Friday, May 17, 2013

Count Fleet: Two-Year-Old Season

 When a chestnut colt bit another horse during a race in the summer of 1927, John Hertz became interested in it. He soon bought the spirited young horse. Reigh Count, the colt, became rather successful the next year, winning the Kentucky Derby and Horse of the Year honors. Later, he was retired to stud. At first, when he failed to produce promising offspring, Hertz limited the number of mares he could breed with to four each year.

 In 1937, Hertz bought a mare named Quickly, who had won thirty-two out of eighty-five races, all of them in sprints. Furthermore, she was related to an English stallion known as The Tetrarch. On March 24, 1940, she produced a brown colt that proved difficult to handle. Hertz put him up for sale as a yearling, but no one was interested in such an ill-mannered colt. Only one man thought the horse was worth it: Sam Ramsen, a stablehand. He talked with the manager, insisting that the colt would one day be a fine racer, especially because of his long legs.

 Hertz decided to keep the colt. However, it didn't have as much to do with what Ramsen had said as it did with the lack of buyers. The colt--Count Fleet--was sent to trainer Don Cameron. During his first race, which was at Belmont, Count Fleet bumped into another horse, and ended up coming second. when the same thing happened in his next race, he was once more put up for sale.

 Johnny Longden, the colt's jockey, thought highly of Count Fleet. When he told that to Hertz, however, Hertz said, "The colt's dangerous. Someday I'm afraid he'll do you serious injury."

 "I'm not afraid," Longden replied. Once more, Hertz decided to keep the colt.

 Count Fleet won his third race, a five and a half furlongs long one, by four lengths in 1:06. In his next race, he ran the same distance a fifth second faster. After that, he raced in the East View Stakes, but lost to Gold Shower, adding to his list of seconds. Count Fleet then won the Wakefield Stakes, with Gold Shower third. Next, he raced in the Washington Park Futurity, getting caught in traffic early on. Amazingly, he managed to get out of the pack, catching the colt Occupation, but losing by a neck.

 Next on his long list of losses was the Tremont Stakes, where he lost to Supermont. He then won two races. After that, he went to get revenge for his loss to Occupation. Unfortunately, his victory remained out of his grasp, and he placed third behind the filly Askmenow.

Count Fleet, ridden by Johnny Longden(photo credit)
 Then, after winning the Champagne Stakes by six lengths with a track record time of 1:34 4/5, Count Fleet once more attempted to defeat Occupation, this time in the Pimlico Futurity. Occupation led for the first five furlongs, but Count Fleet soon caught up to him. Count Fleet won by five lengths, equalling the track record of  1:43 3/5. Finally, In the Walden Stakes, he won by an incredible thirty lengths! It seemed as if he had stolen Occupations championship honors.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for reading this post! I love to hear from and interact with my readers; it's what makes blogging worth it, so please comment and let me know what you think.