I loved horse racing when I was a kid. I used to handicap all the races during the county fair. But that year, I had been paying attention to the Grade I Stakes races. And I had set my sights on a horse named “Elocutionist.” He was one of the most promising three year olds out there. This morning, I got it into my head to find out whatever happened to this fine horse. But I had a bit of a hard time finding him, because I mis-remembered his name. I thought he was called “Elocutioner.” Google really thought I meant “Electrocutioner.” I didn’t.
Luckily, I knew a bit about the horse, so I was able to find him. He was born on 4 March 1973. The following year, nouveau riche commodities trader Eugene C Cashman went looking for a colt for his new horse racing stable. He was with his trainer, Paul T Adwell. The two of them narrowed down the horse they wanted to buy to just two colts. They flipped a coin and it came up “Elocutionist.” The horse they passed on was named “Bold Forbes.” Remember that name, because it will come up shortly.
In 1975, Elocutionist was placed in the two-year-old season. He started late, however, and only ran in four races. But he won every one of those races. So he looked rather good for the three-year-old season and the Triple Crown. In his first five races, he placed third, second, and then first three times. This qualified him for the Kentucky Derby.
There were really only three horses entered who were highly rated: Honest Pleasure, Elocutionist, and the horse Cashman almost bought instead, Bold Forbes. All them them were rated effectively the same. And they didn’t disappoint. But Elocutionist was a fundamentally different kind of horse. Bold Forbes led from the start, with Honest Pleasure right behind but not challenging for the lead. Elocutionist ran fourth almost the whole race. In the final stretch, Honest Pleasure broke too late and was unable to catch Bold Forbes. Elocutionist tried to come from behind, but the two other horses were too far ahead. They finished: Bold Forbes, Honest Pleasure, and Elocutionist.
Coming into the Preakness, people had given up on Elocutionist. The final odds were: Honest Pleasure at 0.9-1; Bold Forbes at 1.1-1; and Elocutionist at 10-1. Oh, yea of little faith! In this race, Bold Forbes and Honest Pleasure fought each other for the lead for the first six furlongs. At the first turn, Elocutionist was five lengths back from third place. On the final turn, he was in fifth place. But in the home stretch, Elocutionist came on like a freight train — winning by three and a half lengths. The announcer sounds stunned. It’s very exciting:
Honest Pleasure didn’t even place. Bold Forbes came in third place. I think this is interesting, because in the end, the two horses that Cashman couldn’t decide on turned out to be even in these two major battles.
Sadly, the Preakness was Elocutionist’s last race. In training for the Belmont Stakes, he was injured and put out to stud. Bold Forbes went on to win that race. But interestingly, Honest Pleasure, who also skipped Belmont, went on to have an exceptional career and make the most money of the three horses. But Elocutionist ended his career with an amazing record. He never ran in a race that he didn’t show in. He had 9 wins, 1 place, and 2 shows. He died in 1995 after a fairly successful career as a sire.