Pedigree Query

Sir Archy stuff
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Author:  steward [ Sun Mar 05, 2017 6:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Sir Archy stuff

I subscribe to multiple paid newspaper archive sites. They augment the research I do on "vintage" Thoroughbred notables.

Regarding Sir Archy:

1. I have determined the dates for all of his races, except his "first" one and last one.
2. He has one more race than is typically credited. On a pay site, I discovered a race at Williamsborough, NC, on June 2, 1809. William R. Johnson (who had raced his Don Quixotte the day before) entered "Sir Archer" for a 2-mile heat purse. Sir Archy finished first, defeating only one competitor, "Mr. Branch's bay mare" in the minimum two heats. This race fit in chronologically with the rest of his spring schedule.
3. The accepted narrative is that Sir Archy opened his career with a 3yo sweepstakes at the National Course in Washington, D.C. (losing to Bright Phoebus), and later went to Fairfield in Richmond. This is bass ackwards. The Richmond and Petersburg courses typically ran in early October, while the National Course ran during the last week in that month. I have formed a database that records this pattern. Sir Archy ran on October 3rd, 1808, in Fairfield. Moreover, I have been able to locate a partial record of the National Course in 1808, but nothing containing the 3yo sweepstakes. (On October 25, Dugannon, Post Boy, and Sir Solomon ran and on 10/26 Maid of the Oaks ran, but nothing for the 3yos could be found.) I suspect that the memories of his owners/handlers were simply defective, not an unusual happening according to my other research.
4. His last race was at Scotland Neck in NC. Newspaper records of that meeting could not be found. Typically, Scotland Neck ran its meeting in the second week of November, according to the pattern.

So here are his PPs, according to my opinion:

10 3 1808 Fairfield (lost to True Blue)
10 ? 1808 National Course (lost to Bright Phoebus)
5 3 1809 Fairfield (beat Tom Tough, Minerva and others)
5 10 1809 New Market (lost to Wrangler, but beat Wynn's Gallatin and Rattray)
6 2 1809 Williamsborough (see above)
10 4 1809 Fairfield (beat Wrangler and Rattray)
10 18 1809 New Market (beat Wynn's Gallatin)
11 9 1809 (approximate date) Scotland Neck

Author:  steward [ Mon Mar 06, 2017 4:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Sir Archy stuff

I found the date of the second race in the post above: October 27, 1808.

It was a race open to 3 and 4 year old colts and fillies. Joshua Bond's 4 yo Bright Phoebus was the winner in three two-mile heats. There was no elaboration on what the also rans did.

Author:  steward [ Tue Mar 07, 2017 10:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sir Archy stuff

Regarding his final race at Scotland Neck: I found a news article which placed it in the second week of November 1809. It was the opening day of the program. (Like for most meetings, the best horses ran on the first or second day for the jockey club purse at 3 or 4 mile heats, and the winner would be barred from further competition later that week.)

Most meetings tended to open up on Tuesdays, but the important ones often opened on Monday, while smaller tracks did it on Wednesdays. My best guess for Sir Archy that week would be Tuesday, and possibly Wednesday. In other words, November 7th most likely. Possibly November 8th, given that Scotland Neck was not one of the biggies.

It would take more searching of newspaper archives not online to actually nail it down, imo.

Author:  steward [ Tue Jun 13, 2017 9:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sir Archy stuff

Castianira, Sir Archy's dam, was supposedly "trained unsucessfully" in England, according to her importer John Tayloe. (Whether that meant she did or did not run is unknown to me.) She came to America in 1799.

However, she ran once in the US. On May 20, 1800 she won at the Fairfield course in Richmond. Then she was put into the stud.

Author:  steward [ Mon Jul 10, 2017 7:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sir Archy stuff

I have just finished the Blanchard and Wellman biography of "Sir Archie." On page 187 was this sentence for which there was no elaboration. It referred to old documents that Blanchard ran across in her research:

"Several persons wrote the name 'Sir Archer.' and some so write it today."

