As one horse lover to another

The June 12 1933 edition of the Toronto Daily Star has been a bountiful source of material for this blog! Here’s a photo from this edition: Lord Derby has just won the Derby.

That’s an unflattering angle for the photograph of Lord Derby: he looks like the person that you see when you draw a Chance or Community Chest card in Monopoly.

Edward Stanley, the 17th Earl of Derby (1865-1948) was twice the Secretary of State for War in the British cabinet – once during part of the First World War – and was the ambassador to France from 1918 to 1920. He was also, needless to say, a horse racing enthusiast.

The Earls of Derby, in their present incarnation, go back to 1485. The Derby, sometimes called the Epsom Derby after the place where it is held, is a horse race that originated in 1780. It was named after Edward Smith-Stanley, the 12th Earl of Derby. The Kentucky Derby takes its name from this race.

The 12th Earl won the race in 1787 with a horse named Sir Peter Teazle. This was the first time a Derby had won the Derby; the next two were by the 17th Earl in 1924 and 1933, as mentioned in the caption of the photograph above.

The 17th Earl also won the race in 1942, thus maintaining a consistent nine-year gap between victories. No Derby has won it since. (Many modern stagings of the Derby have been won by the team of John Magnier and Michael Tabor, sometimes with partners.)

One other bit of sporting trivia related to the Earls of Derby: traditionally, all of them have been named Edward, which is a tradition that has continued since 1689. The one exception was Frederick Stanley, who became the 16th Earl when his older brother passed away. (His first-born was named Edward, because of course he was.) Before becoming the 16th Earl, Lord Stanley of Preston (as he was named between 1886 and 1893) became the Governor-General of Canada, serving in that post between 1888 and when he became the Earl.

While in Canada, Lord Stanley’s sons became enthusiastic hockey players; Lord and Lady Stanley became staunch fans. This prompted Lord Stanley to donate a challenge cup in 1892, originally called the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup but later referred to as simply the Stanley Cup. The Cup was a challenge cup for amateur teams until 1909, at which time only professional teams started competing for it. It became the exclusive property of the National Hockey League in 1926.

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