For many years it was a toss-up in America whether horse racing or boxing was America's second most favorite spectator sport. Horse racing's popularity steadily grew as boxing became more crooked and baseball more predictable. Bigger payouts helped increase interest too, though the track was also a good place to get one's pocket picked. Fans who bet on Head Play in the 1933 Kentucky Derby might have thought they were robbed by Broker's Tip jockey Don Meade, who allegedly fouled the favorite's jockey, Herb Fisher. Both riders fought through the stretch and in the jockey room afterward, but the foul was disallowed. Man O' War's day had come and gone, but his scions—Battleship and War Admiral—would step into winner's circles in the 1930s.
Gallant Fox, a three-year-old ridden by jockey Earl Sande, burst out of the starting gate at the beginning of the decade and looked as though he would...
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