Goldsmith Not, Apparently, “Special” Enough

A two-year-old owned by a prominent member of the racing community wins a bevy of stakes races. A physical setback keeps him away from the track, and though he returns to the races, he never quite regains his earlier form, and he is retired to stud at the end of his four-year-old season.  At six, he returns to the track, racing 19 times, more than his first three years on the track combined, and races until he’s eight, when he enters a second retirement.

After being off the track at nine and ten, he comes back at 11, making 16 starts for a record of 3-1-2, earning $360.

By the time of his third, and final, retirement, he’d raced 80 times and earned $52,151, from a record of 12-15-14 (DRF)

If you think that the good old days of racing were actually good, and that home-bred horses were taken care of until the end of their days by their affluent owners, you’ve probably never heard of Goldsmith.

He was owned by William Collins Whitney, the man who ran Saratoga Race Course at the turn of the last century, widely credited with rescuing the track from the hands of irresponsible management and returning it to prominence.

At two, Goldsmith won the very first Saratoga Special, beating the impressive Blue Girl; he also won the Flash Stakes at Saratoga and the Junior Champion Stakes at Gravesend. He was second in three other stakes races, including the Grand Union Hotel at Saratoga.

According to a 1910 Daily Racing Form article, Goldsmith—“one of the splendid band of two-year-olds raced by William C. Whitney”—fell ill in the winter after his début, and was “so affected by it that he was not able to fulfill the promise of his brilliant two-year-old racing.”

He was winless at three from just four starts; he raced four times at four for a record of 1-1-1.

At some point, the DRF tells us, Goldsmith— an “equine aristocrat”– was sold.

After being sold from the Whitney stable [Goldsmith] was in obscurity for a time, but turned up at New Orleans in 1905-6 and ran respectably. Last winter he was raced at Tampa and won three little purses. He is a grandly-bred horse and should be in some breeder’s possession.

And then, it seems, Goldsmith became one of those horses that today puts us on alert: a former stakes winner, dropping down in conditions, passing from hand to hand. A February 1910 article reports that Goldsmith returned to racing after a season at stud, observing that he showed “more than a flash” of his “first greatness.”

Racing reports placed Goldsmith mostly in Florida, with an occasional foray to another track; in April of 1910, he appears to have been claimed by an E. Corrigan for a higher price than the one for which he was entered.  A month later, he was purchased by James R. Hand. The notice of the sale refers to Goldsmith as a “highly-regarded stallion” who would be shipped to Oklahoma for stud duty.

By February of 1912, Goldsmith had left Oklahoma for Hand’s farm in South Dakota, where he was scheduled to be bred to about 35 mares.

Mr. Hand expects great things of Goldsmith as a sire…Trainer J.R. Hand…has an idea that South Dakota will some day figure as a center in the Northwest for high-class thoroughbred stock. Mr. Hand says that the Slade ranch near Hudson, South Dakota has as much to recommend it for the successful breeding of thoroughbreds as a bluegrass farm in Kentucky.  (DRF)

Unfortunately, it seems that neither of Hand’s expectations – of Goldsmith as a great sire, or of South Dakota as a breeding center – came to pass.

Hand died of accidental asphyxiation in Chicago in February 1913; his obituary in the Racing Form notes that Goldsmith was still at the South Dakota farm.

Goldsmith’s trail ended for me there, other than a Pedigree Query notation that he died in 1928.  It seems that for a good part of his life, at least, he was valued and, we can hope, well-cared for, though long periods of his 29-year life are unaccounted for.

Which is, dismayingly, all too similar to stories with which we are all far too familiar, a century later.


Quoted and consulted

Earnings of eight veteran equine aristocrats.” Daily Racing Form, August 7, 1910.

Goldsmith at Pedigree Query.

Goldsmith Bid Up By E. Corrigan.” Daily Racing Form,  April 1, 1910.

Gossip From Kentucky Training Grounds.” Daily Racing Form, February 13, 1910. (Goldsmith’s comeback)

Horses Recently Retired From Racing.”  Daily Racing Form, April 24, 1924 (Goldsmith’s race record)

Injury Takes Moctezuma Stakes.” Daily Racing Form, February 27, 1912 (Goldsmith’s stud career)

James Hand Dies In Chicago.” Daily Racing Form, February 22, 1913.

Newcomers Enliven Things At Tampa.” Daily Racing Form, February 20, 1910. (Goldsmith as “medium of a betting coup.”)

New York Circuit Harness Races; Colts In The Futurity.” New York Times, August 13, 1901.

No Extension of Tampa Meeting.” Daily Racing Form, February 23, 1910. (mention of Goldsmith at the meet)

Patronage Is Generous.” Daily Racing Form, May 24, 1910. (purchase of Goldsmith)

Racers ‘Come Back’ Only Occasionally.” Daily Racing Form, October 1, 1910.

Whitney Colt Was First.” New York Times, September 18, 1901. (Junior Champion Stakes win)

Whitney Won Big StakesNew York Times, August 11, 1901. (Saratoga Special win)






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