The Chesapeake Stakes was an important American Thoroughbred horse race for three-year-old horses of either sex contested on dirt over a distance of a mile and one-sixteenth at Havre de Grace Racetrack in Havre de Grace, Maryland. Run from 1920 until the track closed after the 1950 edition, the race usually run in late April race was a last major prep before the Kentucky Derby. For owners who had not nominated their horse for the Derby it was a chance to test their horse's ability against some of the best three-year-olds in the country, a number of which they would undoubtedly encounter in the ensuing Preakness Stakes.[1] [2] [3]

Chesapeake Stakes
Discontinued stakes race
LocationHavre de Grace Racetrack, Havre de Grace, Maryland,
United States
Race typeThoroughbred - flat racing
Race information
Distance1 1/16 miles (8.5 furlongs)

Historical notes edit

The first two editions of the Chesapeake Stakes were run at a mile and 70 yards. The April 24, 1920 inaugural brought together a field of six runners that included Harry Whitney's Wildair as well as the betting public's heavy favorite, an entry of Blazes and Paul Jones owned by Ral Parr. However, the race saw a stunning upset by a 42:1 longshot named Sandy Beal who was skilfully ridden by future Hall of Fame jockey James Butwell. Paul Jones went on to win the 1920 Kentucky Derby.[4] [5]

The filly Careful, owned by Walter Salmon, won the second running in 1921. She would earn that year's American Co-Champion Two-Year-Old Filly honors and in 1922 be named American Champion Older Female Horse.[6]

Considered one of the top two-year-olds of 1921, Harry Whitney's Bunting had won three of six starts highlighted by a win in the prestigious Belmont Futurity Stakes.[7] On April 29, 1922, Bunting made his first start of the year a winning one when he captured the Chesapeake Stakes at Havre de Grace Racetrack.[8]

Harry Whitney got his second Chesapeake Stakes win in 1927 with Whiskery who went on to win the Kentucky Derby and earn American Champion Three-Year-Old Male Horse honors.[9] [10]

Mr. Khayyam, owned by the Catawba Stable of Madelaine Austin, won the 1933 Chesapeake Stakes. A son of the 1917 Kentucky Derby winner Omar Khayyam, Mr. Khayyam won by six lengths while setting a new track record time of 1:44 flat for the mile and one-sixteenth on dirt.[11]

The 1934 Chesapeake Stakes was won Cavalcade who defeated future Hall of Fame inductee Discovery in a new track record time for a mile and one-sixteenth of 1:43 3/5.[12] Owned by the Brookmeade Stable of automobile heiress Isabel Dodge Sloane, Cavalcade was the second Chesapeake winner to go on to win the Kentucky Derby in which he beat Discovery for the second straight time.[13]

A 1936 Daily Racing Form article referred to the Chesapeake as a "proving ground" and the "Kentucky Derby Chances of Eligibles Hinge on Showing" in the Chesapeake Stakes. [14] A colt named War Admiral liked racing at the Havre de Grace track having won the 1936 Eastern Shore Handicap by five lengths in stakes record time.[15] On his return to Havre de Grace on April 26, 1937, War Admiral won the Chesapeake Stakes with ease, beating William du Pont Jr.'s Santa Anita Derby winner Fairy Hill as well as Flamingo Stakes victor, Court Scandal.[16] War Admiral went on to become the fourth horse in history to win the U.S. Triple Crown.[17]

In the 1939 edition of the Chesapeake Stakes, Gilded Knight defeated future Hall of Fame inductee Challedon as well as Porter's Mite, the 1938 Belmont Futurity winner.[18]

World War II saw racing restricted in the United States and Havre de Grace Racetrack was forced to cancel all of its spring races in 1943 which included the Chesapeake Stakes.[19] Due to the ongoing federal government's wartime gasoline rationing, all four of Maryland's major racetracks had to consolidate their races into a reduced schedule at the Pimlico Race Course facility where the Chesapeake stakes would be run in 1944.[20] The following year the consolidated racing at Pimlico continued but the Chesapeake Stakes was not held.[21]

From the 1948 running of the Chesapeake Stakes emerged another U.S. Triple Crown Champion. Calumet Farm's Citation had lost his regular jockey when Albert Snider and two horse racing industry associates disappeared on March 5, 1948, during a sudden tropical storm while fishing in the Florida Keys. Despite a massive search effort, their bodies were never found.[22] With replacement jockey Eddie Arcaro aboard, Citation was beaten by Saggy in the 1948 Chesapeake Trial that ended the colt's seven-race win streak. In time, that loss would prove to be very important as Citation next won the Chesapeake Stakes which marked the first win of a new win streak that ended in a record setting sixteen straight wins that could instead have been twenty-four.[23] [24]

The 1949 Chesapeake Stakes was won by Capot who defeated Slam Bang by a nose. Owned by the Greentree Stables of Helen Hay Whitney, Capot would have a great three-year-old campaign in which he won the 1949 Preakness and Belmont Stakes.[25] [26] He earned American Champion Three-Year-Old Male Horse and DRF Horse of the Year honors.[27] [28]

The twenty-ninth and final running of Havre de Grace's Chesapeake Stakes took place on April 15, 1950, with a field of sixteen runners. The race was won for the second time by the Brookmeade Stable with their colt Sunglow whose stablemate and Louisiana Derby winner Greek Ship finished second. Sunglow next ran fourth in the Kentucky Derby before going on to win a number of top level races.[29] However, Sunglow's most significant impact on Thoroughbred racing was as the sire of 1959 American Horse of the Year and 1977 Hall of Fame inductee Sword Dancer.[30]

Havre de Grace Racetrack was closed permanently at the end of the spring meeting. [31] The next year, Laurel Park would use the Chesapeake Stakes name for a race of their own.

Records edit

Speed record:

  • 1:43 3/5 @ 1 1/16 miles: Rock Man (1926) & Cavalcade (1934)

Most wins by a jockey:

Most wins by a trainer:

Most wins by an owner:

Winners edit

1950 Sunglow 3 Jack Robertson Preston M. Burch Brookmeade Stable 1116 m 1:46.00 $18,725
1949 Capot 3 Ted Atkinson John M. Gaver Sr. Greentree Stable 1116 m 1:45.20 $24,550
1948 Citation 3 Eddie Arcaro Horace A. Jones Calumet Farm 1116 m 1:45.80 $19,750
1947 Bullet Proof 3 Wayne D. Wright Henry S. Clark Mary Elizabeth Whitney 1116 m 1:44.80 $28,300
1946 Hampden 3 Eddie Arcaro Richard E. Handlen Foxcatcher Farm 1116 m 1:53.00 $19,450
1945 Race not held due to wartime restrictions
1944 Gramps Image 3 Leonard Bowers Albert "Whitey" Abel Dorothy Abel 1116 m 1:46.20 $24,700
1943 Race not held due to wartime restrictions
1942 Colchis 3 George Woolf Vincent G. Mara R. Sterling Clark 1116 m 1:46.60 $13,350
1941 Porter's Cap 3 Buddy Haas Tom Smith Charles S. Howard 1116 m 1:45.20 $12,600
1940 Pictor 3 George Woolf Louis J. Schaefer William L. Brann 1116 m 1:53.00 $12,800
1939 Gilded Knight 3 Ruperto Donoso James E. Fitzsimmons Wheatley Stable 1116 m 1:45.60 $12,800
1938 Bourbon King 3 Raymond Workman Duval A. Headley Hal Price Headley 1116 m 1:45.20 $12,700
1937 War Admiral 3 Charles Kurtsinger George H. Conway Glen Riddle Farm 1116 m 1:45.00 $8,250
1936 Gold Seeker 3 Maurice Peters Richard E. Handlen William du Pont Jr. 1116 m 1:46.20 $8,425
1935 Plat Eye 3 Silvio Coucci William Brennan Greentree Stable 1116 m 1:46.20 $6,900
1934 Cavalcade 3 Mack Garner Robert A. Smith Brookmeade Stable 1116 m 1:43.60 $6,750
1933 Mr. Khayyam 3 Pete Walls Matthew P. Brady Catawba Stable (Madelaine H. Austin) 1116 m 1:44.00 $7,475
1932 Evening 3 Robert Leishman A. Jack Joyner George D. Widener Jr. 1116 m 1:46.40 $10,850
1931 Anchors Aweigh 3 Charles Kurtsinger James G. Rowe Jr. Greentree Stable 1116 m 1:46.80 $9,950
1930 Sweet Sentiment 3 Paul McGinnis E. J. Scott Seagram Stables 1116 m 1:45.80 $10,150
1929 Voltear 3 Eddie Legere Preston M. Burch Dixiana Farm Stable 1116 m 1:45.80 $9,150
1928 Bobashela 3 Herb Fisher S. Miller Henderson Audley Farm Stable 1116 m 1:45.20 $9,250
1927 Whiskery 3 Louis Schaefer Fred Hopkins Harry Payne Whitney 1116 m 1:47.20 $9,025
1926 Rock Man 3 Frank Coltiletti Joseph H. Stotler Sagamore Stable (Mrs. Raymond T. Baker) 1116 m 1:43.60 $8,000
1925 Sweeping Away 3 John Maiben Roy J. Waldron Xalapa Farm Stable 1116 m 1:47.40 $8,275
1924 Nautical 3 Jimmy Wallace William M. Garth Joshua S. Cosden 1116 m 1:46.80 $3,350
1923 Wilderness 3 James Butwell Thomas J. Healey Richard T. Wilson Jr. 1116 m 1:47.20 $3,750
1922 Bunting 3 Lewis Morris James G. Rowe Jr. Harry Payne Whitney 1116 m 1:48.20 $3,325
1921 Careful 3 Clarence Turner Eugene Wayland Walter J. Salmon Sr. 1m, 70 yds 1:47.20 $3,450
1920 Sandy Beal 3 James Butwell Nathaniel K. Beal W. S. Murray 1m, 70 yds 1:45.20 $3,550

