“Brothers from the other side of the tracks, and across the river as well”: Brooklyn’s Dwyers

The race now known as the Dwyer began life in 1887, as the Brooklyn Derby. It was run at the Gravesend track in Brooklyn, a track that the Dwyer brothers, Phil and Mike, had helped to bring into existence in 1886.

Phil and Mike were Brooklyn butchers, their shop at the corner of Atlantic and Court, just a few blocks from where I sit as I write this. According to a 1950 article in the Milwaukee Sentinel, August Belmont was one of their customers, and one day, he offered to sell them a horse.  Her name was Rhadamanthus, and soon their specialty became purchasing horses with a proven record on the track, horses that would remunerate them with purse money, but as importantly, also with gambling winnings, particularly in Mike’s case.

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