Friday 22 June 2012

June 23, 1876

 “Yesterday afternoon the trotting race between Owen Nowlan’s big St. Patrick and R. Wilson’s Tempest for $2,000 a side came off at the Hamilton Riding and Driving Park.”
                                                Hamilton Spectator  June 23, 1876
The much-anticipated horse race, pitting Tempest against St. Patrick, took place in front of a large throng of interested observers:
“The great interest which had been manifested in the race for weeks culminated in one of the largest crowds assembled to witness it that was ever seen at any event of the kind in Hamilton. From about 2 o’clock  in the afternoon, citizens were pouring into the course, and when the time arrived for the race to begin, there must have been fully two thousand people on the ground. Pool selling conducted by Mr. W. H. Cooper, commenced about 2 o’clock. Betting was lively up until the time of the call for the horses, the odds being $10 to $6 in favour of St. Patrick. The following gentlemen were selected to act as judges : John Eastwood, Peter Blaicher, Thomas Gillespie, of Hamilton, and John Scott, of Galt, timer, J. Patterson of Hamilton. At 2:35 o’clock, the bell rang for the horses, and in a few minutes, St. Patrick made his appearance, looking in splendid condition and moving in fine style up to the stretch, driven by Mr. Pete Curran. The whole turn-out presented quite a dashing appearance, Curran being dressed in regular jockey style: light pants, little jacket and green cap. Soon after, Tempest jogged up to the stand, driven by Mr. Cope Stinson. She too looked all over a trotter and from the looks of admiration with which she was viewed by the backers, it was evident that they had full confidence in her ability to hold her own in the race.
                             FIRST HEAT
After three ineffectual attempts at starting, the horses were sent off to a good start with Tempest at the post and St. Patrick on the outside. A very nice race ensued to the quarter pole, the horses keeping about even. At the half mile, the relative positions were slightly changed , St. Patrick being about half a neck ahead, which he gradually increased to three lengths before reaching the three-quarter pole. The race was hotly contested down the home stretch. About the distance pole, the mare (Tempest) acted badly and broke, her driver unable to get her to trot again before reaching the score, which she crossed running. St. Patrick came in three lengths ahead of the mare. Time : 2:36
                   SECOND HEAT
During the intermission between the first and second heats, pools were again organized, the bets being $5 to $1 on St. Patrick. On the second attempt, the horses got away for an even start with St. Patrick at the pole. From the commencement of this heat it was evident that the colt had it all his own way, and when the quarter pole was reached, he was ahead by about two lengths, which he had increased to ten before reaching the half-mile, and which lead he maintained to the three-quarter. On entering the home stretch, the mare got down to her work and did some excellent trotting, closing the gap considerably, notwithstanding which, however, St. Patrick came in three lengths ahead. Time : 2:39.
                   THIRD HEAT
The horses got away at the first attempt, St. Patrick again at the pole. On rounding the first bend in front of the ladies’ stand, Tempest broke badly, and consequently was five lengths behind at the quarter. On nearing the half-mile, Tempest again broke and started to run which she kept until the three-quarters was reached, at which she was eight lengths behind, St. Patrick all the while trotting beautifully. The remainder of the heat was a very tame affair, the mare running down the stretch, St. Patrick jogging home an easy winner of the heat and the race. Time 2:43.
                   AFTER THE RACE
At the conclusion of the race there was, of course, the usual amount of congratulations among the friends of the winning horses, and despondency among the losers. St. Patrick was the admiration of everybody, and the opinion was freely expressed among the sporting men that he could have made the mile in 2:30 yesterday had it been necessary to urge him. Competent judges declared also that he was the finest five year old colt in Ontario. It is a matter for congratulation that everything in connection with this race passed off so satisfactorily. The judges evidently did their part to the satisfaction of all concerned. The pool selling was managed in a fair and square manner by Mr. Cooper who is quite at home in that kind of business. Pools were paid off at the St. Nicholas last evening.”
The St. Patrick victory Tempest was not the only race held at the Hamilton Riding and Driving Park that afternoon:
Yesterday afternoon at the conclusion of the trotting race between Tempest and St. Patrick, a foot race for $10 a side took place between M. Wren and T. Martin. The distance run was one hundred yards. The race was run easily by Wren.”
The only other local news story which got extensive coverage in the Spectator of June 23, 1876 concerned the plight of a young offender which came to the fore during his court appearance that morning:
  At the Police Court this morning, a boy, who had been arrested for stealing, told a rather interesting story of his wanderings up and down the face of creation for some time past. The boy, who is remarkably intelligent, gave his name as William Barnes, and his age at 13 years. He was accused by Nehemiah Cory, a fisherman at the Beach, with having entered his house and stolen a double-barreled shot gun, a quantity of ammunition and some fishing tackle. When questioned by the Police Magistrate, the boy said that he was born in Buffalo, in which city he lived with his parents until about three years ago when the family moved to Wisconsin. His father was a music teacher and his mother a dancing mistress. The former he states is in Indiana going about from place to place trying to make a living; while his mother is pursuing her business. His father and mother he states had a disagreement about six months ago, and separated in consequence. He himself had left Wisconsin to come to Ancaster, where his grandmother lives at the home of an uncle of his, Mr. Moss Dempsted. Before leaving the States, however, he had paid a visit to his father, who had bought him a suit of clothes and sent him on his way. Young Barnes reached Ancaster about a month ago, but he states that his relatives would not have anything to do with him in any way. This was pretty hard on him, he says, after travelling so far, but he searched round and succeeded in getting some little odd jobs of work with the farmers. For this, however, he got no pay, only his board. Becoming tired of this kind of life, he made up his mind to get back to his father. For some time recently he has been dragging a precarious existence around the city, and yesterday he committed the theft for which he was arrested, in order to raise money to take him home. It is too evident that the poor boy has no home to go to, and probably it is the best thing that could have happened to him that the Police Magistrate sentenced him to 4 years at the Reformatory, Penetanguishene.

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