On August 14th, 1918, Billy Kelly, a gelding recently purchased for the Ross Stables by trainer H.G. Bedwell, went to the barrier at Saratoga for the Sanford Memorial Stakes. With him at the barrier, in post seven, was Sir Barton, still part of the John E. Madden barn, though that would soon change. Billy Kelly stalked the leader, Lion D’Or, for the majority of the race and then overtook him in the stretch, pulling away to win by five lengths. Carrying 130 pounds and giving weight to the other seven starters, it was another emphatic win for Billy Kelly, Bedwell’s purported favorite.
As for Sir Barton, it was another performance that didn’t quite hint at what was to come. He finished seventh out of eight horses, barely beating Pastoral Swain by a neck. He didn’t even merit a mention in the Daily Racing Form’s form chart for the Sanford Memorial. It was Sir Barton’s fourth start as a two-year-old, but, in only a few days, John E. Madden, breeder and horse dealer extraordinaire, would sell the chestnut son of Star Shoot to J.K.L. Ross. The major players would finally all be in place.
(By the way, the 1919 version featured a future King of All the Things Man O’War and Upset. We all know how that one ended…)