Dayton Ohio Fairgrounds
The main attraction of 1874, drawing 75,000 eager fans, was the appearance of the world's fastest racehorse, "Goldsmith Maid," which set a new world trotting-horse record of 2:18.
Another 75,000 enthusiasts turned out at the Fairgrounds on June 18, 1908 to celebrate the quasi-sporting feat of Orville and Wilbur Wright's manipulating a biplane to become airborne five years earlier, the huge assembly is worthy of mention here. The brothers received gold medals from the United States Congress, Ohio General Assembly and the City of Dayton.
Doble's 1926 obituary by John Hervey
Goldsmith Maid [1857-1885]
In 10 seasons from 1867-1877 Bud Doble won 87 contested races and lost but twenty; he also started her in 27 exhibitions against time. For the decade she won $364,200.00 in stake, purse and exhibition money [a figure not surpassed until 1950]. Her total number of winning heats was 332. Her monies would be equal to $8.3 million in 2014 dollars.
"It was Aug. 17, 1892, at Washington Park, Chicago. The "bicycle sulky" had been introduced two or three weeks before, and its use was beginning to spread like wildfire. Pretty nearly every blacksmith and carriage shop in America was "full up" with regulation high-wheel sulkies waiting their turn to be fitted out with the "bicycle attachment." Those trainers lucky enough to "get in on the ground floor" were coining money in two ways: first, by the great advantage which the pneumatic tires and low wheels gave them in winning races over competitors pulling the high wheels; second, by renting their "bikes" out to less fortunate fellow-reinsmen when they were not using them themselves.
The performance in question was the first time in history that a trotter started to "bike" to beat the world's record. Before an immense assemblage, Nancy trotted the mile in 2:07¼, she and Doble receiving an ovation. The partisans of Maud S. and Sunol, however, discounted the performance on the ground that the new style vehicle had given the mare far more assistance that the reduction in the record amounted to, and it was apparent that this could not successfully be denied, for on every hand horses were smashing their records to atoms, with its aid. However, Nancy soon ended the discussion, for at Independence, Ia., over the Williams "kite" track she reduced the mark to 2:05¼ on Aug. 31, and followed this up by her top performance, at Terre Haute, Sept. 28, in 2:04, flat.”
-from Doble's 1926 obituary by John Hervey
At Terre-Haute, Indiana Doble drove his newest champion Nancy Hanks hooked to it.
The mare trotted to a World's Record [which was matched by the pacer Mascot the next day] around “The Four-Cornered Track” and newspapers across the country bannered their front pages with the time:
Although the debates pro and con began, the "bike" had truly arrived.
Doble, the trainer/driver of both Dexter and Goldsmith Maid, tried the new contraption later on in the same day.
And he won also.
"The bicycle sulky was made that day," said Geers.
Soon every neighborhood in every town had inventors and on Maple Street in Watertown, Massachusetts one such man was Sterling Elliot [1852-1922].
Thomas Edison [1847-1931] described him as "a genius" because of his improvements in transportation.
Elliot developed a great pneumatic bicycle tire with ball bearings as well as a quadricycle with a pinion steering system still in use today. After overwhelming success with his pneumatic tires, in 1886 Sterling Elliott sold his bicycle factory to his neighbors who ran a photography store: the Stanley Brothers, Francis and Freeland, who were identical twins. They used the quadricycle as inspiration for their design of the first steam-powered automobile: The Stanley Steamer.
Aye, and it's cheaper than the trolley!
The rubber tyer...
After many years of trial and error, during which time he was in and out of debtor's prison, in 1839 Charles Goodyear [1800-1860] finally "vulcanized" rubber which was no longer sticky and remained pliable in cold weather.
He patented the process in America in 1844 but was constantly in patent lawsuits in Europe. When in France in 1850 his royalties stopped and he was hustled off to a 16-day stay at his familiar "hotel" (as he called it) ...debtors' prison.
Of course the most famous cartwrights of all were Ben and his three sons: Adam, Hoss, and Little Joe.
The Romans would construct their wheels and attach wet leather around the felloes [wooden rims] which constricted as they dried. They eventually were replaced by iron strakes [pieces of flat iron hob-nailed onto the rims] that was the norm up until the 1830's.
