Henry Stull (American, 1851-1913)
DOBBINS, THE RACE HORSE, WITH JOCKEY UP
Oil on canvas, 20” x 28”
Signed, dated 1893
$15,000. – 20,000.
The Greenwich Gallery, Greenwich, Connecticut,
Dobbins, a rival of the great Domino, was owned by Richard “Boss” Croker of Tammany Hall. Dobbins was foaled in Tennessee in 1891, the year his half sister Yorkville Belle was sweeping the races on the Eastern turf. Under the advice of Mike Dwyer, brother of Philip J. Dwyer, Croker purchased Dobbins as a yearling for the large sum of $20,000. As a two-year-old Dobbins seldom lost except to Domino. After a somewhat miscalculated ride in the very rich Futurity Stakes, Dobbins again lost to Domino. This chided Croker to challenge Domino’s owner James R. Keene to a match race, with each side putting up $10,000.
The incident was reported thusly in Frank Leslie’s Weekly, Vol. 77:
The excitement after the race was simply of the fever heat variety talk of a match for $25000 a side filled the air and were further intensified by a visit Mr. Keene to Mr. Croker during which much picturesque gesticulating was indulged in and then when Mr. Croker crossed over to the club house and interviewed Mr. Keene people fairly held their breath. One did not know but that the argument might result in a foot race between Keene and Croker over the Futurity course. Croker to carry Tammany Hall and Keene the Stock Exchange. What a chance for the handicappers At first it was thought that the match talk would end in vapor but on the morning of the 3lst tilt the turf world was startled and excited by the announcement of a match to take place that day for $l0,000 a side with $2.500 added by the Coney Island Jockey Club between Richard Croker’s ch c Dobbins by Mr. Pickwick Thora 118 pounds Simms and JR and FP Keene’s blk c Domino by Hamyar Mamie Grey ll8 pounds Taral. Futurity course: The match was started at 5.16 and resulted in a dead heat. At the turn into the home stretch Dobbins plainly had a slight advantage a great shout of “Dobbins” went up this was intensified when Taral went to the whip and Simms continued to sit still then Simms raised his whip and the Domino people shouted and howled and in another breath the gallant chestnut and gallant black flushed under the wire so close together that no human eyesight could separate them. Mr. Keene thought he had won by a nose and Mr. Croker thought the same thing of Dobbins. More talk resulted of course and more intense and pent up excitement existed for at least half an hour after the match had been run than I ever saw before on a race course. Finally both owners realized that to agree to a run off would surely ruin both colts for life they are only babies and it was decided to divide the stakes. For once the public were satisfied as the greenest of the green understood what a repetition of such a terrific struggle meant to the horses. Both Simms and Taral rode with superhuman energy and deserve the heartiest praise. The result will surely intensify thc interest in the next meeting of these equine heroes but which will hardly take place until next season.