Watch the 1904 Brooklyn Handicap

You can watch the race, including its troubled start and one of the horses—presumably the winner—getting rubbed afterwards, and then read the incredibly detailed account of the race in the next day’s New York Times. The amount of coverage the race the got, the number of column inches, boggles the mind of the contemporary reader.

Video of the 1904 Brooklyn Handicap, won by The Picket

Excerpts from the New York Times account of the 1904 Brooklyn Handicap. Irish Lad had won the year before, but in this renewal, he could only be second to The Picket, an invader from “the West,” which in this case refers to Kentucky invader.

Reversing the order of this weekend’s races, the Belmont Stakes had been run the day before; it was won by Delhi, and on the day of the Brooklyn, speculation abounded that he’d back run in the Brooklyn. The rumor proved to be unfounded.

“The best and greatest Brooklyn Handicap ever run…

“The largest crowd that ever assembled on the Gravesend race course witnessed the contest…a record patronage for the Brooklyn Jockey Club…

“…the clubhouse being filled to such a point that the members and guests elbowed each other in a hopeless jam, and those who enjoyed the supposed exclusiveness of the inclosure were no better off than the greater mob…

“So great was the press in the stands that early in the afternoon the track managers gave permission for the gates leading into the field inclosure to be opened…

“Even the police seemed helpless in the presence of so vast a gathering, and through the greater part of the day the crowd took care of itself and reflected great credit on the good behavior and cool judgment of New Yorkers…

“The crowding and jostling naturally provoked many individual differences, and on many occasions altercations which might have resulted in small-sized riots were summarily stopped by the simple roar from the rear of the stand, ‘sit down in front’…

“When the infield was thrown open this congestion was relieved for a time, though the crowding became as violent as before the Brooklyn Handicap was run as was the case when the first inrush came, and that, too, in spite of the fact that probably 10,000 people witnessed the racing from the field, where they lined up a dozen deep along the rail from end to end of the homestretch and were scattered in picnic-like groups all over the big green oval….”

“Starter Fitzgerald’s first effort to line his field up proved unavailing, as Hurstbourne, Toboggan, and Lord Badge proved troublesome, and the starter left his box, and, walking across the track before the horses, gave final orders and emphatic promise of punishment for any rider who disobeyed by attempting to beat the barrier…”

 

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