Then the ‘strake’ method of ‘shoeing’ a wheel was replaced by the ‘hoop tyre’ method. The blacksmith makes a one piece tyre with a single welded joint in the form of a hoop, exactly measured so that it is just smaller than the wheel. He heats the tyre, which causes it to expand, and hammers it onto the wheel with a flush-headed nail, and then drenches it into water to cool it and the tyre shrinks, creating an extremely tight fit binding the several parts of the wheel together.
It was called an "iron tyer" as it tied the wheel together.
Ironically it was just a lost art that had been used by the ancient "chariot people" such as the Celts dating from 1500-600 BC.
In Troy, N. Y. a manufacturer put out a long shaft sulky with twenty-four inch wheels. It dropped the driver down behind the horse and reduced the wind resistance. They built tubed "bikes" to bring the weight down to 28 pounds. And one of the first ever built was for Joe Patchen, the sire of Dan Patch.
Dan Patch was a brown horse sired by Joe Patchen out of Zelica and was the outstanding pacer of his day. Foaled in 1896, Dan broke world speed records at least 14 times in the early 1900s, finally setting the world's record for the fastest mile by a harness horse (1:55) during a time trial in 1906, a record that stood unmatched for 32 years. Dan Patch was foaled on 29 April 1896, in a barn in the town of Oxford, Indiana.
In 1938 Billy Direct finally bested Dan Patch's record when he paced a mile in 1:55. That mark was not broken until 1960 when Adios Butler went in 1:54:3.
"We gotta test her Gabe," says Eddie. "Her stake races start in two weeks and we need to know if she can go with them."
"Well you'll find out today," adds Slim, "these two are the best on the grounds!" As the trio turns the right way on the opposite side of the track to begin their mile, Gabe holds out a fist towards Eddie.
"Hope you win it, Camptown."
Eddie gently touches his fist to Gabe's.
"Only if you don't, Gabe."
They both turn to see a large brand-new Cadillac arrive, park near the gate, as a chauffeur hops out to open the rear door. A tall distinguished well-dressed man emerges.
"Man oh man," says Gabe, "who's that?"
"That's Mr. Raymond, the filly's owner, " offers Eddie. "This is only the 2nd time I've seen him here."
"Yeah," laughs Slim, "and the other time was to whine about the training bills!"
They all chuckle. Eddie notices Raymond's wife and son remain in the back seat as a large woman animatedly complains.
"Really," huffs the mother-in-law. "You'd think he'd get a new hobby! His brother buys a horse so he has to buy a horse! How long," she adds, "is this going to take? I'm starving!"
"Oh Mother," says the wife resignedly.
"And," coos Mother as she pulls a five-year-old Richard Raymond towards her, "so is my little DAH-ling."
The training set comes up behind the well-worn starting gate and picks up speed.
"They're off," Eddie says to himself as he clicks his watch. Both Gabe's horse and Miss Stephanie shoot off the gate to settle one-two before the first turn. Slim's charge tucks in third. Eddie looks down at his watch. It reads :14 and 1/5th for the first eighth. He smiles a bit and twists his head slightly.
"She can leave," grins Gabe.
They remain a tight 1-2-3 past the half in 1:04 and approach the 3/4's in 1:35.
As they round the last turn they fan out but Slim's horse begins to falter as they
come down the stretch.
Miss Stephanie and Gabe's animal go head to head down to the wire.
Eddie clicks his watch as she is victorious by half a length.
"A mile in 2:03.4," he hollers excitedly, "that's the fastest EVER here!"
"You got SOME type of filly," says a wide-eyed Gabe.
Eddie happily turns to see Raymonds smirking to himself and looking at his driver.
"I always knew she was a good filly," he says condescendingly to the stone-faced chauffeur.
The trainer Harry Powers returns with the filly and hands the lines to Eddie.
"We got a good one," Powers smiles widely at him. "You've done a helluva job with her too."
The grinning Eddie pats her affectionately on her neck as he leads off the track. An appreciative group of horse people along the fence applaud.
"Okay," says a stern Raymonds to Powers, "when do we race for some money?"
Inside the Cadillac the mother-in-law is still complaining.
"NOW what's he talking about!?!" as she impatiently glares at her son-in-law. "Let's GO! I'm going to FAINT from hunger!!!"
