"A Dark Horse"

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Last Updated on January 19, 2017, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 129

Context: In The Young Duke; A Moral Tale though Gay, written in 1829, Disraeli tells the story of the twenty-one year old George Augustus Frederick, Duke of St. James. Chapter Five of the second volume describes a horse race in which the Duke's Sanspareil is running against Mr. Dash's The Dandy, with odds of five to one. The race ends with "all the ten-to-oners at the rear," trailing an unexpected winner. Actually it was a dark-colored horse, but the expression today has no regard for color. It refers to any unexpected winner. As Disraeli describes the finish of the race:

. . . and a dark horse which had never been thought of, and which the careless St. James had never even observed in the list, rushed past the grandstand in sweeping triumph.

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