Henri DeLattre (French/American, 1801-1876)
THE RACE BETWEEN MAC AND ZACHARY TAYLOR AT
HUNTING PARK COURSE, PHILADELPHIA, JULY 18, 1849
Oil on canvas, 23 3⁄4” x 43 3⁄4”
Signed, dated 1850
$75,000. – 100,000.
Harry T. Peters, Orange, Virginia
The Estate of Harry T. Peters, Christie’s sale, New York, June 4, 1982, Lot 95
Frost & Reed, Ltd, London
Mr. Arthur I Appleton, Ocala, Florida
Christie’s, New York, Sporting and Wildlife Art, December 3, 2008, Lot 32
New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Life in America, April 24 – October 29, 1939, no.151. Boston, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Sport in American Art, 1944, no.2.
Harry T. Peters, Currier and Ives, 1929, nos. 14 & 15. Frederick
A. Conningham, Currier and Ives Prints, 1970, no 3848 F. Turner
Reuter, Jr., Animal & Sporting Artists in America, The National
Sporting Library, Middleburg, Virginia , 2008, pg. 192.
Currier and Ives, 1851
Mac, a brown gelding by Morgan Post Boy out of a mare by Bush Messenger, had a highly successful racing career from 1848 to 1854, beating such greats as Lady Suffolk, Jack Rossiter, Grey Eagle, and Tacony.
On November 8, 1848 at Hunting Park Race Course, Philadelphia, Zachary Taylor, a chestnut gelding by Quimby Messenger, had beaten Grey Eagle in a race under saddle for a purse of $2,000. In consequence, his backers issued a challenge to the whole racing world, which culminated in the match race at the same course on July 18, 1949 for a purse of $500.
Zachary Taylor, owned by William King of Philadelphia and ridden by George Young, was opposed by Mac, owned by John McArdle of Albany, New York, and ridden by Gil Crane. The excitement of the race attracted over 50,000 spectators, and Mac was the victor. Race between Mac and Zachary Taylor at Huntington Park Bred in Maine of Morgan and Messenger blood, Mac was one of the fastest and most famous trotters of his day. His fame became so great that the owner of Zachary Taylor challenged Mac’s owners to a match in Philadelphia. The race took place on July 18, 1849, at Hunting Park Course and was a best three of five heats at one mile under saddle. Mac won the first three heats in 2:31, 2:30, and 2:35. Remnants of Hunting Park can still be seen today in the north Philadelphia neighborhood bearing its name. The estate originally belonged to James Logan, William Penn’s secretary, and in 1815 a parcel of 45 acres was sold for a racecourse. The track had a short lifespan as betting on horses was outlawed in Philadelphia in 1854.
The Henri DeLattre painting of the great trotters Mac and Zachary Taylor was reproduced in 1851 by Currier, and it is considered to be one of the best large folios done by Currier & Ives.