She reaches over the front seat and lays on the horn just as Miss Stephanie is walking by. The filly bolts sideways from the noise and tumbles down into the drainage ditch, landing in a heap as she busts up the race bike.
Everyone rushes over to help.
"Really!" says the mother-in-law as she rolls her eyes and sits back in the seat.
Powers, Raymonds, and a veterinarian are standing in the shed row as they discuss the filly.
"Besides several deep lacerations and hematomas," offers the Vet solemnly, "she's fractured three carpals in her left
knee. They'll all heal with time but she'll never be able to flex the joint properly. She'll never race."
Powers shakes his head sadly.
"Just get rid of her," says Raymonds indifferently. "I'm not paying any more bills on her."
He spins on his heel and storms out of the barn.
Inside the darkened stall Eddie is holding the sedated filly by the head, his face leaning into hers.
"You were gonna be a good one, mum..." he whispers as his eyes well up with tears. "You were gonna be the best."
He stares off into the darkness for a minute and blinks away the tears.
An explosion to his right makes him duck and cringe. He lowers his head at the rattle of gunfire.
"You're gonna be all right," says the now 24-year-old Eddie to a wounded soldier as he puts his hand reassuringly on the kid's shoulder.
"Medic!" he hollers as he pulls the private away from the action. "And we need more ammo!"
"Hey Sarge!" calls out another Ranger to Eddie. "I thought we were supposed to be here as observers only!"
"Right," grunts Eddie, "I wish somebody would tell these bastards!"
They look at each other and laugh ironically at the sound of approaching EVAC helicopters. Eddie looks at the relieved wounded soldier, smiles, and says “did someone call a cab?”
He turns to a grinning car salesman.
"Your car's already... we just need to go in and finish up on your paperwork."
They walk into the dealership and Eddie is stricken with the 18-year-old Jeannie. She smiles as she hands him his paperwork to sign. Eddie grimaces a bit when he looks at them.
"It's H-o-u... not h-o-w," he smiles softly.
"I'm sorry," says Jeannie sheepishly. "It's my first week on the job. I'm kinda new at it."
"That's okay," grins Eddie, "this is my first new car. I guess everything is new around here."
They all laugh.
A group of men are standing in an auto parts plant as they joke around with Eddie.
"I should hope so!" chuckles Fred at a slightly older Eddie who is handing out cigars. "A new house, a new promotion, and now a new kid! Congratulations Eddie! What are you going to name him? Is he going to be a junior?"
"No," Eddie shakes his head," we're gonna name him Robert after both his great grandfathers."
"Robert," ponders Fred as he puffs on the cigar. "Bobby... y'know that has a nice ring to it... Bobby Houser."
A twelve-year-old boy in a little league uniform turns towards his mother standing by a county fair booth.
"Go up to the track and get your father," says an older Jeannie. "Tell him we have to do the draw."
Bobby jogs off and stands alongside of Eddie along the rail looking at the finish of the race.
Four billion? Yes, four thousand million years ago.
To put that into perspective: the dinosaurs have been extinct for only 65 million years.
Our recorded history dates back to less than five thousand years but Mother Earth's archives are in her rocks and on the face of the land... and under the waves of the sea.
As we watch the sea claim portions of longtime [250 years?] family-owned land perhaps we have to look at our "lease agreements" a bit more closely...
The Sagamore and the Bourne Bridges, both 135 above mean high tide [the same as the Brooklyn Bridge] that link the island to the mainland, were constructed between 1933-1935. The locals refer to leaving to leaving the Cape as "going over the bridges."
Cape Cod Massachusetts... was not only the first landing spot of the Pilgrims in 1620, it has been a favorite vacation destination for over 150 years.
"The Cape" - as it is affectionately called in Massachusetts - is actually a plethora of terminologies. Ironically, since the construction of the Cape Cod Canal began in 1906, it is not a cape nor a peninsular but rather an island.
“Harland,” she called out as the pair walked in, “we’ve got customers!”
The two brothers watched as the boy fumbled and cussed silently as he turned the chickens and basted them with a special sauce.
“You don’t like to barbeque?” asked Orville.
“To be honest sir,” the boy grumbled with a Kentucky drawl, “I’d rather be frying.”
And Wilbur, not really paying much attention, thought he had said "I'd rather be flying."
