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The bargain colt, bought for some $7,600, has now won better than $300,000 for his owner, Joseph, the Boston Baker, Gavegnano. In Saturday's race Sammy Boulmetis gave him a perfect ride and succeeded in rating him—not an easy thing with a front-running colt. But Errard King this time turned on his burst of speed at just the right moment to pass the pace-setting Hasty Road and then hold off High Gun for a two-length victory. He returned $10.20 as third choice in the betting.
The stretch at Washington is the longest in the country, Aqueduct's claims notwithstanding. But Boulmetis didn't doubt it at all as he searched for the finish line. "Boy, that's a long, long stretch," he commented afterward, "I was looking for the wire a while before I got there."
In winning both of Chicago's big races, the Arlington Classic and the Derby, three-year-old Errard King follows in the tradition of such horses as Mark Ye Well, Hall of Fame and Native Dancer and thus becomes the fourth colt in as many years to tuck away both events. If horses like Chicago, they love it.
When you say Derby to most people the automatic word association is Kentucky. But the American Derby has tradition in its own right. It dates back to 1884 when the track opened with General Phil Sheridan of Civil War fame as president. First Derby winner was Ed Corrigan's Modesty, ridden by the great Negro jockey Isaac Murphy, the Earl Sande of his day. In the same year Murphy also rode the Kentucky Derby winner, Buchanan. Winner's share of the purse in Chicago was $10,700. In Kentucky it amounted to a mere $3,990.
Back in 1926, in the middle of the first golden age of sports, Boot to Boot, ridden by Albert Johnson, won $89,000. Johnson also rode the Kentucky Derby winner of that year, Bubbling Over. The winner's purse at Louisville was $50,075. So the Chicago race has not only been colorful through the years but it usually had dollar signs all over it.
Another bit of racing folklore stems from this race. In 1893 "Snapper" Garrison, who made the "Garrison finish" part of the language, managed to wear down all other contenders with a series of some 25 false starts. Result: he brought his mount, Boundless, home to an enormous $49,500 victory. He was a hero in '93. Today he'd be set down for life.
While Joseph Gavegnano was watching Errard King beat the field his favored entry of Night Baker and Coastal Light was defeated in the Ventnor, Atlantic City's $37,025 turf race. Punkin Vine, a $750 bargain colt belonging to G. S. Howell, showed the same relish for the grass as his daddy Vineland. Earlier this summer this then unknown colt beat Errard King on dirt at Monmouth Park in the Choice Stakes. Punkin Vine has won $54,925 in 10 starts. When bought, it was with the understanding that if he didn't win out his price of $750 it would be refunded.