Graveyard of Favorites, 1914

Aug 8th 2008 12:15 am |

Heartache for horse players at Saratoga – like many things at the Spa – has a long history. Check out the following from the Albany Times Union, August 27, 1914. This was written at the end if the 1914 meet:

“Saratoga Springs – The getaway feeling was in the air yesterday, for in all truth it could not be said that there was an enthusiasm displayed, if one is to expect the few who were fortunate enough to have chosen the right one. This choosing of the right one in a race here has become a task in the fullest sense of the word for of the hundreds of regulars here there are not two dozen who have had the courage of their convictions…

“Punishment will make the gamest of men careful, and there has been enough of this commodity, if it can be so termed, dealt out at the present meeting to last a racing enthusiast for the rest of his life. Winners turn up from the most unexpected quarters, while the fancied ones are as a rule distant trailers. Many who are of an optimistic turn of mind account for the form reversals through changed track conditions, but those track conditions did not prevail throughout the meeting, while form has really never been conserved since the barrier went up in the inaugural event the first day.

“As the meeting draws to a close improvement cannot be expected. It is known that to-night will witness the departure of many who will not even wait to see the Futurity run off for they figure that it will be cheaper for them to read about it then to witness it. Quite a few of the larger operators also intend to depart to-day for as one of them expressed himself he did not intend ‘to let a lot of chance takers work on his bankroll and then give him the adios.’ He was leaving while the going was good for one could never tell what may happen.”

Something not mentioned in the article but one of the “form-ful” aspects of the 1914 meeting: A gal named Regret running as the favorite in winning three two-year-old stakes races against the boys. She broke her maiden in winning the Saratoga Special, returned a week later to win the Sanford, and seven days later won the Hopeful. She might have taken the Futurity on getaway day but was not “eligible” for the race according to a news story in the Albany Times Union. Her next start after sweeping Saratoga? The Kentucky Derby. Anyone know of another horse with a more impressive start to their career?

Thanks for reading and good luck!

Filed in gambling,Regret,Saratoga Race Course



2 Responses to “Graveyard of Favorites, 1914”

  1. cainhoy says:

    August 1914. Was there ever a month more ominous? August 1914 made the unequaled horrors that would begin in September 1939 and December 1941 inevitable. I can’t help but put everything in it’s historical setting. After all, the permanent loss of innocence that came with the end of that age makes me all the more wistful for it. “Backward turn backward o’ time in thy flight…”

  2. […] better than their true odds would imply). And despite having a century-old reputation as the “graveyard of  favorites” — just ask Man ‘O War, whose only career loss came at Saratoga to, yes, a horse […]