The rest, they say, is history.
And Rumor has it that when Orville and Wilbur were visiting the Lexington Trots of 1897 to witness the records being set by the bicycle sulky they spotted a booth with red and white checkered table cloths.
There, the Widow Sanders was taking orders while her son - a mere lad still clad in knickers - was cooking feverishly over a hot grill.
Back in Dayton, Ohio the Wright Brothers deviated from their printing business to concentrate more on their bicycle shop and making their own brand of bicycles.
They too paid a 10% royalty fee to Sterling Elliot, now publishing his own magazine Bicycle World.
At the old Hamtramck Track in Detroit, he said, “some inventor left the new sulky” at the barn of fellow top driver/trainer Bud Doble [1843-1926] who had promptly stuck it at the end of the shed row.
Geers borrowed it and worked a horse, Excellence, who improved by two seconds each time he was hooked to it while going five heats.
With Bud’s permission he used it on Honest George who was racing his final heat that day.
He was initially nearly laughed off the track when he paraded him but the horse won.
By July of 1892 the new bicycle-tired sulkies were being sent all over the Grand Circuit.
Twenty years later Edward "Pop" Geers [1851-1924] would tell in an interview with a New York paper how he was the first driver to try the new invention.
"One afternoon in Buffalo, as I went to go home, I borrowed a bicycle with the new tires on it," said the Silent Man from Tennessee, "and the thing nearly run away with me."
It didn't take him too long to figure out that the new tires would help the horses around the tight turns.
Scotsman Robert Thompson [1822-1873] had patented the idea of a pneumatic tire [filled with air] in 1844 but John Boyd Dunlop [1840-1921] redeveloped it in 1888.
Dr. Dunlop [he was a veterinarian] was watching his young son riding his tricycle on solid rubber tyres over cobbled ground. He noticed that his little boy was not going very fast and did not seem very comfortable.
Dunlop took the tricycle, wrapped its wheels in thin rubber sheets made of Goodyear’s rubber, glued them together and inflated them with a football pump.
That way he developed the first air cushioning system in history, and laid the foundation for the first pneumatic tyre.
Less than a year later, Dunlop’s invention made its racing debut on two wheels. It enabled a little known rider to easily beat his stronger rivals in a series of bicycle races, thanks to the advantage given by his pneumatic tyres
The bicycle craze really took off.
Now all the carts and wagons were furnished with the new hard rubber tyers [tires] and starting in the 1850's hard rubber-tired bicycles became the fashion.
The bicycle was invented around 1817 and were originally pedal-less as people would sit and push themselves with their feet.
Thus "Fa fe fi fo fum!" becomes "Behold food, good to eat, sufficient for my hunger!
The Fairgrounds was opened in 1853 and hosted racing until about 1903 when a newer fairgrounds was constructed outside the city. During that time P.T. Barnum had brought his traveling circuses to the grounds as well as The Worcester Worcesters playing baseball in the diamond alongside the Judges' Stand in the infield. In 1880 it was the location of the first pitched "Perfect Game" in baseball.
To Bike or Not to Bike...
To the Native Americans, who have been documented as being on Cape Cod between 9,000 and 11,000 years, the idea of "owning" the land was an abstract thought. They believed that you could neither own land as much as one could own the air or the water.
New England’s own Alfred T. Day [1929-1985] – you, you, you, you know “Bucky” Day – the legendary driver throughout the Northeast had over 2,500 wins and uncounted starts in his career. Up until 1976 he had but ONE two minute mile win: in 1971 at Syracuse NY with the 4-year-old mare Miss Novia Scotia in 2:00 flat. With the advent of the new sulky a 2:00 mile became as common as eyebrows. The ”modified” sulky broke the 1:50 barrier when the incomparable Niatross’ time trialed in 1:49.1m at Lexington’s Red Mile in October of 1980.
The flora turned into birch tree woods and after a century it became a pine tree forest. Within 700 years, what had been a lifeless, rock-strewn plain had been transformed into an extensive area of huge oaks, massive maples, and towering fir trees which was inhabited by the first Cape Codders.
They built their villages by the seashore and hunted and fished and lived in harmony with Mother Earth on what the geologists call "Georges Peninsula" for over 6,000 years. When their "lease" expired and the sea reclaimed its land, they moved back towards the forested islands.
