THE OUTSIDE RAIL | by Joe Clancy

Temple Gwathmey...a person and a race

Posted by on in The Outside Rail

First of all, it’s not a church. The Temple Gwathmey is a steeplechase horse race with a big trophy and a history dating back almost 90 years. Aqueduct, Belmont Park and Pennsylvania’s famed Rolling Rock meet hosted runnings. Middleburg now plays host, with a field of 11 signed on for today’s running.

The race takes its name from two men with long pasts in American racing. James Temple Gwathmey Sr. was an owner and amateur jockey in the late 1800s and early 1900s. He raced in a partnership called Mr. Cotton, named for Gwathmey's business interests in the cotton industry. Gwathmey became president of the New York Cotton Exchange.

First run in 1924, the race was created as a memorial to Gwathmey, but it took on special meaning eight years later. Gwathmey's son James Temple Jr. also became a jockey and died in a fall at the 1932 Monmouth County Hunt Races in New Jersey. He was just 23. 

The historic race counts such winners as Flatterer, Zaccio, Warm Spell, Lonesome Glory, Rowdy Irishman and others on its honor roll. Further back in history, Fairmount, Neji, Benguala, Bon Nouvel and Amber Diver appear on the trophy.

Joe Clancy started his journalism career at the University of Delaware in 1986 or so, with a first byline about the presidential bid of Pete du Pont (the campaign obviously did not go well). Since then, he's covered high school sports, college sports, semi-pro baseball, the lifeguard Olympics, a pumpkin chunking competition, the odd Phillies and Orioles games and any number of topics involving Thoroughbred racing – for The Saratoga Special, Steeplechase Times, Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred, Daily Racing Form, The Irish Field and others. He's been published in the New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Baltimore Sun. He won the Eclipse Award and the David F. Woods Award for his coverage of the 2014 Preakness Stakes and is a multiple recipient of American Horse Publications awards for excellence. He is a writer, editor, publisher and owner of ST Publishing, Inc., parent company of the Internet site. He lives in Fair Hill, Md. with his wife Sam, sons Ryan, Jack and Nolan, but can be found wherever horses run.


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Guest Tuesday, 24 January 2017