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100 Years Ago, Latonia Jockey Reached Horse Racing’s Pinnacle

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On May 27, 1914 a record crowd gathered at the historic Epsom Downs in England for the annual running of the world’s greatest horse race, the English Derby.  The dramatic death of suffragette Emily Davison on the track the year prior and the nearly unprecedented 30 horse field drew a large crowd who knew that quite anything could happen at the annual event.

[1]  The tension mounted precipitously at the post line as the horses waited for the starter’s signal.  Matt McGee, an American jockey born and raised in Covington sitting atop of his fine colt Durbar II, stared down the track towards the outside rail and saw the crowd favorite Kennymore growing anxious for the start.  At 9-4 odds, and with Europe’s top jockey and future racing Hall of Famer Frank O’Neill aboard, the horse was thought to be shoo-in for victory, even with the crowded field.   The other rival for the title, Brakespear, owned by none other than the King of England himself, waited patiently close to the inside rail.  The 20 minutes standing at the line must have seemed like an eternity for the horse, however, as he frequently backed away from the starting tape.  The signal to go caught Brakespear off-guard and led to a poor start while the anxious Kennymore took off perpendicular to the rest of the field, racing directly towards the inside rail.

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By |April 11th, 2014|Categories: Featured Post|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on 100 Years Ago, Latonia Jockey Reached Horse Racing’s Pinnacle