Around 10,000 years ago the peninsula was divided by the sea and the eastern-most part became "Georges Island." which was the size of Connecticut and lay off the Massachusetts coast for another 5,000 years.
The highest point was over 180 feet above sea level but, as the erosion continued its work, it too was whittled down to a mass of rolling sand dunes and clam flats.
On June 8, 1892 at the half-mile Worcester [Mass.] Agricultural Fairgrounds an owner/trainer from Boston by the name of Charles E. Clark put a pair of pneumatic [air-filled] bicycle wheels onto an ordinary sulky frame and brought his horse, Alfred D, out for the race. The pacing gelding had a mark taken the previous year at Manchester, NH of 2:51 and that day at Worcester he sizzled the Fairgrounds in 2:29!
Georges Island was home to over 150 generations of Native Americans and the sites of the Indian villages, their trails, as well as ancestral burial grounds now lay under hundreds of feet of seawater along with the bones of mastodons and mammoths. It is the submerged evidence of an ongoing process.
Erosion continues as the sea reclaims what was hers once more. The woodlands become grasslands which, in turn, are transformed into salt marshes. What was once a heavily-forested peninsula has been reduced to rolling sand dunes of scrub pine and fond memories that we now call Cape Cod. We still watch with apprehension as the waves approach our cottages and land-marks and the space around us continues to go from land, to sand, to sea. Perhaps with our realization that we are merely tenants on this planet called Earth, it becomes an affirmation that we are all part of a much grander plan.
A prime example of the process is Billingsgate Island off of Wellfleet. There once was a village of 30 buildings on what is now just a sand bar at low tide. We have maps and pictures as well as the evidence of foundations but is anyone alive that was eyewitness to tell us of its existence? No. It simply was too many years ago.
Not everyone embraced the new sulky with "them fancy wheels" probably because it did cost a mite more.
This photo from Chatham Fairgrounds in New York circa 1910 shows that two different sulkies are being used.
"Why don't we get a horse now! I can help you!" Bobby offers enthusiastically.
"Right! And where are we gonna keep him? At the house? Your mother wants to sell the dog every time he gets into her vegetable garden. No thank you."
"We can keep him here! I'll come over every day before and after school!"
"Oh no," laughs Eddie. "That'll be too much on your plate. Maybe I will a few years on down the road but not now."
He places his hand on the disheartened Bobby's shoulder.
"Besides... later on today, in my duties as the President of the Little League, I have to present the Player of the Year to Robert J. Houser, the fine son of Mr. and Mrs. Houser..."
"Mr. and Mrs. Houser..."
A Marine Corps Sergeant is at attention as he salutes a middle-aged Eddie and Jeannie. Alongside the flag-draped coffin is a picture of the 28-year-old Captain Bobby.
"... On behalf of the President and the People of the United States."
A devastated Jeannie leans on Eddie for support as Taps is played. Eddie stares stoically straight ahead as a single tear rolls down his cheek, it pauses on his top lip, then continues down and off his chin.
The tear falls on a yellowed newspaper obituary for Jeannie Houser, wife of 45 years.
Eddie lets loose a long sigh as he closes the scrapbook and his head slumps.
He is now a white-haired man of 75 riding alone in a Trailways bus through farmland and just entering into Ohio.
The wheel ... ROLL `EM, ROLL `EM, ROLL `EM
Has been around since prehistory. First fashioned from flat boards, each generation has made their improvements as father passed his skills to his sons. They became a “wright”- a skilled worker/maker [wryhta in Old English] and professions such as a wainwright [wagon maker] or wheelwright [wheel maker] and cartwright [cart maker] evolved.
About 5,500 BC, the island was totally submerged but up until the 1700's colonial mariners used to stop and "stretch their legs" on the top of "Mount George" which, by then, had become just a sandbar at low tide. That summit nowadays lies under at least six feet of water. There are historians to this day that think the mariners were fabricating tales when they talk about "Georges' Bank" because most of the island is under at least 180 feet of sea water.
Hyannis just to the south, one of the seven villages of Barnstable, was their Summer hunting grounds. Each spring they would pack up their villages of domed teepees called wetus and move down to the sheltered Hyannis harbor to hunt and fish and stock up for the winter months. This went on for millennium after millennium.
