Butler Handicap

The Butler Handicap was an American Thoroughbred horse race first run at Empire City Race Track in Yonkers, New York in 1935 as the Butler Memorial Handicap. The race was named in honor of Empire City Race Track owner James Butler who had died in 1934.[1] Due to wartime rationing regulations, in 1943 the race was moved to Jamaica Race Course in Jamaica, New York and would remain there until its cancellation in 1953.[2]

Butler Handicap
Discontinued stakes race
LocationEmpire City Race Track,
Yonkers, New York (1935-1942)
Jamaica Race Course,
Jamaica, New York (1943-1953)
Race typeThoroughbred - Flat racing
Race information
Distance1116 M
QualificationThree-years-old and up

Historical notesEdit

The 1935 inaugural Butler Memorial was won by future U.S. Racing Hall of Fame inductee Discovery. He was owned by Alfred Vanderbilt Jr. who would win this race three times, the most by an owner in its history. Other Butler Handicap winning horses who went on to have Hall of Fame careers were Assault, Seabiscuit, and Stymie.[3][4][5]

In 1942, Tola Rose pulled off a major upset in front of more than 34,000 racing fans when he beat 1941 U.S. Triple Crown winner Whirlaway by four lengths.[6] The win by Tola Rose set a new Empire City track record in what would prove to be the last time the race would be run at that facility.[7]

Hall of Fame jockey Johnny Longden won the 1944 Butler Handicap while riding with a broken foot and a back with two broken vertebrae. When Longden finally went to see a doctor about his extreme pain he was told he might never ride again. Six months later he was back in the saddle.[8]

Lucky Draw's win in the 1946 edition of the Butler Handicap marked the first of six track records he would set that year.[9][10]

The final running of the Butler Handicap took place on November 14, 1953 and was won by Quiet Step, a horse ridden by future Hall of Fame inductee Ted Atkinson for owner Bernard Heiman's Apheim Stable and trainer Kay Jensen.[11]


Speed record:

Most wins:

  • No horse ever won this race more than once.

Most wins by a jockey:

Most wins by a trainer:

Most wins by an owner:


1953 Quiet Step 4 Ted Atkinson Kay Jensen Apheim Stable (Bernard H. Heiman) 1316 M 1:57.80
1952 Marcador 3 Hedley Woodhouse Norman R. McLeod Saxon Stable (Max Prestridge & Riley Allison) 1316 M 1:56.00
1951 Oil Capitol 4 Lois C. Cook Harry Trotsek Hasty House Farm & Cora M. Trotsek 1316 M 1:56.80
1950 Loser Weeper 5 Eric Guerin Carey Winfrey Alfred G. Vanderbilt Jr. 1316 M 1:55.00
1949 Conniver 5 Arnold Kirkland William Post Harry La Montagne 1316 M 1:57.20
1948 Donor 4 Robert Permane George P. (Maj) Odom W. Deering Howe 1316 M 1:58.00
1947 Assault 4 Eddie Arcaro Max Hirsch King Ranch 1316 M 1:56.60
1946 Lucky Draw 5 Hedley Woodhouse Bert Mulholland George D. Widener Jr. 1316 M 1:55.20
1945 Stymie 4 Robert Permane Hirsch Jacobs Ethel D. Jacobs 1316 M 1:56.60
1944 First Fiddle 5 Johnny Longden Edward L. Mulrenan Edward L. Mulrenan 1316 M 1:56.00
1943 Thumbs Up 4 Otto Grohs Carl A. Roles Louis B. Mayer 1316 M 1:56.20
1942 Tola Rose 5 Warren Mehrtens Max Hirsch Arthur J. Sackett 1316 M 1:56.80
1941 Foxbrough 5 James Stout James E. Fitzsimmons Belair Stud 1316 M 1:58.20
1940 Can't Wait 5 Basil James J. Thomas Taylor Myron Selznick 1316 M 1:57.60
1939 Lovely Night 3 Nick Wall Henry McDaniel Florence L. Clark 1316 M 1:57.40
1938 Esposa 6 Nick Wall Matthew P. Brady Middleburg Stable 1316 M 1:57.60
1937 Seabiscuit 4 Red Pollard Tom Smith Charles S. Howard 1316 M 1:58.60
1936 Good Gamble 4 Lee Fallon Bud Stotler Alfred G. Vanderbilt Jr. 1316 M 1:58.20
1935 Discovery 4 John Bejshak Bud Stotler Alfred G. Vanderbilt Jr. 118 M 1:53.00


  1. ^ "Death of Butler". time.com. Time Inc. 1934-03-05. Retrieved 2008-08-20.
  2. ^ "Empire City Inaugurates Summer Meet: Session to be Run at Jamaica Course". Daily Racing Form at University of Kentucky Archives. 1943-06-28. Retrieved 2019-05-23.
  3. ^ "The Crown of Gold". Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky), page 69. 1947-07-20. Retrieved 2019-05-23.
  4. ^ "Seabiscuit Wins In Empire City Handicap Event". Sarasota Herald Tribune, Florida. 1937-07-11. Retrieved 2019-05-22.
  5. ^ "Stymie Comes From 22 Lengths Behind". Decatur Herald (Decatur, Illinois), page 10. 1945-07-29. Retrieved 2019-05-23.
  6. ^ "34,728 See Upset". New York Times. 1942-07-05. Retrieved 2019-05-23.
  7. ^ "Whirlaway Defeated In Butler Handicap". Charleston Gazette Newspaper Archives. 1942-07-05. Retrieved 2019-05-23.
  8. ^ "The price I've paid to stay in racing". Maclean's (magazine). 1958-06-21. Retrieved 2019-01-01.
  9. ^ "Widener's Lucky Draw Wins $50,000 Butler Handicap". Palm Beach Post (Florida), page 13. 1946-07-14. Retrieved 2019-05-22.
  10. ^ "Lucky Draw Sets His Sixth Track Record of Year in Atlantic City Triumph". New York Times. 1946-10-06. Retrieved 2019-05-21.
  11. ^ "Quiet Step Wins Closer At Jamaica". Dayton Daily News (Ohio), page 78. 1953-11-15. Retrieved 2019-05-23.