By early November, 1919 had become a year of mixed blessings for jockey Johnny Loftus. He had been aboard Man o’ War for all of his victories — and his lone defeat. Loftus had ridden winners for a number of racing’s top stables and trainers, everyone from Sam Hildreth to H.G. Bedwell. He had won a Kentucky Derby on Sir Barton but also lost the Dwyer Stakes to Purchase, who Loftus also had ridden to victory that year. Loftus had been set down for rough riding, yet he also had served as trainer Louis Feustel’s go-to rider for a fractious and challenging Man o’ War. With the year winding down, Loftus was looking forward to 1920, possibly his final year in the saddle. Years of fighting his weight left the jockey ready to consider what’s next. In the meantime, he was ready to finish out 1919 on a high note.
The Autumn Handicap on November 5th would prove to be anything but.
Continue reading “A Century Ago, A Schism”
Every time Triple Crown season rolls around, Kenny Rice is there, reporting for NBC Sports. You can catch his familiar cadence and expert coverage on their broadcasts so imagine my thrill when I discovered that Mr. Rice had a show of his own! Streaming on YouTube, you will find all 29 episodes, featuring names like Bill Parcells, Mike Smith, Bill Mott, Larry Collmus, and more. Imagine my delight when I was able to part of Mr. Rice’s Horse Racing Show! Below you can find my interview with Mr. Rice.
You can find the show on YouTube and subscribe to their channel or stream the audio here. Thank you to Kenny Rice and his staff for this chance to be a part of a great show!
It’s July 4th weekend! Summer is already half over, but you still have plenty of time to kick back, relax, and enjoy some downtime before you get back to the grind. What better way to enjoy your free time this weekend than with Sir Barton? I will be around the Lexington/Frankfort area on July 5th and 6th. I hope you will come by, say hi, and talk all things Sammy and racing!
July 5 @ 12 pm — Kentucky Historical Society, Frankfort, KY
July 6 @ 10 am — Paul Sawyier Library, Frankfort, KY
July 6th @ 2 pm — Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Lexington, KY
If you can’t make it out to the Lexington/Frankfort area, why not pick up a copy of Sammy’s story for your beach reading? Sir Barton and the Making of the Triple Crown is available from your favorite bookseller or library. If your library doesn’t carry the book, you can request it.
The month since the release of Sir Barton and the Making of the Triple Crown has been a bit of a whirlwind, which puts me woefully behind on updating here on the Sir Barton Project. In 2016, on the occasion of Sir Barton’s 100th birthday, Lori Hoyt of the Boondocks Flower Shop and Gifts in Douglas, Wyoming was kind enough to create a bouquet of flowers for Sir Barton’s grave. This year, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Sir Barton’s Triple Crown triumph, I decided to place flowers on Sir Barton’s grave again, but, because of this milestone, I thought we needed to go bigger!
Continue reading “Sir Barton Turns 100+3!”
Last year, I discovered Old Smoke via Gary Stevens. I now have a handful of shirts from them, ranging from an adorable Bodexpress shirt from this year’s Preakness to a wonderful Triple Crown shirt. Their shirts are high-quality material with these great designs that show their appreciation for horse racing. As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Triple Crown this year, it was only natural that Old Smoke would celebrate this milestone with a Sir Barton shirt.
I am grateful to Kurt & Adrian at Old Smoke for the chance to create another way to recognize this milestone and celebrate the anniversary of America’s first Triple Crown. You can purchase the shirt here!
The road to the 145th Kentucky Derby is paved with points; the road to the 45th was far different. You can read about it in “The Road to Glory.”
The Triple Crown celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. Learn more about the evolution of Triple Crown at Old Smoke Clothing Co.’s Dark Tuesday blog.
And I had the best time writing this for the Converse County (WY) Board of Tourism:
The other day, I had someone ask me where I put Sir Barton in the pantheon of Triple Crown winners. Where did the first Triple Crown winner rank amongst the thirteen that have won the honor of being the most elite of this sport? In order to answer this question, I sat down with a notebook and my trusty copy of Champions and contemplated exactly how I was going to rank all thirteen.
Continue reading “Who Is the Best of Them All?”
When I started researching Sir Barton’s career, I knew I had to start with the individual races themselves before I worked to connect the dots between them. The best place to find all of the details of his starts was the Daily Racing Form, the source of form charts and articles about the previous day’s races and other news going back to 1894. The only problem? The Keeneland Library is five hours away! Yikes! How was I going to do this research? Cue the Daily Racing Form archive.
Continue reading “Tools of the Trade: Daily Racing Form Archive”
Recently, I had the joy of reading and writing about Phil Dandrea’s book Sham: Great Was Second Best here on the blog. Sham had a great career of his own, winning races like the Santa Anita Derby, but happened to be born in the same year as the second-best horse of the 20th century. Now, let’s hear from the author himself and find out a little bit more about writing this book on the horse that pushed Secretariat during his 1973 Triple Crown run.
Continue reading “Author Answers: Phil Dandrea”
He was always destined to be a champion.
Finally, 100 years after his Triple Crown triumph, the full story of Sir Barton, America’s first Triple Crown winner, comes to you from myself and the University Press of Kentucky. You can pre-order Sir Barton and the Making of the Triple Crown now ahead of the book’s official publication in early May.
Stay tuned to the blog and my Twitter feed for information on promotions, appearances, and more as we count down to the 100th anniversary of America’s first Triple Crown and celebrate the life of Sir Barton, the champion who brought us the ultimate chase for greatness in American horse racing.
Want to pre-order Sir Barton and the Making of the Triple Crown? Order your copy today from any of these retailers!
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