Archive for the ‘The Great Match Race Between the North and South’ Category
Posted on November 11, 2011 - by Annie Johnson
“It was a supper of lobsters, not Eclipse, that beat us.”
— Honorable John Randolph of Roanoke
We Have Lost the Battle, But Are Not Vanquished
“I now embrace the earliest opportunity to inform you of the result of the Great Match,” wrote Colonel William Ransom Johnson to the Virginia Times from Long Island on 28 May 1823, the day following the race between the South’s Sir Henry and the North’s American Eclipse. (more…)
Posted on November 4, 2011 - by Annie Johnson
“As he took the lead what a roar of excitement went up! Tens of thousands of dollars were in suspense, and although I had not a cent depending, I lost my breath, and felt as if a sword had passed through me.” — Josiah Quincy, Jr.
The Great Match Race: The First Heat
The moment had finally arrived for the commencement of the Great Race – if only the course was clear! The track itself was thronged with spectators for a quarter mile in each direction from the judges’ box, and it was no simple task to remove the legions of fans. It took the arrival of the two magnificent beasts onto the course to empty the area.
“They were both in brave spirits, throwing their heels high into the air,” recounted Josiah Quincy, Jr., about American Eclipse and Sir Henry; “they soon effected that scattering of the multitude which all other methods had failed to accomplish.”
Posted on October 28, 2011 - by Annie Johnson
“On arriving, we found an assembly which was simply overpowering; it was estimated that there were over one hundred thousand persons upon the ground.” — Josiah Quincy, Jr.
Colonel Johnson rallied the resources of the South in the months leading up to the four-mile match, and put into training an army of five exceptional horses to determine American Eclipse’s most redoubtable opponent.
Posted on October 21, 2011 - by Annie Johnson
Today the Turf Times brings its readers Part I of a four-part series on this celebrated match race of 1823 — the story continues each Friday!
“The way in which either party managed to improve their horses was kept as much a secret as the mysteries of Isis.” — Niles’ Weekly Register
The Year: 1823. The American Turf Register and Sporting Magazine called it the “annus marabilis in racing annals” – the “year of wonders.”
The Challenge: To produce the fleetest thoroughbred to compete in the race for the ages over the Union Course on Long Island – one with such exceptional fortitude to match the prowess and mettle of nine-year-old American Eclipse, lauded as “the greatest horse for bottom and speed in America” by the New York Post.
An unusual turn of events would later be blamed for the outcome of this highly anticipated sectional contest, which drew 60,000 spectators from across the county to witness the grueling four-mile test of endurance. So how in the world did a pre-race dinner spell ruin for a crack nag in the Great Match Race between the North and South?