Ruthless Among Top Fillies of Era: Won First Belmont Stakes By Little Over Half Length After Spirited Stretch Duel, Daily Racing Form, 1951-06-16


view raw text

: i Ruthless Among Top Fillies of Era Won First Belmont Stakes By Little Over Half Length After Spirited Stretch Duel By LEON RASMUS SEN Staff Correspondent It was a case of "ladies first" when Ruthless won the first edition of the Belmont Stakes in 1867 at Jerome Park. But since that time the cqlts have allowed only one other feminine runner to capture this .championship event that brings Americas best three-year-olds together to match their speed, stamina and fighting hearts. This was Tanya in 1905. Both Ruthless and, Tanya were what the old-timers like to refer to as "crack" f ililes that will long be remembered for what they accomplished on the race track. Ruthless and Tanya belong to that select circle that embraces Yorkville Belle, Miss Woodford, Beldame, Regret, Busher and a very few others. Ruthless, owned and bred by C. Francis Morris of Westchester, N. Y., was not only the greatest filly of her year, she was the greatest of the "sixties" by far margin. A daughter of imported Eclipse and Barbarity she was the rangy type, tall but enceed-ingly well developed. As a juvenile in 1866 she had the honor of. winning the first edition of the Belmont Stakes, and at three .she was practically invincible. In addition to the Belmont she won the fourth running of the Travers and the Sequel at Saratoga. In the latter event she whipped Virgil, later the sire of the immortal Hindoo and the unbeaten Tremont. Family Well Named Ruthless had a full sister named Relentless, who won the Saratoga Stakes of 1867, another sister named Remorseless, champion two-year-old of her year, 1869, and still another sister, Regardless, who won * the Flash at two and the Alabama at three. ; The exploits of the first three struck such confusion into the plans of rival trainers that they became known as "the barbarous battalion," an alliterative derivation, from their dams names. Strangely enough, Barbarity had several colt foals but not a one of them was even. worth the trouble to train, while all her daughters were famous. The first Belmont Stakes was run on June 19 at the summer meeting at Jerome Park. That track, the last word in elegance and a haven for society the year around, had just opened the previous year under the tutelage of Leonard W. Jerome and August Belmont, the elder, after whom the race was named. It was the opening day of what was expected to be a grand race meeting. A brilliant and fashionable gathering attended on a day that was all that could be desired. A drenching rain had obliterated the dust and the roads were in excellent condition for the stately four-in-hands that brought the crowd to the track. The track was a little heavy, but everyone agreed that the running was superb. Purse ,,500 Added Ruthless proved a far cry from the clouds of elegant, perfumed and dainty ladies that swarmed the clubhouse, twirling their parasols to the music of Offenbach. The race was then at a mile and five furlongs with ,500 added. Eleven had been nominated but only four accepted, Ruthless and Monday being coupled against Decourcey and Rivoli. The start was made at the foot of the clubhouse bluff and Decourcey got away we*ll, followed by Rivoli. Monday, who was supposed to get out on the pace, left late and Ruthless seemed to wait for him. After a furlong, Decourcey was three in front of Rivoli, who paced Monday by five, with Ruthless trailing. Mondays rider had orders to take the track and he set out to do it. He passed Rivoli and then came along to challenge Decourcey, but the latter was in no mood to giye up. They ran together to the head of the stretch the first time around. The pace was fast and Ruthless still trailed. At the beginning of the last mile, Monday, spent from his early exertion, called it a day. As they passed the bluff, five-eighths from home, Decourcey was a length up on Rivoli, but Ruthless was charging. She passed Monday and went after Rivoli and Decourcey. On the turn for home she collared Rivoli and set out for the pace-setting chestnut and a duel followed. It was head and head, and Decourcey held her off for a while with a fine display of courage. But Ruthless, the filly, -came on and as they swept past the stand she edged forward until at the final strand she had won the great race by a little over a half-length. Actually, she seemed to have something in reserve. She carried 107 pounds, to 110 for the colts, and for those who doubted her ability past a mile, she proved them wrong without feeling whip or spur. Ruthless was retired to stud at four and when mated with her former running mate, Monday, she produced a good colt, Battle-Axe, who won the Kentucky Stakes at Saratoga. Morris then bred her to her own sire and the result was a deformed colt. Ruthless herself then met an untimely death in 1876 when a transient hunter accidentally shot her while she was in her paddock. Tanya, who defeated Blandy and Hot Shot in 1905, was one- of the finest fillies ever bred by Williams Collins Whitney, once Secretary of the Navy and a bulwark of racing. She was by Meddler — Handspun, by the famous Matriarch Spinaway. She Continued on Page Forty-Nine " 3 g Fillies During 1860s Won First Belmont Stakes by Little Over Length and Half Continued from Page Five won five for six at two, her only defeat coming in the Futurity when she was fourth to her stablemate, Artful, Tradition and Sysonby. Her only win in four attempts at three was the Belmont, but she was a splendid racer who could carry her speed over a distance as she proved so convincingly in the forty-ninth Belmont, when she joined Ruthless as the only other filly to capture the most exacting sophomore fixture in our scheme of racing.

Persistent Link:
Local Identifier: drf1951061601_5_1
Library of Congress Record: