Wednesday, May 14, 2008

History: Molly & Tenbrooks

Bill Monroe: Molly And Tenbrooks [purchase].

Tom T. Hall: Molly And Tenbrooks [purchase].

From the NY Times, April 3, 1878:

"Louisville, April 2.—Col. M. Lewis Clark, Jr., President of the Louisville Jockey Club, has perfected arrangement by which Ten Broeck and Mollie McCarthy are to run four mile heats at Louisville July 4 next, for the sum of $10,000. Two or three other races will be given at the same time. The owner of Mollie McCarthy thinks she can beat any horse in the country. The mare will be brought from California to Louisville in Budd Doble’s car, which has been chartered for the round trip, and will probably arrive here about the last of May to prepare for the contest. Ten Broeck was never in better condition than at present..."

(Click here to download the article in its original format).

From the famous song you know that Mollie could not beat any horse in the country, at least not in Louisville on July 4, 1878. Here's a description of the race, according to Thoroughbred Heritage:

"They started evenly, and Mollie led for the first mile, 'with such a beautiful and apparently easy stroke, and the horse seemingly at labor, but really annoyed at restraint, that a shout went up that she had already beaten him.' Mollie led for the second mile, but after the quarter pole Ten Broeck drew ahead, and by the time they had reached 2-1/2 miles he was leading by a length, and at the third mile he was ahead by twenty yards. At 3-1/2 miles Mollie gave up the chase, and Ten Broeck cantered home easily in the slow time of 8:19-3/4. 'Such a shout as went up over the triumph of Ten Broeck, and such a scene of wild and extravagant excitement, I never saw before, and never expect to again, outside the impulsive state of Kentucky.' It was Mollie's first defeat, in fact, her first defeat in any heat at any distance. This race was Ten Broeck's last."

[Note: Some of you may have seen a variation this post before over at Setting The Wood On Fire. It may be cheating a bit to re-post over here, but I like the story so much and it fit the theme, so I figured "what the heck...."]