Looking Back

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

Eddie Blind was appointed starter for Laurel Race Course’s October meet after the retirement of Jim Milton.

Blind was no stranger to hundreds of horsemen all over the country as he plied his trade as an assistant to George Cassidy in New York, worked the first meeting at Atlantic City, and sent fields away at Maryland’s half-mile track Bel Air. He noted his biggest thrill in racing was when he came to Pimlico from New York to assist in starting the (1937) Pimlico Special in which Seabiscuit defeated War Admiral.

Known as one of the best in the business, Blind was head starter at Maryland tracks for 30-plus years and started 32 consecutive runnings of the Preakness, including those of Triple Crown winners Citation, Secretariat, Seattle Slew and Affirmed. He died at age 90 in August 1997.

  • The Bureau of Animal Industry in Washington received a request from Dr. R.W. Smith, State Veterinarian of New Hampshire, for assistance in diagnosing a suspected outbreak of swamp fever in horses at Rockingham Park near Salem that August. Dr. L.O. Mott of the Pathological Division was dispatched and collected blood samples from 14 suspected cases. The clinical diagnoses were subsequently confirmed at the Animal Disease Station in Beltsville, Md. In an attempt to prevent the disease from entering the state, Maryland turf officials set up a ban against horses which had raced in the New England area, or been stabled there, in the 60-day period prior to the ban.

  • Humphrey Finney’s Saratoga sales note in The Editor’s Saddle-Bag, Aug. 15: 

    “All records went by the boards for Saratoga tonight when Henry Knight averaged $16,650 for 18 head sold and the Estate of Kenneth N. Gilpin obtained an average of $11,956 for nine head. Included in the latter group was the lovely filly by War Admiral out of *Betsy Ross II, by *Mahmoud, which topped the market when purchased by Harry M. Warner for $44,000. Never has such a night’s sale been held as was this, for excitement and sustained interest. It is a pity that Kenneth N. Gilpin was not there to see his faith in Saratoga as the leading market for yearlings justified.”

  • Christiana Stable’s 42-year-old trainer John A. “Jack” Healey died of a brain condition, unsuspected until shortly before his death at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Md. 

    The owner of Boxwood Farm near Cockeysville, Md., Healey originally trained as a lawyer, but it was not surprising that he followed in the footsteps of his late father, Thomas J. “T.J.” Healey. Jack Healey was best known for developing Alexis, Sea Snack, Megogo and other Lunger colorbearers; prior to that he trained a string of the C.V. Whitney stable with considerable success. He was vice-president of the American Trainers’ Association, and a director of the Maryland Horse Breeders’ Association at the time of his death.

    Jack Healey was an assistant for his father
    who conditioned the likes of Hall of Famers Equipoise and Top Flight, as well as five Preakness winnersuntil his father retired in 1941, then took the position with the Lungers. The senior Healey, who died in 1944 in New Jersey, was inducted into the National Racing Hall of Fame in 1955.


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