09/13/2002 12:00AM

DRF history challenge answers


1. David Dunham Withers (1820-1892) was a New Orleans banker who came to New York in 1866. He played a prominent role in the development of Jerome Park, considered America's first organized racetrack.

In 1871, Withers bought Brookdale Farm near Red Bank, N.J., and turned it into what one publication called "the model stud farm of the country."

He had moderate success as a breeder and owner, but was most prominent in turf circles as a racing official and director of Jerome Park in New York and the old Monmouth Park in New Jersey.

The Withers Stakes was inaugurated at Jerome Park in 1870 and was run for the 123rd time this year on May 4.

2. The American Jockey Club was organized in New York in 1866 and August Belmont (1813-1890) was elected president. He served in that capacity until his death.

The American Jockey Club built Jerome Park and, in 1867, Belmont put up $1,500 to sponsor a race that bore his family name. It was two years before a horse he owned won the race. Fenian won the 1869 Belmont Stakes, with another Belmont-owned colt, Glenelg, finishing second.

Fifteen years after Belmont's death, the racetrack that today bears his name was opened on Long Island.

Belmont's son, Major August Belmont II, took over for his father and enjoyed even greater success in racing. Major Belmont was chairman of The Jockey Club from its inception in 1894 until his death in 1920.

Major Belmont also bred the 20th century's greatest horse, Man o' War.

The Belmont Stakes was run for the 134th time this year on June 8.

3. Legend has it that Philip J. Dwyer (1843-1917) and Michael F. Dwyer (1845-1906) got into racing at the suggestion of a customer at their Brooklyn butcher shop - August Belmont.

Before the brothers went their separate ways in 1890, they had won nearly every major prize the sport had to offer.

Phil and Mike built Gravesend Race Track in 1886 in Brooklyn and inaugurated some of the major stakes that are still run today.

Mike's heavy gambling eventually led him to poor health and financial ruin. Phil continued to operate Gravesend until it closed its doors in 1910. He also was president of Aqueduct Race Track from 1905 until his death in 1917.

A year after Phil died, the name of the Brooklyn Derby was changed to the Dwyer Stakes. (It was also the Dwyer Handicap for many years.)

The 85th running of the Dwyer was contested July 7 this year.

4. John Elliott Cowdin (1858-1941) was one of only a handful of remaining original members of The Jockey Club when he died.

A graduate of Harvard, Cowdin was a world-recognized polo player. His love for horses led to his involvement in all phases of racing, including steeplechasing.

As the track's president, he oversaw a major overhaul of Aqueduct in 1940. The stands were rebuilt and

the course was shortened from a 1 1/4-mile oval to one mile.

The year Cowdin died, Aqueduct changed the name of its Junior Champions Stakes for 2-year-olds to the Cowdin Stakes.

The 80th running of the Cowdin is scheduled for Oct. 13 at Belmont Park.

5. On March 7, 1891, The Kentucky Live Stock Record stated that Leonard Jerome (1818-1891) "has done more to make the turf popular in the East than any other man."

He built Jerome Park and was instrumental in the opening of the Coney Island Jockey Club at Sheepshead Bay.

Jerome loved money, women, yachts, and horses - and he was noted for having plenty of each.

The Jerome Stakes (now Handicap) was inaugurated in one-mile heats in 1866. It became the Champions Stakes a year later. The original name was restored in 1872.

The Jerome Handicap was to be run at Belmont Park for the 134th time on Saturday.