The first filly to win the Suburban: Imp, 1899

Imp by Gean Smith, National Museum of Racing Collection. Used with permission.

Imp by Gean Smith, National Museum of Racing Collection. Used with permission.

On June 17, 1899, the Suburban Handicap was won, in its 16th running, for the first time by a filly or mare.  She set a stakes record (2:04 4/5), and she won by two lengths, in a field of 13.  Her name was Imp.

Imp was bred in Ohio by Daniel R. Harness, the man who owned her throughout her life; in fact, Imp outlived Harness by seven years.  Her win in the Suburban, when she was five, brought a “deluge” of offers to Harness; according to Eliza McGraw in Women of the Year:  Ten Fillies Who Achieved Horse Racing’s Highest Honor, the Thoroughbred Record quoted Harness’s response:  “’I am an old man and there is no pocket in a shroud.  Imp is all I want.’”

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