Give 'im hell, Charlie September 14 2009

1252954568459New York circa 1905. "The Belmont coach." Alfred Vanderbilt's Belmont Park four-in-hand passing the Holland House Hotel on Fifth Avenue.

Shorpy comment of the day: "From around 1900 and into the 1920s, Charles Hersig, founding owner of the Wyoming Hereford Ranch, and my father's guardian, bred and trained high quality carriage and riding horses that he sold every year to the horsey members of the New York 400. The team pulling Vanderbilt's drag (which is what they called these heavy English mail coaches) quite possibly came from Hersig. Each year he took a trainload of horses East, a couple of weeks before the start of the racing season at Belmont Park, and always sold out.

"His wife Ida told my father that one year around 1902, when she went with Charlie for the New York sale, they were invited to a customer's Opening Day box at the racetrack, and, ironically, Uncle Charlie had to rent a buggy and a skittish young horse from a livery stable to get there. The drive to Belmont Park was crowded with carriages and at least ten of these big yellow and black drags, loaded with millionaires, when Charlie's horse panicked and bolted.

"As Aunt Ida held on for dear life, Charlie stood up in the box like a charioteer to let the horse run himself out. She said she was pretty mortified when they passed Vanderbilt's drag, and he and all his friends were laughing in admiration, blowing on coach horns to clear the road ahead, and shouting 'Give 'im hell, Charlie, give 'im hell!' "

- Comment by willc on The Belmont Coach: 1905