Franklin Brooke Voss
Franklin Brooke Voss (American, 1880-1953)
‘HAROLD THURBER ABOARD NIMBA’ &
‘HARRY RICHARDS ABOARD PEANUTS’ (a pair)
Oil on board, 14” x 11” each
$8,000. – 10,000.
Included in this lot is a note discussing initial research into the subjects depicted from noted trainer Tom Voss, great-nephew of the artist.
Kenneth Field was a successful steeplechase jockey in the 1950s and a leading flat and steeplechase trainer in the following decades. During his racing career in the early 1950s, he was invited by Franklin Voss into his studio and could pick out what he wanted. The lot here was two of the pieces he chose.
Harold Thurber Aboard Nimba
This was done as a study for Nimba, H. Thurber Up. The finished painting is illustrated on page 96 of Racing in America 1922- 1936 by John Hervey, privately printed for the New York Jockey Club by The Scribner Press in 1937. Thurber is portrayed in the silks of Marshall Field III.
Harold Thurber’s greatest achievement might have been guiding Nimba throughout her racing career. Born in North Dakota in 1892, Thurber lived and was reported as a jockey in Louisiana, Kentucky, and New York. Twice he applied to ride in Cuba. He passed away in California in 1968.
Champion three-year-old filly of 1927, Nimba had her knocks. Her two-year-old campaign had to be delayed after she was kicked in the stifle in the spring. She won her only start at two. Then over the winter before her championship season, she was kicked in the jaw and it was feared she would miss another summer. But she won the Coaching Club American Oaks, the Alabama Stakes, and the Lawrence Realization Stakes at three. Nimba opened her four-year-old season on May 26, 1928, winning the Metropolitan Handicap, pulling away from the colts. But after that victory she began to sulk and never returned to form. Bred in Kentucky by Arthur B. Hancock, Nimba was sold privately as a yearling to Marshall Field III, who raced her and returned her to Claiborne Farm as a broodmare. Her first foal was Nimbus, who ran second in the 1933 Belmont Stakes for his breeder.
Harry Richards Aboard Peanuts
This was done as a study for Peanuts, the finished painting of which is in the collection of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. That 34” x 42” oil on canvas was executed in 1926 and is illustrated on page 39 of The Sporting Art of Franklin B. Voss by Peter Winants, published in 2005 by Eclipse Press, Lexington, Kentucky.
Born in Brooklyn in 1908, Richards began riding professionally in 1924. Riding for such owners as Walter Jeffords, George Widener, and William duPont Jr., Richards captured the Belmont Futurity Stakes, Jockey Club Gold Cup, Travers Stakes, and Whitney Handicap. In 1937 he led Pompoon to a second-place finish in the Kentucky Derby behind War Admiral. That same year he defeated Seabiscuit in the Santa Anita Handicap aboard Rosemont. After retiring in 1940, he was a founding member of the Jockey’s Guild and served as the first president. Hall of Fame jockey Eddie Arcaro said Richards “was strong in character and who maintained a steady belief in our organization [Jockeys’ Guild]. Incidentally, he was one of the greatest riders of my time, the first switch-hitter in our business and the one from whom I copied switch-hitting.”
About Peanuts: “He must have had a great heart, for he had little stature; today, after half a dozen years in the stud, he stands only 15.2.” – J. A. Estes, The Blood-Horse, February 29, 1936
Foaled May 19, 1922, the aptly named Peanuts was bred by The Jockey Club chairman William Woodward and sold as a yearling at Saratoga to Robert L. Gerry for $2,100. Peanuts was a moderate juvenile, an improved sophomore, but a standout handicap horse at four and five. In the 1926 Edgemere Handicap at Aqueduct, Peanuts set a new world record of 1:48 3/5 for a mile and one furlong. In the 1927 running of the Brooklyn and Brookdale handicaps, he came with in a fifth of a second of that record. Peanuts was retired to Gerry’s Aknusti Stud at Delhi, New York.