Goldsmith Maid, 2:14 @ age 17 
New York, 1895
Sunol, 2:08 1/4 
I'LL ONLY COOK PANCAKES FOR BREAKFAST AND I REFUSE TO WAFFLE.
Our last Ice Age, the Wisconsinam-2 began about 80,000 years ago and ended approximately 16,000 years ago. There have been many such ice Ages in the Earth's history and each one reshapes the face of the land. For over 60,000 years winters were so bitterly cold that the summer never warmed enough to completely thaw out the ground (a situation that still exists in the Arctic Circle) and the accruing ice and snow became a glacial ice cap. It was over two miles thick and covered most of the northern hemisphere as water was locked up as ice and snow and the sea level was over 400 feet below what it is now.
We imagine that the natives had to contend with erosion back then as well. But when they, as each generation before them had done, realized that their "lease" with Mother Earth had expired, everyone would pack up their belongings and simply move further inland to establish another "old Indian village" until its time had come as well.
The sea claims back between 3-5 feet of shoreline a year... every year. It is all in the fine print of the "rental agreement" that many of us fall to read. Mother Earth also retains the right for her "mood swings" as well: she sends us an Ice Age every so often when it suits her.
The detractors wanted each record to be noted with a "k" for the kite track and a "p" for one took with pneumatic tires. The "wits" of the day said that it could also stand for "kwite poor."
The effort by Alfred D that day didn't create too much enthusiasm with the crowd but it was the first time the new bicycle tires were used in a race and they would eventually lower the times of all harness horses between five and seven seconds!
The oldest Indian trail on Cape Cod - Mary Dunn Road -in Cummaquid [Long Point] is reportedly to be dated at being at least 5,000 years old because that is how long Barnstable Harbor has been here.
The trail used to extend out into the area called Cape Cod Bay for many miles. But with the rising sea levels the process of reclaiming the land continued. The area of Barnstable-Yarmouthport was called Mattacheesett by the Native Americans -"old fields by the borders of water" in Algonquin - and it was their winter campgrounds.
When our Pilgrim Fathers negotiated their purchases back in the 1600's - a scant 14 generations ago - the natives could not comprehend the idea of land owner-ship possibly because they had been witness to a much larger time frame.
Native Americans have occupied the Cape for over 300 generations. They were part of the Algonquin Nation, a band of linguistically-related tribes that occupied the northeastern United States.
Track [one turn]
Cape Cod was initially just the point of land at the tip of the peninsular due to the many cod fish that the original explorers found the feeding off of Stellwagens Bank, one of the islands that submerged about 5,000 years ago. Erosion, the natural forces of wind, water, and time, continues its process.
As we are beings with a definite time span we are witness to a very minuscule portion of the on-going actions that have occurred since the beginning of planet Earth over four billion years ago.
Edward Franklin Geers lived in Columbia, Tennessee where they have a small memorial park to honor him. He got his nickname of “Pop” when he became a father for the first time at the age of 37 and a friend said to him “you’re a ‘Pop’ now!”
For twenty years Geers was the leading race driver of the world, winning hundreds of races and more than a million dollars in purses and stakes. In 1894 he made Robert J. the world's champion as a pacer, by driving him to a record 2:01 1/2; he brought out and first raced Star Pointer, 1:59 1/4, the first two minute horse; he won the world's trotting championship in 1900 with The Abbott, 2:03 1/4. He drove to their records sixty-six trotters in the 2:10 list, the fastest being the Harvester, 2:01, the champion trotting stallion of his day (1910) and he also gave their best records to sixteen pacers in the 2:05 list.
At Toledo, Ohio, in 1918 he won the first race in history in which all the heats were paced below 2:00 with Single G, “the horse that time forgot.”
A Giant Appetite... made popular in the folklore of Jack the Giant Killer.
Fe, Fi, Fo, Fum.
I smell the blood of an Englishman,
Be he living, or be he dead,
I’ll grind his bones to mix my bread!
"Fa fe fi fo fum" is actually a coherent phrase of ancient Gaelic, and that the complete quatrain covertly expresses the Celts' cultural detestation of the invading Angles and Saxons from across the North Sea that occurred in the 5th century A.D.
