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Great Eastern Handicap (Brooklyn Handicap) by Henry Stull
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  • Great Eastern Handicap (Brooklyn Handicap) by Henry Stull

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  • 20 X 24 in
  • $205.95
  • 24 X 36 in
  • $335.95
  • 30 X 40 in
  • $416.95
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  • $553.95
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  • 1896
    Oil on canvas

    THE GREAT EASTERN HANDICAP (BROOKLYN HANDICAP) 1895, GRAVESEND COURSE On September 15, 1895, a "New York Times" headline read "One I Love Again A Winner, Beat Margrave in a Close Finish for the Great Eastern Handicap - Ben Brush Finished in the Ruck." The Great Eastern Handicap of 1895, run over the Gravesend Course on Coney Island, produced a close finish with the filly One I Love inching ahead of the boys Margrave and Haslet. Run over the Futurity Course at Gravesend, the horses ran three-quarters of a mile and then up a hill onto the regular track. Considered one of the most exciting races of the Coney Island Jockey Club meet that autumn, the race produced a close finish with four of the 13 starters just heads apart as they crossed the wire. The finish was said to have been so close that the crowd would have accepted any of the four as the champion. The Gravesend Course was built by the Brooklyn Jockey Club with the backing of wealthy brothers Phillip and Michael Dwyer. Though not ones to fawn over artwork, they entered into an agreement with Stull to paint the winners of stakes races at the course and the portraits would adorn the clubhouse walls. Because photography had now shown that horses did not in fact have all four feet off the ground at a gallop, Stull was able to portray horses racing in a more realistic manner. Upon seeing Stull's work, however, the Dwyer brothers refused to believe that was how a horse actually moved, and that refusal caused a falling out between the two parties in 1887. Stull's paintings had proved so popular with other owners, however, that his commissions were still heavily sought after. One I Love (1893, out of The Apple, by Hermit), running for Colonel W.P. Thompson's Brookdale Stud, was an exceptional juvenile winner of five consecutive races, including the Belles Stakes, the Partridge Stakes, the Golden Rod Stakes, and the Great Eastern Handicap, making her the standout filly of the Eastern Division of 1895. The Times went on to say in the article "The race stamps One I Love the greatest filly of the year, and many believe she can defeat Requital." The filly found plenty of supporters in the betting that day, closing at 4-1. She was conceding one pound to Ben Brush and anywhere from 12 to 30 pounds to the others in the field. She was sent to France in 1913, keeping her line intact during the anti-wagering legislation that crippled racing across the United States. She later returned to the U.S. as a broodmare. Margrave, who placed, had just broken his maiden the Tuesday before the race. A two-year-old chestnut colt owned by August Belmont, Sr. and ridden by C. Perkins, Margrave recovered from his defeat in the Great Eastern Handicap to win the Preakness Stakes in 1896. He had shown such great speed in his maiden win that he was heavily backed in the betting and closed a slight favorite at 3-1. Haslet, a chestnut colt owned by David Gideon took third with Henry Giffin in the irons. Gideon had especially driven betting on his horse, at one point being the favorite in the race. Ben Brush found himself closing in the betting at 4-1 and managed to finish fourth. Retroactively named by The Blood-Horse as the American champion two-year-old male horse of 1895, he did not have it on this day. He would recover, however, and capture the 1896 Kentucky Derby.

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