Court Hall Remembers . . .
Quebec vs. Lewis P.
(Recollections of Jackson County Sporting Events by Veteran Sportsman.)
Court Hall Remembers---
As time passes, one stops to consider what has become of all the thoroughbred horses that used to race at the county fairs up and down the Pacific Coast. In the early days one could gaze upon the finest of horseflesh prancing to and fro with wide-open nostrils before the grandstands of our county fairs. These horses were bred and trained to run mile heats, and an occasional race was run at a mile and one-half dash. Nowadays at our county fairs we see horses that can run barely one-half mile, and that in very slow time. The one-mile record of 1.41 in Southern Oregon is held by Carrie M., a beautiful bay mare that made this time on the Central Point track. Before the Central Point track was opened, races used to be held at what was then known as the Deskins ranch, a little east of the county bridge at Tolo. The whole country would gather at these meetings, indulge in betting on races or playing poker in Deskin's old ranch house.
At one of these meetings, about thirty of the boys were arrested for playing poker. This happened during Tom Kent's administration as district attorney. The arrest created considerable consternation among the sporting fraternity, as nothing like this had ever happened here before. However, all the boys were let off with a moderate fine, and the old poker game went on as usual.
There were no more country horse races after the fairgrounds were located at Central Point. That quiet little city of today was the sporting center of Southern Oregon at that time. One mile-heat race I remember well was run during one of the fairs held at Central Point. The main contenders of the race were a horse named Quebec, owned by John Withrow of Eugene, and Lewis P., brought here from Montana by a man named Turney. Quebec looked every inch a racehorse and had met with considerable success running long-distance races up and down the Pacific coast. Lewis P.'s leg had gone bad up in Montana, but Turney, his jockey had nursed him along easily until it was thought that his legs were sound again. Turney hocked Lewis P. to C. C. McClendon of Sams Valley for $4000.00 and bet the whole sum on the result of the race.
On the day of the race both horses got away to a beautiful start in the first heat. Around the first turn they went neck and neck, and continued in that position almost the entire mile, and after a desperate struggle Quebec won by a short neck. In the second heat Lewis P. got away to a good start, and at the half-mile post was leading by a length, which advantage Lewis P. held to the finish. The Quebec betters were now trying to hedge, but found very few takers. The excitement was intense as the horses came out for the third heat. Again they got off to a perfect start and raced around the first three-quarters side by side. Breaking into the home stretch, Lewis P. began forging ahead. The hard struggle was too much for Lewis P.'s leg; a length in the lead two jumps from the wire Lewis P.'s leg gave way, he fell and Quebec won the race. Some hard luck for Turney, who had lost all his money on the race and Lewis P. besides. Turney was compelled to borrow money from his friends in order to get back to Montana again.
Medford Mail Tribune, March 30, 1930, page 6
Last revised December 6, 2009