Henry Stull (American, 1851-1913)
MORRIS PARK HANDICAP, 1900
Oil on canvas, 25" x 40"
Maid of Harlem, Ethelbert, and Gonfalon depicted.
On the closing day of the meet, the little Maid of Harlem with jockey J. B. Slack aboard pulled off a massive upset when she beat Ethelbert in the Morris Park Handicap. Maid of Harlem entered the two-and-one-quarter mile handicap with odds of 6 to 1; Ethelbert stood as the odds-on favorite at 1 to 2.
The St. Louis Dispatch described the race thusly: They were sent off on the first break and Maid of Harlem went out to make the running with Gonfalon second and Jack Point and Ethelbert lapped a length away. This was the order for the first circuit of the track, but the pace was very slow. As they rounded the near turn for the second time, Slack sent his mount out and in a few strides was three lengths in front; this set the other boys to riding and Gonfalon and Ethelbert moved up to within a length of her going up the back stretch. Jack Point was beaten and soon Gonfalon dropped back and only Ethelbert was left to go on after the flying leader. At the head of the stretch it looked as if Ethelbert would come on and win, but when straightened out it was seen Odom was hard at work while Maid of Harlem was still going along comparatively easy in front. "The favorite's beaten, Ethelbert loses," was the astonished cry which went up from the big crowd, and so it proved. Try as he could, Ethelbert could not get nearer than one length to Maid of Harlem, and little Slack, after a clever and well-judged ride, brought her home by that margin.
Maid of Harlem was owned by Thomas Lister Watt's Osceola Stables and won several important races, perhaps the greatest of which was the controversial $25,000 Annual Championship at Sheepshead Bay. The Annual Championship of 1901 was run on the day that President McKinley succumbed to an assassin�s bullet. While the nation mourned, Maid of Harlem took home one of the most coveted races of the year. In beating Ethelbert, the 3-year-old U.S. champion, in the Morris Park Handicap, Maid of Harlem cemented her legacy as a top race mare of her day.
Ethelbert was bred by Eothen Stud in Middletown, Kentucky, and was owned by Perry Belmont. Ethelbert would prove to be one of Belmont's best racers, winning the Nursery Stakes, Lawrence Realization Stakes, Metropolitan Handicap, Brighton Cup, Standard Stakes, and many other prestigious races and setting a two-and-one-quarter-mile record in 1900. Ethelbert stood at Belmont's Nursery Stud in Kentucky and at his Haras de Villers in Normandy, France. His progeny proved useful on the racetrack but none more so than Fitz Herbert, the 1909 and 1910 American Horse of the Year.
Henry Stull captured a golden age of American racing. Stull was commissioned by nearly every top owner of the day to immortalize their finest horses by painting their portraits. While there are many examples of Stull's portraiture in both private and public collections, his racing scenes are extremely rare and highly prized among enthusiasts of the turf.