05/23/2013 11:56AM

History Challenge answers


The questions appear here.

1. By 1912, directors of New York racetracks sensed the fervor at the state capitol had died down. Further, Gov. Charles Hughes had earlier resigned to become an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

A test case was developed wherein a patron made both oral and written bets at a steeplechase meeting at Belmont Park. He was arrested. The court ruled that since he was not acting as a professional bookie, making oral wagers with other patrons was legal.

Further and more important, the court ruled that directors of racetracks could not be held liable if they had no knowledge of illegal activity. The case was upheld on appeal.

On May 30, 1913, "Decoration Day," a holiday honoring those killed in the Civil War, racing was brought back to New York. But for more than two decades, there were no bookmakers or parimutuels. Wagering was limited to oral bets made on track between customers. Odds quoted in charts were those published in newspapers by professional handicappers.

In early 1934, the legislature passed the Crawford-Breitenbach Law, which returned legal open bookmaking.

In 1940, New York joined the other racing states by banning bookmaking and introducing parimutuel wagering.

2. When Belmont Park opened in 1905, it replaced Morris Park, which had been in operation since 1890 and was home to the Belmont Stakes.

From 1905 through 1909, the New York racing season generally opened at Aqueduct in mid-April and closed at Jamaica in mid-November. Eight tracks conducted two meetings each − except Saratoga, which raced only one -- the meetings ranging from six days to 32 days in length.

Aqueduct, Belmont, Jamaica, and Saratoga, along with Empire City in Yonkers, reopened following the shutdown. Empire City ceased Thoroughbred racing in 1952, Jamaica in 1959.
Three tracks did not return after the shutdown:
** Brighton Beach, which opened in 1879 and hosted the Brighton Handicap and Brighton Cup. The track did not race after 1908.
** Gravesend in Brooklyn, which opened in 1886 and started the Brooklyn Handicap, Brooklyn Derby (now the Dwyer Stakes), the Gazelle, and Tremont, among others.
** Sheepshead Bay on Coney Island, which opened in 1880 and was the original home of the Suburban Handicap and the Futurity Stakes.

3. Whisk Broom II, a foal of 1907, was by Broomstick, who would later sire Kentucky Derby winners Meridian (1911) and Regret (1915).

Whisk Broom II's owner, Harry Payne Whitney, shipped him to England in 1909, accompanied by future Hall of Fame trainer Andrew Jackson Joyner.

The colt raced 23 times in Britain, winning 7 times and finishing second 7 times. He captured stakes at ages 2, 3, 4, and 5.

As a 6-year-old, Whisk Broom II was shipped back to America for the return of racing to New York. He was entered in the opening day $2,500-added Metropolitan Handicap. (With no official wagering, purses were supplemented by an "Owner's Fund," supported by prominent horsemen like August Belmont II, Harry Payne Whitney, and Joseph and George Widener.)

Whisk Broom II came from behind to win in hand. Three weeks later, he captured the Brooklyn Handicap and a week later, carried 139 pounds to victory in the Suburban Handicap -- the first time the races had been run at the same track and the first time one horse had won all three in the same year. Whisk Broom II then retired.

4. To combat the threat to its sport, The English Jockey Club passed the Jersey Act in 1913.

From that point on, a horse was ineligible for registration as a Thoroughbred in Britain's General Stud Book, "unless it traced in all lines to animals previously registered therein."

Named by the American press for the club's senior steward, Lord Jersey, the act was designed to stop the exporting of horses from America and to protect the British breeding industry, which feared its bloodstock would be overwhelmed and become worthless.

Breeders in Britain praised the act, while Americans found it insulting. Horses with the banned bloodlines were said to be "half-bred" and marked with a Maltese cross in programs and auction catalogues.

The Jersey Act was amended, and all but eliminated in 1949.

5. Receiving what Daily Racing Form referred to as "a careless ride," heavily favored Rock View was upset by Prince Eugene in the 1913 Belmont Stakes - contested after the only two years the race was interrupted from 1867 to the present.

Run then at 1 3/8 miles, the race, like all Belmont races, was conducted clockwise (the only track in America to do so). The Belmont Stakes course began on the chute of the one-mile adjacent training track, went around the training track and then connected to the main two-mile track at a point we today refer to as the clubhouse turn. The race then proceeded around the turn and down the stretch - from right to left - to the finish line.