Looking Back

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

Bowie’s meeting, which wound up the Maryland fall racing season, was marked by interesting stakes and the usual keen competition among the platers, as owners and trainers sought eagerly for purses to acquire shipping money south or enough to tide them over a winter of remaining on the farms.
  • The first running of the Breeders Stakes for 2-year-olds was one of the stakes offered and went to Alan T. Clarke’s homebred Fritz Maisel. Foaled at Huntington Farm in Clarkesville, Md., Fritz Maisel was one of two foals in the first crop of Little Beans, who had left Maryland but returned to stand the 1948 season at Merryland Farm in Hyde.

  • Maryland comptroller James J. Lacy announced that state revenues from horse racing during 1947 totaled $5,095,324, up more than a half-million from the previous year. Pimlico bettors made the most generous contribution, with a total of $1,234,012. Laurel, Bowie and Havre de Grace also generated revenue over $1 million each.

  • Pimlico’s fall racegoers were witness to feats of greatness. Calumet Farm’s Citation clinched the 2-year-old championship with a triumph in the Pimlico Futurity for trainer Jimmy Jones. Alfred Vanderbilt, long prominent in affairs of Pimlico and Laurel, saw his colors carried first home in the Sagamore Stakes (with Newsweekly), a day after his *Halconero won the Exterminator Handicap. Most astonishing of all was Mill Run Stable’s Miss Grillo romping to a 40-length triumph in the Pimlico Cup, at 2 1⁄2 miles the longest stakes race on the American turf calendar.
    Trained by future Hall of Famer Horatio Luro, the 5-year-old Argentinian-bred Miss Grillo had been imported to the U.S. the previous year and proved a force at route races. In a span of less than four weeks in fall 1947, she covered nearly 8 miles in four starts (1 5⁄8 miles, 1 5⁄8 miles, 2 1⁄16 miles and 2 1⁄2 miles). In addition to three Pimlico starts during the span, including a victory in the Governor Bowie, she ran third behind Stymie in the Gallant Fox Handicap at Jamaica.
  • After Matt Winn, head of Churchill Downs, set May 1, 1948, as the date for the Kentucky Derby, the date for the Preakness was set for May 15, two weeks after the Derby instead of just a week later, as it had been in years prior.

  • Names on the list of nearly 200 Maryland-bred winners from Sept. 1 through Oct. 31 included distaffers Be Faithful, a 5-year-old bred by Idle Hour Stock Farm Co., 4-year-old Celestial Blue (breeder Janon Fisher Jr.) and 3-year-old Legendra (breeder W.L. Brann). The 2-year-old colt Loser Weeper, a son of Discovery bred by A.G. Vanderbilt, won three times over the two months. 
    Multiple stakes winner Be Faithful and stakes-placed Legendra, both foaled at Glade Valley Farm near Frederick, were significant producers, the former as the granddam of Never Bend and Bold Reason, to name just a few; the latter as a foundation mare for Taylor Hardin’s Newstead Farm and ancestress of Zenyatta. Celestial Blue was the dam of Preakness Stakes winner Bally Ache. And Loser Weeper went on to win 13 more times, nine stakes, and rank as one of the nation’s top handicap horses of 1949 and 1950.

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