09/12/2002 11:00PM

DRF history challenge questions


Walter S. Vosburgh spent the early years of his professional career writing for "Spirit of the Times," a sporting publication of the 19th century.

In 1894, Vosburgh was one of the founding members of The Jockey Club. For the next 41 years, he served as handicapper for all the New York racetracks, assigning weights for some of the greatest horses and races of all time.

It was Vosburgh who convinced Samuel D. Riddle, owner of Man o' War, to retire his champion when Vosburgh said he would assign Man o' War the highest weight he had ever given a horse if he raced at age 4.

Vosburgh's gift as a writer was never lost. During his life he wrote some of the great chronicles of Thoroughbred racing.

Two years after Vosburgh died in 1938, Belmont Park inaugurated the Vosburgh Handicap (now Stakes). The 63rd Vosburgh will be run Saturday.

Earlier this year, History Challenge looked at New York stakes races named for horses of yesteryear. This month, test your knowledge of New York stakes races named for people of yesteryear.

1. He was known as the "Nestor of Brookdale," and perhaps no man in America in the 19th century better understood racing law. The Kentucky Live Stock Record, predecessor of The Thoroughbred Record, called him "the best racing authority in America."

He played a prominent role following the Civic War in bringing organized racing to metropolitan New York and New Jersey.

He was also a founding member in 1891 of the Board of Control, which became The Jockey Club in 1894. Name him.

2. He was the subject of a 1981 biography, "The King of Fifth Avenue," by David Black. The author called him "an artist whose medium was money."

He was born to a poor German Jewish family and immigrated to New York in 1837. Three years later, he was the third richest banker in the United States.

He defined American high society in the late 1800's. His Nursery Stud farms in both New York and Kentucky produced some of the country's top Thoroughbreds.

In 1867, he put up $1,500 to sponsor a race in his family name.

Name him.

3. Upon the death of their father, brothers Phil and Mike took over the family butcher shop on Pacific Street in Brooklyn, N.Y. They later expanded into the wholesale meat business, as well.

With the rise in popularity of racing in New York in the second half of the 19th century, the brothers were soon buying and racing Thoroughbreds.

For 30 years, they dominated the sport, winning nearly every major race in the country.

Horses carrying their colors included Hindoo, Luke Blackburn, Miss Woodford, Hanover, and Kingston - all today members of racing's Hall of Fame.

What was Phil's and Mike's surname?

4. During the 1920's and 1930's, few connected to Thoroughbred racing exercised as wide an influence as this man.

He served for 16 years as secretary-treasurer of The Jockey Club. He was president of the Queens County Jockey Club, which operated Aqueduct Race Track, and director of the Westchester Racing Association, which operated Belmont Park.

Name him.

5. When he died in 1891, Wall Street called him a "legend." Newspapers referred to him as "millionaire and sportsman." The leaders of Thoroughbred racing called him "Father of the American Turf."

He built railroads with Cornelius Vanderbilt; was part-owner of The New York Times; and opened America's first great racetrack.

One of his three daughters married Lord Randolph Churchill. Their son, Winston Churchill, became one of the most renowned world leaders of the 20th century.

Name him.