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Eddie Arcaro. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

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Arcaro, Eddie (19 February 1916–14 November 1997), jockey, was born George Edward Arcaro in Cincinnati, Ohio, the son of Pasquale Arcaro and Josephine Giancola Arcaro. (It is not known what his parents did for a living.) At birth he weighed barely three pounds, and though he was not a sickly child he remained small in stature throughout his life, growing to an adult height of only five feet two inches and weighing a maximum 114 pounds. From an early age he loved all sports, especially baseball, but because of his size he was never chosen to play on school teams. To make matters worse, a devastating sledding accident when he was twelve, following a move by the family to Southgate, Kentucky, almost cost him the use of his right leg, but the spunky youth began walking on his own even before the doctors allowed him to....

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Belmont, August, II (18 February 1853–10 December 1924), financier and sportsman, was born in New York City, the son of August Belmont, a banker, and Caroline Slidell Perry. Belmont graduated from Harvard in 1874 (A.B.) and joined the international banking house of August Belmont & Co. in 1875. Within eight years he was running its daily affairs and had modernized operations. He became head of the firm in 1890, following his father’s death. His biggest projects included a $63 million loan floated with financier ...

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Belmont, August (08 December 1813–24 November 1890), financier, politician, and sportsman, was born in Alzey, a German Rhineland village, the son of Simon Belmont, a moneylender and landowner, and Frederika Elsass. He attended a Jewish school, the Philanthropin, in Frankfurt and in 1828 began work as an office boy for the local branch of the Rothschild banking family, to which he was distantly related through marriage. He was soon promoted to confidential clerk and in 1837 was sent to Cuba to investigate that Spanish colony’s stability. A stopover in New York changed the course of his life. The panic of 1837 had just struck, and the Rothschilds’ New York agent had declared bankruptcy. Belmont decided to stay and established August Belmont and Company, a private banking firm that would maintain a close, long-term working relationship with the Rothschilds. Belmont’s rise on Wall Street was rapid. He profited from foreign exchange transactions; commercial and private loans; corporate, real estate, and railroad investments; and as a U.S. government fiscal agent during the Mexican War. In 1849 he married Caroline Slidell Perry, with whom he had six children....

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Belmont, Perry (28 December 1850–25 May 1947), politician and sportsman, was born in New York City, the son of August Belmont, a banker, politician, and sportsman, and Caroline Slidell Perry, daughter of Commodore Matthew C. Perry. He attended Harvard College, 1867–1872, graduating with a B.A. in history, studied Roman and civil law at the University of Berlin, 1873–1874, and enrolled in the Columbia University Law School, 1874–1876. He was admitted to the bar in 1876 and the next year entered the law firm of Porter, Lowrey & Stone. In 1878 he established his own law firm of Vinton, Belmont, and Frelinghuysen....

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Bonner, Robert (28 April 1824–06 July 1899), newspaper publisher and horseman, was born in Ramelton, Northern Ireland, the son of Scotch-Irish parents who schooled him in the strict Presbyterian tenets of abstinence, hard work, and faith in the Scriptures. At age fifteen he evidently came to the United States with an older brother and soon found work as a printer’s devil for the ...

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Buford, Abraham (18 January 1820–09 June 1884), horseman and soldier, was born in Woodford County, Kentucky, the son of William Buford, a stockman, and Frances Walker Kirtley. The youth left Centre College in 1837 to accept an appointment to West Point, where he graduated in 1841 next to last in a class of fifty-two. Brevetted a second lieutenant in the First Dragoons, he received his regular commission on 12 April 1842. Satisfactory service on the western frontier brought promotion to first lieutenant on 6 December 1846. The previous year he had married Amanda Harris; they had one child....

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Duryea, Harmanus Barkulo (13 December 1863–25 January 1916), sportsman, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Harmanus Barkulo Duryea, a lawyer and politician, and Mary Peters. Having inherited wealth, Duryea would spend his life engaged in a variety of sporting pursuits....

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Eustis, Dorothy Harrison (30 May 1886–08 September 1946), philanthropist to the blind, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Charles Custis Harrison, an educator and businessman, and Ellen Nixon Waln. Born into a socially prominent Philadelphia family, Dorothy Harrison attended the Agnes Irwin School in Philadelphia and the Rathgowrie School in Eastbourne, England. In 1906 she married a considerably older man, Walter Abbott Wood, Jr., a former New York State senator; they had two sons. Residing on a large estate in Hoosick Falls, New York, she and her husband conducted a series of selective cattle breeding experiments aimed at increasing milk productivity....

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Fitzsimmons, Sunny Jim (23 July 1874–11 March 1966), thoroughbred horse trainer, was born James Edward Fitzsimmons in Brooklyn, New York, the son of George Fitzsimmons, a farmer and vegetable huckster, and Catherine Murphy. In 1879, the exact site of Fitzsimmons’s birth in the Sheepshead Bay section of Brooklyn became the new Sheepshead Bay Racetrack. Significantly, Fitzsimmons’s earliest childhood experiences were filled with the sights, sounds, and smells of horses and racetracks, an environment in which he lived and worked for the rest of his life....

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Haggin, James Ben Ali (09 December 1822–12 September 1914), mine owner, land developer, and horseman, was born in Harrodsburg, Kentucky, the son of Terah Temple Haggin, a lawyer and farmer, and Adeline Ben Ali, a schoolteacher. Haggin’s mother was said to have been the daughter of Ibrahim Ben Ali, an exiled Turkish army officer who settled in England and then moved to Philadelphia in the mid-1790s. Ben Ali’s residence in England is well attested, but there is no record that he ever lived in Philadelphia, where he supposedly settled and practiced medicine. Haggin may not have descended from a Turk, but he gloried in the name Ben Ali....

