Monmouth Park’s biggest day of the year is the Haskell. There is great racing and a really big crowd. A lot of the crowd comes to increase their collection of racing memorabilia with the traditional Haskell Hat giveaway. Monmouth has been giving hats away since at least 1988.
I must admit that I, too, have some racing memorabilia, although my collections cover many areas, the least of which are hats. I am not sure why, but somehow it is important for me to have racing stuff.
Certainly my biggest category of memorabilia relates to Secretariat because for me everything in racing goes back to Big Red. I have got Secretariat pin back buttons, books about Secretariat, the famous Time, Newsweek and Sports Illustrated magazine covers of Secretariat, Secretariat artwork, Secretariat tee shirts, Secretariat poker chips, and trading cards of Secretariat. I got most of the stuff on Ebay and I can remember getting involved in many bidding wars with another collector named bigred51. Ebay became our version of the Keeneland yearling sales with bigred51 and I playing the parts of the Sheiks from Dubai and the Coolmore group. Recently, however, it seems that bigred51 has been dispersing his holdings.
I have a significant collection of Kentucky Derby glasses that began because my wife and I inherited her grandfather’s collection. There are about 30 glasses, with my favorites being 1973 and 1974 because 1973 was Secretariat’s victory and 1974 was when he first appeared on a glass. Now my tradition is a trip to Monmouth Park on the morning of the first Saturday in May, to make my Derby bets and to buy this year’s issue.
I do love the pin back buttons. Different tracks have issued buttons over the years. The buttons commemorate Triple Crown winners or just a track’s most popular horses. Who do you like? I’ve got Forego,
Silver Charm, Real Quiet, Funny Cide, Whirlaway, Holy Bull, Seattle Slew, to name just some, and four of a particular Secretariat button of which I am apparently quite fond. In 2009 I quickly gathered up as many Rachel Alexandra buttons as possible.
Of course one has to have a meaningful racing library. I have first editions of the Bill Nack and Raymond Woolfe Secretariat books. There are books about famous thoroughbreds, training methods, the artwork of Richard Stone Reeves, and volumes about handicapping. I used the texts by Andy Beyer to learn how make speed figures in the 1970’s.
Do you the like to collect Sports Illustrated covers because at one time I did? I have Affirmed, Genuine Risk, Spectacular Bid, and Secretariat winning the Derby. When I had a subscription to Blood Horse magazine they had Zenyatta on the cover counting her consecutive victories. Make me an offer and they could all belong to you.
Keep in mind that this is all in good fun and did not require significant expenditures. And please erase that image that you must be developing of my home. In no way is my house a candidate for the TV show, Hoarders, Buried Alive. I have all of this stuff neatly packed away in boxes that are out of sight. I recycle my Racing Forms the next day and do not have piles magazines in my bedroom.
I cannot be the only one out there with a collection of racing memorabilia? What do you collect? Post a comment and let the Horse Racing Nation know. Maybe we can trade!
ABC’s of the Monmouth Hall of Champions -Today John Henry – The legendary John Henry, who was sold as a yearling for $1,100, raced 83 times earning $6,597,947 from 39-15-6 finishes. He won seven Eclipse Awards including Horse of the Year in 1981 and 1984 at the age of 9. In his career he won 30 stakes races. John Henry ran at Monmouth Park 3 times winning once in an allowance race on the dirt in 1979. He was inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in 1990. John Henry ranks 22 in the Horse Racing Nation 250 Top Horses of All-Time with an 8.89/10 rating.