Lord Murphys success. Rice, an astute conditioner of horses, had Lord Murphy at top form for the gruelling mile and a half test against eight others, but when it came time for tha race Rice could not bear to watch the running, it "When the horses reached the post Rice turned his back on the field and did not see any of the action during the running o£ the race." Shelley recalled: "By this time I was standing on my mules back and Rice had moved over to where he was within hearing distance of my voice. It was through me he learned how his horse was progressing and it was I who finally told him Lord Murphy had won."

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