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Haughton, Billy (02 November 1923–15 July 1986), harness driver and horse trainer, was born William Robert Haughton in Gloversville, New York, the son of William F. Haughton, a silk mill proprietor, and Edith Greene. Haughton’s interest in horses and harness driving began early. He was five when his father bought him a pony with a standard basket cart. Some years later, mimicking the harness drivers at a nearby track, the boy converted the cart into a makeshift sulky. His father rewarded him by purchasing a standard sulky for him....

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Jackson, William Hicks (01 October 1835–30 March 1903), army officer and horse breeder, was born in Paris, Tennessee, the son of Alexander Jackson, a doctor, and Mary W. Hurt. William grew up in Jackson, Tennessee, to which his parents had moved while he was still young, and went on to attend West Tennessee College. Prior to graduation there, however, he accepted an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, entering in 1852 and graduating four years later. Commissioned a second lieutenant, Jackson was stationed with a regiment of mounted rifles in Texas, and served in operations against the American Indians in New Mexico....

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Jacobs, Hirsch (08 April 1904–13 February 1970), Thoroughbred horse trainer and owner-breeder, was born in New York City, the son of an immigrant tailor. Jacobs graduated from public school in 1917 and worked as a steamfitter before joining Charlie Ferraro, his financial backer and the brother of Jacobs’s boss, in 1921 to train pigeons. Jacobs won most of the major Atlantic seaboard sweepstakes in pigeon racing, and in 1923 he served as racing secretary for the Brooklyn, East New York, and Queensborough Concourse clubs. In 1924 Ferraro expanded the partnership into horse racing by purchasing the horse Demijohn in a claiming race (a race in which an eligible trainer can place a “claim” to purchase an entered horse by depositing a preestablished amount before the running) and asking Jacobs to be the trainer. For Ferraro, Jacobs won twenty-eight races worth $27,515 in 1926 and fifty-nine races worth $51,580 in 1927. Jacobs then trained for Johnny Mascia and Louie Sylvestri before meeting his lifetime partner in horse racing and financial backer, Isidor Bieber, in 1928....

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Kenner, Duncan Farrar (11 February 1813–03 July 1887), businessman and Confederate legislator and diplomat, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the youngest son of William Kenner and Mary Minor Kenner. He was educated by private tutors and in private schools in New Orleans, where his father was a prosperous merchant, planter, and public official. Duncan's mother died at age twenty-seven when he was twenty months old, and his father died when he was eleven. Raised by relatives, Duncan attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where he completed his studies in 1831. From the spring of 1832 to the fall of 1834 he traveled and studied in Europe; letters of introduction and social contacts brought him twice to the Austrian court, including a private meeting with Prince Klemens von Metternich, and to a ball for European royalty given by Baron Rothschild....

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Little, Clarence Cook (06 October 1888–22 December 1971), scientist and educator, was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, the son of James Lovell Little, a Boston merchant, and Mary Robbins Revere. Little enrolled at Harvard University in 1906 to study zoology. He obtained a B.A. in 1910 with Phi Beta Kappa honors, and took a masters degree (M.S., 1912) and a doctorate (Sc.D., 1914) in the same subject under ...

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Madden, John Edward (28 December 1856–03 November 1929), racehorse breeder and trainer, was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, the son of Irish immigrants Patrick Madden, a zinc worker, and Catherine McKee. Patrick Madden died when John was four years old, leaving his wife and three children to support themselves. Working in the steel mills as a boy, Madden developed great strength and endurance; he became an outstanding athlete and captained the Bethlehem East End baseball team. As a teenager, he began earning a living on the midwestern county fair circuit, running footraces, boxing, and driving in harness horse races....

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Markey, Lucille Parker Wright (11 December 1888–24 July 1982), thoroughbred breeder, stable owner, and philanthropist, was born in Tolesboro, Kentucky, the daughter of John Winslow Parker, a wealthy tobacco grower, and Belle Owens. Little is known about her life before 1919, when she married Warren Wright, the president of his family’s Calumet Baking Powder Company. A few years later Markey and her husband arrived at Calumet Farm, a trotting horse farm in Lexington, Kentucky, which was established by Wright’s father. She would be intimately involved with Calumet Farm the rest of her life....

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Murphy, Isaac (16 April 1861–12 February 1896), jockey, was born Isaac Burns on a farm near Frankfort, Kentucky, the son of James Burns, a bricklayer, and a mother (name unknown) who worked as a laundrywoman. During the Civil War his father, a free black, joined the Union army and died in a Confederate prisoner-of-war camp. Upon the death of his father, his widowed mother moved with her family to Lexington, Kentucky, to live with her father, Green Murphy, a bell ringer and auction crier. Accompanying his mother to work at the Richard and Owings Racing Stable, the diminutive Isaac was noticed by the black trainer Eli Jordan, who had him suited up for his first race at age fourteen. His first winning race was aboard the two-year-old filly Glentina on 15 September 1875 at the Lexington Crab Orchard. Standing five feet tall and weighing only seventy-four pounds, Murphy had by the end of 1876 ridden eleven horses to victory at Lexington’s Kentucky Association track....

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Sande, Earle (13 November 1898–20 August 1968), thoroughbred jockey, was born in Groton, South Dakota, the son of John C. Sande, a railway maintenance worker. His mother’s name is unknown. After spending his earliest years in Groton, nine-year-old Sande moved with his family to a farm near American Falls, Idaho, where he received a public education into his high school years. Growing up on a farm, he came to know a great deal about the behavior, care, and riding of horses. At age 12 he bought his own pony, and when he left school five years later he quickly found work as a racetrack exercise boy....