Looking Back

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

Pimlico posted new attendance and wagering records for the 98th Preakness as 61,657 people witnessed Secretariat’s greatness, exceeding the previous year’s record by 12,936.

The day’s mutuel handle of $3,792,076 was $487,715 higher than the previous mark. Countering the positive was what was described as “that maelstrom of humanity which crowds into the centerfield [15,400 this year] and then defies the restraining efforts of police and uniformed guards.”

Maryland Horse editor Snowden Carter weighed in: “Before the 1974 Preakness is run, [general manager Chick] Lang and the Cohens [Pimlico owners Ben and Herman] must do something about that centerfield. Tunnels under the track [such as used at Churchill Downs] are a necessity. And national guardsmen [such as used as Churchill Downs] are needed.”

  • The Maryland Racing Commission approved the transfer of the 36-day Marlboro meeting to Bowie. “The apparent demise of Marlboro as a racing center leaves only Timonium as a survivor on the once popular half-mile Maryland circuit.Other minor tracks eliminated during the past dozen years were Bel Air, Hagerstown and Cumberland.” 
    In Carter’s editorial, he looked back “on the good old days” with a great deal of sorrow. “All four of those tracks were dear old friends.” But continued: “Progress is sometimes quite painful. But looking at the racing picture in an objective manner, I’ve got to say that the entire industry will benefit . . .”

  • King’s Bishop set a 7-furlong track record at Belmont when winning the Carter Handicap by 5 lengths in 1:202⁄5 – taking four-fifths of a second off the old record set 16 years earlier by Bold Ruler. The 4-year-old son of Round Table was owned by Allaire duPont, E.P. Taylor, Mr. and Mrs. E. Edward Houghton and Richard Stokes.
    Stakes winner Northern Jove, purchased from owner-breeder Peter Fuller on Preakness Day at Pimlico by Edgar Lucas’ Helmore Farm, made his last start in Fuller colors a winning one by capturing a 6-furlong overnight handicap at Pimlico.
    Both stallions had brief but successful careers in Maryland. King’s Bishop entered stud the next year at Windfields, where he stood until his death in December 1981, becoming one of the state’s leading sires with 29 stakes winners in eight crops as well as a top broodmare sire. Northern Jove stood at Helmore Farm in Woodbine from 1974 through 1978 until moved to Kentucky after his daughter Candy Eclair was named 1978 Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old filly.

  • Dr. Paul Rothfuss, nearly 80 and a retired general practitioner/surgeon who owned a 204-acre farm in Williamsport, Pa., bred and raced more than 100 horses since getting into the racing business in 1935. Rothfuss, which in German means “red foot,” used the word “foot” in the names of about 80 of his horses – but in 1956 The Jockey Club ruled that he was “advertising” his specialty and limited him to one horse with “foot” in the name every year after. One of his most notable homebreds, allowance winner Gain A’ Foot, might have been a better racehorse had he not caught a foot in the starting gate as a 3-year-old. Eventually retired to stud at Rothfuss’ farm, Gain A’ Foot sired 38 foals, of which 36 started and 25 won. 
    Rothfuss’ son David, a 28-year-old biology teacher, turned to training his father’s horses over the past year.




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