Looking Back

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

The spring cross-country racing season had more entries, and more promising young riders, than had been the case for years.

And it culminated with a disqualification in the Maryland Hunt Cup, the third in 52 runnings, after Tiger Bennett sent Henry Cadwalader’s mare Carolina over the eighth fence (instead of the 18th). Victory went to 14-year-old Peterski, piloted by D. Michael “Mikey” Smithwick, who was 6 lengths behind Carolina at the wire. It took 10 minutes to review the results, and due to a committee ruling barring p. a. systems, most observers didn’t learn of the disqualification until reading their Sunday morning papers.

To date there have been four Hunt Cup disqualifications, the others being The Squire (1897) and Oracle II (1928), each for cutting a flag, and Imperial Way (2015) after losing a weight pad at the 19th fence.

Bennett was riding in his second of nine Hunt Cups, and would go on to finish second or third four times, but never win. Years later, he paraphrased Tennyson in a speech: “Better to have won and lost, than never to have won at all.” For Smithwick, it was his first of a record six wins.

  • Good Turn came out of a seven-year retirement to capture the Dade County Handicap at Tropical Park at age 10. The son of Ariel, bred by Alfred G. Vanderbilt, had won stakes at 2 and 3.
    Good Turn finished in the top three in 10 of 15 starts at 2 for Vanderbilt, including a victory in the Sanford and a third, behind Whirlaway, in the Saratoga Special Stakes at Saratoga, and added the San Vicente at Santa Anita the next February. After a fourth in Bowie’s Rowe Memorial that April, he wasn’t seen again in the gate until March 1948 at Sunshine Park in Florida for owner Mrs. O.H. Marshall. An explanation of those seven years can’t be found. He raced until age 14, and made 30 starts following his comeback.

  • A chance observation referring to the New York racing season of 1905 read by Pimlico’s Director of Public Relations David F. Woods led to a search of the Goodwin’s Guides and Racing Forms of the period, with the discovery that the Preakness was run in New York at Gravesend from 1894 through 1908. The Dwyer Brothers, who operated Gravesend, revived the stakes which had last been run at Pimlico in 1889.

  • Calumet Farm’s 3-year-old Citation made two starts at Havre de Grace in April. In the first he was beaten by Helen L. Sagner’s Saggy in the mud in the Chesapeake Trial, but came back to defeat Saggy and others in the Chesapeake.
    That was Citation’s only loss from September 1947 to January 1950, a string of 24 races.

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