Monday, April 29, 2013

Sir Barton: Three-Year-old Season

 In 1919, John Ross entered Sir Barton in the Kentucky Derby, not expecting him to win. In fact, he planned that Barton would actually lose so that the favored Billy Kelly would win. Barton's primary purpose was to take an early lead, tiring out fast Eternal and Under Fire so that Billy Kelly could take the lead and win.

 However, the plan backfired. Billy Kelly failed to catch Sir Barton on the homestretch, and placed second, five lengths behind his stablemate. Eternal had finished tenth.

 Then came the Preakness, only four days after the Derby. Sir Barton easily won by by four lengths, defeating both Eternal and Dunboyne, the previous year's Futurity Stakes winner.

 After that, Barton once more defeated Eternal, this time in the Withers Stakes on May 24.

Sir Barton after winning a race(click here for photo credit)
 Next, he won the Belmont Stakes, effortlessly defeating the American time for a mile and three-sixteenths(the Belmont Stakes was only that long back then) with his time of 2:17 2/5. At the time, the three races(the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes) were not known as the Triple Crown. They were officially given that title in the 1930s. Even so, Sir Barton is still considered the first Triple Crown winner.

 Sir Barton lost for the first time since his streak began in the Dwyer Stakes. Purchase, the first winner of the Jockey Club Gold Cup, defeated him. Billy Kelly, however, was becoming a top sprinter, and defeated Barton five times that season, including in the six furlong sprint at Havre de Grace. Barton avenged his defeat in the Potomac Handicap, despite his 132 pound burden.

 He then finished second to The Porter, and third in the Havre de Grace Handicap, with Cudgel and Exterminator in front of him. In the Maryland Handicap, he beat the older Mad Hatter by two lengths. Mad Hatter then came back and defeated Barton in the next race, the Pimlico Autumn Handicap.

 Barton made a come-back when he won the other two races in the Pimlico fall serial, defeating bother The Porter and Billy Kelly. With the three-year-old record of eight wins and thirteen starts, Barton received Horse of the Year honors

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