Fa from faich (fa!) "behold!" or "see!"
Fe from Fiadh (fee-a) "food";
Fi from fiú "good to eat"
Fo from fogh (fó) "sufficient" and
Fum from feum "hunger".
The explosion of speed of 1976 was when the modified sulky was put into use. There were debates as to which manufacturer's bike was the best but it all came down to that they all were better. Up until that year besting a 2:00 mile was the hallmark of excellence in the sport and they were each recorded individually in the USTA yearbooks beginning with Star Pointer's initial mile of 1:59 1/4 at Readville, Massachusetts in 1897.
At first the outwash plain was bare ground - much like an old river bed - consisting of sand, rocks, boulders, and gravel. With the warming weather lichen and underground plants took root. After about 75 years the landscape sported grasses and started to become tundra & the small brush attracted birds and numerous animals that foraged on the vegetation. The rolling fields of tall grasses and bushes were inhabited by the mammoths and elks and wild horses that in turn attracted man.
A down and out trainer finally goes to the doctor and gets some tests done. He returns a week later to get the results.
He slowly walks up to the receptionist, a cute bubbly 23-year-old, that flashes her eyes and adjusts her tight cashmere sweater with a smile.
"Hi," she chirps, "my name is Cheyenne and how may I help you?"
"I'm here to get my test results," bemoans the guy.
"Why certainly," she says as she snaps her bubble gum at him, "go right in... he's been expecting you."
The trainer shuffles his way into the examination room.
"Joe," begins the Doctor, "I've got good news and bad news for you..."
"Dammit Doc," says Joe, "I'm been feeling like crap for months. Give me the bad news!"
"Okay Joe," says the Doc. "You've got a problem that'll only be corrected with an 8-hour surgery. Your recovery time will be months long and very, very painful."
"Oh Jeez," moans Joe.
"On top of it all there's no guarantee that it will be successful."
"And the even worse part is that, due to the new regulations and changes in health insurance, you've missed the cut-off date to apply by 5 days. None of this will be covered!"
"What the hel..." groans Joe. "Then WHAT is the damn GOOD news!?!
"See Cheyenne out there?" nods the doctor. "We're going to the Barbados for a month next Saturday."
Massachusetts' was quite different than the familiar shape of today. It was once a land mass that extended for another 60 miles to the south and over 125 miles out into the Atlantic. It contained over 35,000 square miles which is more than the area of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire combined.
As the weather warmed and the Seasons became distinctive once more, the glacier melted and the sea level rose. It probably was noticeable during one's lifetime at first but, as the rate modified to only increasing about a foot every thirty six years or so, it went unobserved. The land was clear of glacial ice about 15,000 years ago.
It is on a warm spring day in 1960 at a small fairgrounds outside of Hamilton, Ohio as a young 16-year-old Eddie Houser is proudly leading a good-looking three-year-old filly up to the track for her training trip. Good-natured ribbing comes from the barns as he goes by: "Hey Eddie, d'ya really think she's gonna whup the boys today?"
"Remember... they don't give out any trophies for these training miles!"
Eddie just smiles bashfully and waves at them dismissingly. He whispers to the filly. "You train good Steph and I'll sing you a song," as he quietly begins. "Camptown races sing this song: doo dah, doo dah..."
Miss Stephanie's eyes sparkle.
Gabe Taylor, a 20-year-old Black groom wearing a green felt hat, leads his charge up from another barn and calls out: "Hey Camptown! When you gonna learn to sing!?!"
Eddie turns and laughs. "As soon as you get a new hat!"
"I told ya," counters Gabe. "I buy these things by the dozen... they're good luck!"
They both stop at the gate as another horse is being lead up to the track by Slim, a tall expressionless man.
"And you better go get one," Gabe jokes with Eddie, "if you think your filly can beat these two. We both just win at Lebanon last week. And my boy done took the Junior Invitational!"
"We gotta do the draw Dad," says Bobby.
"Which one, smiles Eddie, "The Sons of the Pioneers' meat raffle or the Church Bake Sale?"
They both turn and and walk back towards the midway. Eddie stops and looks at several horses being led off the track.
"You really love them, don't you Dad," asks the observant young Bobby.
"Oh yeah. Always have. I was even thinking of getting my trainers' license but, well, things happen and life changes."