10 Fun Facts about Sir Barton on His 104th Birthday

SirBartonAloneOn this day in 1916, Lady Sterling gave birth to a golden chestnut colt with a wide blaze, a son of Star Shoot that destined to make history three years later. One hundred and four years later, let’s celebrate Sir Barton’s birthday with twenty-six fun facts about our first Triple Crown winner.

  1. Both Star Shoot and Lady Sterling both were blind or nearly blind at the time of Sir Barton’s conception.
  2. Sir Barton was named for Sir Andrew Barton, the Scottish privateer whose letter of marque allowed him to attack ships from enemy nations and then potentially keep their cargo.
  3. Trainer H.G. Bedwell would tease Sir Barton whenever the horse stuck his head out of his stall. The trainer would slap the colt on the muzzle and Sir Barton would try to catch his hand. This led to the horse’s tendency to grab for people when they got too close.
  4. Star Shoot died in November 1919 at age 21. Lady Sterling died in 1920 at age 21. Sir Barton died on October 30, 1937 at age 21.
  5. Sir Barton set a track record in the 1920 Saratoga Handicap. He ran the mile and a quarter in 2:01 4/5. Man o’ War duplicated that time in the Travers Stakes that same year.
  6. Sir Barton set a world record for 1 3/16 miles in the 1920 Merchants and Citizens Handicap. His time was 1:55 3/5.
  7. Sir Barton and Man o’ War met in a match race at Kenilworth Park in Windsor, Ontario on October 12, 1920. The Educational Film Corporation set up fourteen cameras to film the race in its entirety, combining that with pre-race footage of both horses. The resulting film was called The Race of the Age and was shown in theatres across the United States.
  8. After his retirement in 1921, Sir Barton stood for one season at Commander J.K.L. Ross’s Maryland farm before his sale to Audley Farm near Berryville, VA. Brothers Montfort and B.B. Jones wanted Sir Barton to head their new breeding operation.
  9. Sir Barton is buried in Washington Park in Douglas, WY. How the heck did our first Triple Crown winner end up in Wyoming? Read Sir Barton and the Making of the Triple Crown to learn all about it!
  10. Sir Barton’s April 26th birthday is not the latest of our thirteen Triple Crown winners. War Admiral was born on May 2nd.

Today in Racing History — April 3rd

IMG_20190525_104332100 years ago, 1920 — The Maryland state legislature was considering the Burke Measure, also known the Burke-Janney law, creating the Maryland Racing Commission and putting racing in the state of Maryland under more state oversight. Once the bill passed, the state’s racetracks — Havre de Grace, Bowie, Pimlico, and Laurel — shared 100 racing days a year and were required to pay $6,000 a day in taxes to the state.

Read more about that in Sir Barton and the Making of the Triple Crownchapter 11.

75 years ago, 1945 — Racetracks in the United States were dark on orders of the War Department. In England, however, Ascot was open, leaving American soldiers wondering why the Brits were able to race when racing here had been closed for the duration.

Read more in the Louisville Courier-Journal, April 3, 1945.

50 years ago, 1970 — Peter Fuller’s pursuit of Dancer’s Image’s share of the 1968 Kentucky Derby purse continues in Kentucky.

Read the article in the Louisville Courier-Journal, April 3, 1970.