Author:  steward [ Sat Jul 29, 2017 1:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Sir Archy stuff

I did not realize that the childhood home of William Ransom Johnson was still in existence. A half mile south of the southern city limits of Warrenton, NC. On the west side of Highway 401. ... a=!3m1!1e3

It was here that Sir Archy was brought in the fall of 1808 to winter over. The Warrenton Course was on the property. The list of racers who ran there reads like a Who's Who of early 19th Century sport. Timoleon, Snap Dragon, Wilkes' Wonder, Sir Hal, Virginian, Carolinian, Sir Charles, John Richards, Sally Walker, Polly Hopkins, Sue Washingon, Tar River ... incredible. ... 9f9ab.html

Author:  steward [ Mon Jul 31, 2017 7:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sir Archy stuff

Sir Archy last raced in early November in Scotland Neck. He was sold shortly afterwards for $5,000. Years later there was always the opinion that, in retrospect, William R. Johnson sold him far too cheaply. It is often repeated.

However, at the time it was a screaming deal for him, imo. It made perfect economic sense. Sure, Johnson could have speculated that SA could turn out to be one of the best sires of all time, but that would have been a longshot.

Here are the economic realities. Sir Archy was facing two problems. He had arrived during a lull in the quality of Thoroughbred talent. (I base that upon my study before and after.) It's quite possible that the next best consistent racer was his stablemate, Don Quixotte. That situation did not lend itself to arrangement of match races, as the subsequent buyer found out soon afterward. Also, some of the more lucrative races required 3 or more starters to fill. It had the potential to reduce the number of opportunities for SA in the future.

Moreover, the country was in the teeth of its second economic pullback in 5 years. Current economists call it a depression: ... ted_States

For the most part, Sir Archy was running for relative peanuts. For example, the race in June had been worth $125. The race at Newmarket was toward the top of the scale at $350. The prize for his last race is unknown, but it probably was for less. His last race was toward the end of the racing season. On paper, there was one more possibility in Johnson's hometown of Warrenton, but the biggest purse advertised was $250. In addition, it might have caused a cancellation, leaving operator Robert Johnson's program high and dry with a hole in the middle of it.

And this discussion would not be complete without a mention of the increasing trade frictions with Great Britain, leading up to the War of 1812 in less than 3 years.

Context is everything.

Author:  steward [ Tue Sep 04, 2018 8:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Sir Archy stuff

I have continued to research Sir Archy's races off-and -on since the last post. In the interim I have compiled a 28 page booklet that contains reprints of the newpaper articles for all of his races. In addition. I included advertisements for six of the meetings where he raced. (I have not been able to locate any for the other two races.)

There are only a few minor gaps in the information. However, I found data that makes it absolutely certain that Sir Archy ran at Williamsboro in June 1809 and that he won. The clincher was an 1811 stud advertisement during the year that William R. Johnson controlled his breeding. In that ad is a compilation of all of his races in 1809 when Johnson also owned and raced him. Yes, one of them was at Williamsboro. It is perfectly obvious that Johnson himself composed the information for that ad, removing all doubt about Williamsboro.

I have only printed one copy ... an earlier version ... and sent it to the National Museum of Racing. It has sat on it and did not even acknowledge the receipt of it. I have had that happen to me before by them, after sending them primary source material that corrected history. I'm not sure how much importance that they put on actual history there anymore.

Author:  steward [ Sat Jul 17, 2021 12:18 am ]
Post subject:  Woo hoo! Research accepted by HoF

It's taken awhile but the National Museum of Racing finally has accepted my irrefutable evidence that Sir Archy ran 8 times and won 5. ... r-archy-va

Author:  MaresRest [ Sat Jul 17, 2021 4:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sir Archy stuff

Way to go, steward! The Thoroughbred sport is improved when tenacious researchers explore our past and share insights with current and future fans.

Author:  steward [ Wed Jul 21, 2021 11:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sir Archy stuff

1) BTW, if any member here wants a pdf copy of my 28-page booklet which features Sir Archy's race details, just private message me. I'll email. It might take a day or two, since I do not check every day. Please be patient because I eventually WILL respond.

2) Sir Archy's wikipedia entry is in serious error, based upon disproved material.

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