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 Looking Back

This month in mid-atlantic thoroughbred history! For Looking Back archives click here.

World-leading money-winning Thoroughbred Stymie, owned by Mrs. Hirsch Jacobs, of the Bieber-Jacobs Farm in Sparks, Md., added to his tally with a victory in Belmont Park International Gold Cup over a field that included Assault and Phalanx. With the announcement that the Pimlico Special would be renewed in October, it was hoped that the great handicapper would be in the field.

 “There has been some controversy over Pimlico’s announcement that the Special again would be for a prize of $25,000, winner-take-all. One group argues that this is not sufficient money to lure all the top horses of the season, whereas another equally large band of race-goers maintains that the size of the purse is immaterial in a ‘championship’ event such as that called for by the conditions of the Special. . .

“Whether it happens to get the top two or three any given season is largely a matter of luck but at any rate the winner-take-all provisions of the stake make it appealing to those with a taste for the sporting.”

Stymie stayed in New York, bypassing the Special, but the race attracted Calumet Farm’s Armed. The 1947 Horse of the Year finished third to his 3-year-old stablemate Fervent, who took home the entire $25,000 prize.

  • Laurel Park was set to open in October with renewed interest, as the track would be operating under new management. Henry A. Parr III, president of both Laurel and Pimlico, had many plans for the improvement of Laurel, which never handled as much business as Pimlico. A publicity campaign was being planned in order to boost attendance and mutuel figures. And changes were made to the stabling area to make living quarters more comfortable and sanitary for the backstretch workers.

  • Humphrey Finney’s note in The Editor’s Saddle-Bag on July 9:

    “To Monmouth Park this morning for breakfast, then to watch the judging of the New Jersey-bred yearlings in the first show staged by the New Jersey Breeders’ Association. The affair was well attended and drew a good number of nice yearlings. The Helis entries from Jobstown took both colt and filly awards, with Joe Roebling’s and Andy Schuttinger’s entries also well regarded. Having watched a few races we turned homewards, getting to Baltimore in time for dinner.”

  • Favorites triumphed in five out of the six steeplechase events at Bel Air’s 10th annual midsummer meeting. Frank D. Adams rode a couple jumpers to some driving finishes, which had spectators on tiptoe. On the flat, jockey Jimmy Baird came out on top of the jockey list, with 14 winners. Annie’s Dream set two track records during the 10-day meet, at 5 furlongs and 7 furlongs, while stretching her win streak to five.

  • Mrs. Robert H. Heighe’s Prospect Hill Stud near Bel Air, Md., was profiled. Its history included *Durbar II, the last American-owned horse to win the English Derby, who was buried on the lawn of the farm. Bred in France by Herman B. Duryea, *Durbar II won the 1914 Derby for his breeder and stood in France until 1926 when Mrs. Duryea brought him to the U.S. to stand at Claiborne Farm in Kentucky. Five years later the aging stallion was sent to Prospect Hill Stud, where he died shortly thereafter. Heighe, Mrs. Duryea’s niece by marriage, inherited a number of the Duryea broodmares, whose descendants included Heighe’s recently retired stakes winner Adroit.

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