Emotion in the Test

Earlier this week I wrote in the Saratogian about the rewards and difficulties of researching racing history; Superfecta took an excellent look at the work of archivists following the disastrous flooding at Churchill Downs.

Friday, I turned my attention to the first running of the Test, the 96th running of which takes places today at Saratoga, and which was first run in 1922. That first Test was run after the Alabama and at a mile and a quarter; Nedna had beaten Emotion in the Alabama, and the Test was essentially a match race between them, with Emotion getting the nod in the rematch.

Earlier in the year, Emotion had finished second in the Coaching Club American Oaks; in the fall, she beat older males at Laurel and was second in a race at Pimlico. Pedigree Query identifies her as the champion three-year-old filly of 1922.

That struck me as odd; while she was clearly a good horse, nothing that I uncovered would seem to put her in the champions’ league. What did she do that made her a champion?

And here, we hit the wall.

The Eclipse Awards began in 1971; prior to that, “the Thoroughbred Racing Associations and the Daily Racing Form separately honored racing’s annual champions,” according to the TRA. But the earlier three-year-old filly listed on the TRA website is Unerring in 1939.

So here are my questions:

Was Emotion three-year-old filly in champ in 1922?

If so, who determined that she was?

If so, on what basis did she earn this title? As far as I can tell, she had one big win and a bunch of good seconds.

Next step: check out Emotion’s lifetime past performances and see just what she did to earn this accolade…if earn it indeed she did.

I cracked myself up with THAT thought. Yeah, right, lifetime past performances.

Not unless I want to get myself to the Racing Museum or maybe the public library, or call someone up and ask a favor. “Excuse me, would you mind digging up the lifetime past performances of a fairly obscure filly who won the first running of the Test? Oh, yeah, and could you get them to me within 24 hours?”

On July 4th on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday, Andrew Rasiej of the Personal Democracy Forum talked about the availability of government information in the wake of the civic unrest in Iran. In discussing the effects of technology on citizenship, he noted that part of the definition of “public information” needs to be that it’s “freely available online.” He posits that information is not public if it’s available only inside a government building and available during limited hours, or for a fee.

Now, I’m not arguing that whatever Emotion accomplished—or didn’t—in her life is on a par with the availability of government information to its citizens. But consider it: racing information, freely available online. I get kind of Emotional when I think about it…

Recent Saratogian articles

A profile of jockey Danielle Hodsdon, and a look at some of the owners of Macho Again, who won last year’s Jim Dandy winner and will run in the Whitney this afternoon.

6 thoughts on “Emotion in the Test

  1. Teresa, Emotion was the dominant female of 1922, according to Kent Hollingsworth, The Great Ones. Hollingsworth took on the task of determining which had been the dominant (therefore, 'champion') horses of each division prior to the advent of voting; it is all we have.

  2. Thanks, MJ–I got some info from the NMR librarian, too, that I'm going to put out there this week. That Hollingsworth book sounds like one I should try to get my hands on…

  3. According to “Sires and Dams of Stakes Winners, 1925-74” (which I snagged on eBay for a song), Emotion ran three years, making 46 starts, with 12 wins and earning of $20,271. Unfortunately, it doesn’t lay out specific races won by her, unlike the foals recorded, or which racing year her wins came in, but it does, interestingly, say that she is only stakes placed, not a stakes winner, since The Test was only a specially arranged race at 1-1/4 miles. Good stuff!

  4. Thanks for tagging "Off to a Flying Start" on your website. Looks like a great book and I probably wouldn't have found it without you.Also, we need new pix of the kitties and their Saratogian adventures!

  5. Excellent, Val! Thanks for the info–now, off to Ebay to find cheap racing books…Lucky Red: updated kitten photos to follow…they are loving their summer Saratoga sojourn.

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