JUNE 11, 1919
This Wednesday in New York dawned bright and warm, the almost-summer sun beating down on the regal space of Belmont Park. The trains brought in more and more people, to the point that the grounds swelled with 25,000 in attendance, twice the usual number of fans for mid-week at the track we know as Big Sandy. The first race went off at 2.44 pm, with a steeplechase and a stakes race to follow, but the throng wasn’t there for that. No, they had turned out for one race and one horse. The fourth race was the Belmont Stakes and the horse they all came to see was racing’s newest star, the first horse to win the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, Sir Barton.
Continue reading “One Hundred Years Ago, a Triple Crown”
After Book Tour Part I took me around the Commonwealth, I had a blissful week at home recovering before I headed back to Kentucky for the tremendous honor of participating in the Keeneland Library Lecture Series and then buzzing over to Baltimore for Preakness weekend, where I had a signing on Black-Eyed Susan Day at Pimlico and then got to yell “Riders Up!” for the Sir Barton Stakes on Preakness Day. It was a whirlwind week of traveling, one that I will definitely never forget.
Continue reading “Talking Sammy & Tracking Bode(xpress): Book Tour Part II”
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!
As we count down to the publication of Sir Barton and the Making of the Triple Crown, coming soon from the University Press of Kentucky, I wanted to do something special for the amazing horses and people of Old Friends. Watch the video for more details!
Continue reading “A Special Announcement: Old Friends Benefit Auction”
In 2015, nearly sixty years after Sir Barton entered the Hall of Fame in its inaugural class, Billy Kelly, his stablemate and frequent workout partner, got his own place among the ranks of great horses in American racing history. This gelding, sprinting speed in a plain brown wrapper, had an unremarkable pedigree, his name and fame faded with time. Yet his place in the Hall of Fame was assured not because of his proximity to a Triple Crown winner, but because of his consistent excellence carrying high weights over a variety of distances.
Continue reading “Billy Kelly, Hall of Famer, Stablemate to History”
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”
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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This past weekend, the Miami Dolphins defeated the New England Patriots on a last-second series of laterals that ended with a touchdown, the final score 34-33. It became the fifth time that the Patriots had lost in Miami, giving Tom Brandy a record of 7-10 lifetime against a team that tends to underperform the rest of the regular season. For whatever reason — be it the weather or something else altogether — playing in Miami has become an Achilles heel for the Patriots, a portent that something odd this way comes for one of the NFL’s most consistent teams. Strangely, for Sir Barton, a horse named Crystal Ford seemed to be a similar token of ill luck.
Continue reading “Crystal Ford, Herald of Defeat?”
In 1898, at the prestigious Eyrefield Lodge in Ireland, Astrology foaled a chestnut colt by Isinglass. The son of an English Triple Crown winner, the little foal soon came down with a fever, his survival uncertain. The Lodge’s stud groom, Dan McNally, wrapped the wee colt in so many blankets that he could barely move and placed him in the front of a fire in the tack room. Thanks to McNally’s attention, Astrology’s foal survived to become Star Shoot, a good racer with several stakes wins at two. By three years old, though, Star Shoot had developed a breathing issue, much like his damsire, and, was retired to stud. English and Irish breeders assumed that breathing issues were hereditary so they solved the problem of Star Shoot’s questionable genetics in their customary way: by shipping the colt abroad.
Continue reading “Star Shoot Dies”