Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Urban Myth

Urban myth. Urban legend.  Too good to check.

A few blog entries back it was discussed what happens when an extreme favorite in horse racing runs out of the money.  The place and show pools return lopsided sums to the backers of the horses who finish ahead of the unfortunate favorite.

This was discussed in the posting 'A View from the Bridge.'  The legend of someone committing suicide when Twilight Tear ran out of the money in the 1944 Maryland Handicap at Laurel was repeated. The source of the legend was described.  A promise was made to check newspaper accounts of this event.

Done.  If someone did get shot in the head and fall off the roof at Laurel it was murder, not suicide.  Twilight Tear ran coupled in the wagering--as an entry.  This means that there was another horse, from the same owner--in this case Calumet Farm--running under the same betting number as Twilight Tear.  Rules of racing go in and out on this over the years, but generally, if there are two or more horses in the race running for the same owner, they compete as an 'entry,' meaning the betting result of one is as good as the betting result of the other. 

So, despite the fact that Twilight Tear ran out of the money, it's entrymate, Miss Keeneland, pulled the bacon out of the fire, and finished second.  Thus, the bridge-jumpers that were that day that were betting on the 'sure thing' of Twilight Tear finishing at least in the money, were treated to a stay of bankruptcy by the rules of racing and were paid off for place and show because the entrymate at least gained second.

The past performances show that Twilight Tear ran with an entrymate, but don't tell you who the entrymate was.  A full chart would, but finding that these days would really require some archival research.

My only regret in all this is not that I believed in something that didn't happen, but that it's too late to get to Les here on earth and tell him he's been repeating a great story, but a fable.

I'm just going to have to wait to join him somewhere.

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