02/15/2002 12:00AM

History challenge answers


1. It was not until Eddie Arcaro guided Citation to victory in 1948 that a rider won four runnings of the Kentucky Derby.

The first to ride three winners was Isaac Burns Murphy (1861-1896). Murphy won the Derby with Buchanan (1884), Riley (1890), and Kingman (1891).

Murphy gained fame as much for his honesty and integrity as for his record of 628 wins in 1,412 lifetime mounts. He was not only successful in Kentucky, but he also won four of the first five runnings of the American Derby at Washington Park in Chicago, a far more prestigious race at the time than its Kentucky counterpart.

At Sheepshead Bay Race Track in New York on June 25, 1890, Murphy guided the champion Salvator to a thrilling win over archrival Tenny in a match race regarded as one of the greatest of the century.

Like so many other riders of that era, Murphy died young (34 years old), his body ravaged by years of dieting, steam baths, and flipping (self-induced vomiting) to keep his weight down.

2. The first race he ever rode at a recognized racetrack (Hawthorne Race Course in Chicago in 1898), Jimmy Winkfield (1882-1974) rushed his horse to the rail, squeezing the three horses inside of him. All four horses went down.

Winkfield was suspended for one year. When he reappeared at nearby Harlem Racetrack in 1899, he was a more polished rider. The following year, he won with a remarkable 161 mounts.

He won the 1901 Kentucky Derby with His Eminence and took the same race the following year with Alan-a-Dale. Winkfield's 1902 win was the last ever by an African-American rider in the Derby.

He left the United States in 1903 to ride for the Czar of Russia. During the next three decades, he rode with success in Russia, Germany, Austria, Poland, Spain, and France. He later was a successful trainer in Europe.

Winkfield's visit to the 1961 Kentucky Derby - his first in 58 years - was his last. He returned to his farm in France, where he died 13 years later.

3. Born in Beaver Dam, N.Y., Shelby "Pike" Barnes (1871-1908), was the nation's leading rider in 1888 and 1889.

He won the inaugural running of the Futurity Stakes at Sheepshead Bay in 1888 - at the time, the richest race ever run in America - aboard Proctor Knott.

Barnes should have won the Kentucky Derby aboard Proctor Knott, but the notorious colt bolted to the outside fence in the stretch and lost by a nose to Spokane.

4. Willie Simms (1870-1927) won with his only two Derby mounts - Ben Brush in 1896 and Plaudit in 1898.

He also won the Preakness Stakes aboard Sly Fox in 1898 and the Belmont Stakes aboard Commanche in 1893 and Henry of Navaree in 1894. No other African-American jockey has won each of the Triple Crown events.

Simms and Isaac Murphy are the only African-American riders inducted in racing's Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

5. Ansel Williamson (circa 1806-1881) was born into slavery in Virginia and remained in servitude until he was freed in 1864.

He became one of the great trainers of his time. After being freed by prominent horse owner Robert A. Alexander, Williamson continued to train for that Kentucky horseman, training such champions as Asteroid and Norfolk.

Williamson later moved to the stable of Henry Price McGrath, for whom he trained the entry of Chesapeake and Aristides in the first running of the Kentucky Derby. Aristides (under African-American rider Oliver Lewis) won nearly wire to wire.

Williamson was elected to racing's Hall of Fame in 1998.