References edit

  1. ^ "Stars for Chesapeake Stakes". Daily Racing Form. April 26, 1930. Retrieved July 12, 2020 – via University of Kentucky Archives.
  2. ^ "Chesapeake Stakes Initial Test for Derby". Daily Racing Form. April 8, 1937. Retrieved June 14, 2020 – via University of Kentucky Archives.
  3. ^ "Chesapeake Prospects: Crack Field of Derby and Preakness Candidates to Clash Saturday". Daily Racing Form. April 17, 1936. Retrieved July 13, 2020 – via University of Kentucky Archives.
  4. ^ "Sandy Beal The Wrecker: Spoils the Reputations of a Band of Derby Eligibles". Daily Racing Form. April 25, 1920. Retrieved July 12, 2020 – via University of Kentucky Archives.
  5. ^ "Something Concerning Sandy Beal: Colts Defeat of Paul Jones and Other Derby Candidates Brings Him Into Prominence". Daily Racing Form. April 27, 1920. Retrieved July 20, 2020 – via University of Kentucky Archives.
  6. ^ "Havre De Grace Form Chart". Daily Racing Form. April 24, 1921. Retrieved July 15, 2020 – via University of Kentucky Archives.
  7. ^ "H. P. Whitney Wins the Futurity". Daily Racing Form. September 11, 1921. Retrieved July 20, 2020 – via University of Kentucky Archives.
  8. ^ "Futurity Winner Bunting: Makes Successful Three-Year-Old Debut in Chesapeake Stakes". Daily Racing Form. April 30, 1922. Retrieved July 15, 2020 – via University of Kentucky Archives.
  9. ^ "1927 Kentucky Derby - Whiskery". Churchill Downs Incorporated. July 21, 2020. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  10. ^ The Champion's history charts Archived September 4, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Sport: Who Won". Time. May 8, 1933. Retrieved July 15, 2020.
  12. ^ "Cavalcade Victor; Sets Track Record". Sports. The New York Times. April 29, 1934. p. 6. Retrieved July 22, 2020.
  13. ^ "1934 Kentucky Derby - Cavalcade". Churchill Downs Incorporated. May 5, 1934. Retrieved July 22, 2020.
  14. ^ "Chesapeake Proving Ground: Kentucky Derby Chances of Eligibles Hinge on Showing". Daily Racing Form. June 27, 1942. Retrieved June 1, 2020 – via University of Kentucky Archives.
  15. ^ "Eastern Shore Handicap Taken by War Admiral in Maryland". Sports. The New York Times. September 20, 1936. p. 9. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
  16. ^ "Here and There on the Turf: War Admiral Impresses in Chesapeake". Daily Racing Form. April 27, 1937. Retrieved June 15, 2020 – via University of Kentucky Archives.
  17. ^ "War Admiral". PBS - WGBH Educational Foundation. April 21, 2003. Retrieved July 22, 2020.
  18. ^ "Gilded Knight Triumphs in Chesapeake Stakes". Daily Racing Form. April 24, 1939. Retrieved July 19, 2020 – via University of Kentucky Archives.
  19. ^ "Maryland Race Meets Reduced". Reading Eagle. February 11, 1943. p. 20. Retrieved June 22, 2020.
  20. ^ "Card Chesapeake at Pimlico Saturday". Daily Racing Form. April 24, 1944. Retrieved July 24, 2020 – via University of Kentucky Archives.
  21. ^ "Gay Bit Annexes Pimlico Feature". Sports. The New York Times. May 27, 1945. p. 37. Retrieved July 7, 2020.
  22. ^ "The Ruins". Florida Sportsman. December 1, 2005. Archived from the original on April 3, 2007. Retrieved July 9, 2020.
  23. ^ "A Harford horse racing upset that stands for the ages". The Baltimore Sun. April 14, 2013. Retrieved July 22, 2020.
  24. ^ "Citation, 1-5, First in the Chesapeake". Sports. The New York Times. April 18, 1948. p. 1. Retrieved July 18, 2020.
  25. ^ "Official Racing Charts". Daily Racing Form. May 16, 1949. Retrieved May 30, 2019 – via University of Kentucky Archives.
  26. ^ "Belmont Stakes history" (PDF). May 6, 2005. Retrieved November 9, 2018.
  27. ^ "Capot Drives To Photo Win". The Daily Colonist. April 17, 1949. Retrieved July 15, 2020.
  28. ^ "Capot chosen 'Horse of Year'". The Pittsburgh Press. November 27, 1949. Retrieved February 27, 2012.
  29. ^ "Brookmeade Entry 1-2 in Havre Race". Sports. The New York Times. April 16, 1950. p. 1. Retrieved July 17, 2020.
  30. ^ "Sunglow, 17, Dies on Farm". The New York Times. June 11, 1964. p. 42. Retrieved July 23, 2020.
  31. ^ "Havre de Grace Racetrack public information plaque". Maryland Historical Trust & Maryland State Highway Administration. July 22, 2020. Retrieved July 22, 2020.