More “Tweets” from Delaware Park, 1937

Jun 25th 2010 08:42 am |

This is one of those weeks where the best laid plans have given way to the pressures of time. So, like any good movie studio, I am going to reprise a past success with a sequel.

Last week, I posted about opening day at Delaware Park in 1937 using a column called “Fast Fliers.” The column – from a local Wilmington paper – was comprised of brief observations about the day’s racing that were interestingly familiar to the modern day “tweet.”  The “Fast Fliers” column ran every Sunday during the inaugural meeting at Delaware Park. This week, I made a selection from the “Fast Fliers” columns that covered the three weeks of Saturday racing that followed the big opening day.

Without further adieu, here is the next installment of “tweets” from Delaware Park, 1937.

July 3rd, 1937

“In the crowd one sees many employees of stores which closed at noon. They are our here to do their Saturday shopping.”

“Many strange faces here today. Out to make holiday money, maybe.”

“It is interesting to watch the expression on faces of customers as their brains try to make a decision on the right horse.”

“The sky is clear, the clouds gone, the crowd is happy, an ideal race track day.”

“Now for the big race, the Brandywine, all hands up as the nine horses get ready. It was a thriller and the long-shot boys had their inning when Esposa raced home a winner.”  [Esposa paid $26.20]

“Around the windows a lot of boys are saying ‘I had the Esposa tip but was afraid to stay with it.'”

“Then there is the fellow who took the chance and wins the long shot. We saw a fellow with a ten dollar straight ticket on Esposa and he was just about to faint.”

“Good attendace considering the fact that thousands of nearby citizens have gone away for the holiday weekend.”

“As you pass out you see thousands of tickets of the floor and stoopers picking some of them up, hoping somebody threw winning tickets away by mistake.”

July 10, 1937

“It is a hot day but the crowd is here, although so far the fans are in the shade of the stand and not out front.”

“About nine thousand here for first race and eight thousand are using hats, programs and what have you to fan with.”

“Just been wondering if the same fellow who names Pullman cars has a hand in naming race track horses.”

“Twelve thousand waiting patiently for the second race, the starter is having considerable trouble getting the ten horses to stay put.”

“A local horse in the money in the fourth race, Rosenna, copped second place, following Evening Tide. The Foxcatcher Farms was heavily backed by Delaware cash.”  [Rosenna would return in two weeks to win the New Castle Stakes on closing day at 21 to 1.  She was owned by William du Pont, jr., one of the key players in building Delaware Park.   The New Castle changed its name to the Delaware Handicap in 1955 and is now the marquee race on Delaware Park’s calendar.]

“The crowd is spread out along the fence for the big race far beyond the north end grandstand.”

“Everybody in the stands didn’t have a good word for Jockey Schultz who rode Pasha. Many thought he should have ‘done this,’ but of course, they were not riding and know more then he does.”

“The favorites took a beating in the sixth, Calumet Dick and Dark Hope, the selectors’ choices, saw the outsiders run by, Jean Bart, an 8 to 1 shot in first.”

“The ‘touts’ are busy in the crowd, especially in the regular grandstand. They are ‘helping’ the boys who ‘look’ as if the need sympathy.”

“If one were on a scavenger hunt for atmosphere, he would find it under the stand and not on the lawn in front of clubhouse.”

“Just passed a Wilmington group and one asked why do they always play slow, sad music just as we are thinking of going home.”

July 17, 1937

“The crowd is assembling early, although it looks very much like rain.”

“Mingling in the crowd one can hear all the reasons why a certain horse is going to take the big race.”

“16,000 fans have about decided it is not going to rain and that they are here for business, over $33,000 bet on the second race.”

“Those moving around in the stand are having the usual Saturday trouble getting down the aisles to bet.”

“All ready for the big race with lively betting twenty minutes ahead of time.”

“The high price boys of the fifth race are parading in front of the stand, now back to make a bet and many are going deep.”

“The Sussex Handicap for one mile and a quarter is the longest race of the meet and all look good.” [The Sussex is now run over the turf at a 1 1/16 miles.]

“Calumet Dick ran a beautiful race to take the big money. He was on the entry with Carvola and was heavily backed.”

“There was a story going around that Col. E.K. Bryson was going to fire somebody if Calumet Dick didn’t win. Nobody on relief Monday, he wins.”

Unfortunately, the July 25th edition of the Sunday Morning Star, with the “Fast Fliers” column about the final weekend of racing, has not been digitized. If I ever track it down on microfilm, we’ll likely see yet another sequel.


“Another Big Day at Delaware Park for Favorites,” The Sunday Morning Star, 4 July 1937

“Hot Races Match Yesterday’s Heat at Delaware Park,” The Sunday Morning Star, 11 July 1937

“Favorites Have Off Day as Long Shots Win at Delaware,” The Sunday Morning News, 18 July 1937

Brian Zipse – of Zipse at the Track fame – has a new site called Zatt History that is definitely worth a look.

I posted a 10 Things You Should Know about the Mother Goose over at Hello Race Fans.


Filed in Delaware Park,thoroughbred racing history

Question? Email me at kevin[{AT}]