Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Marcus Daly’s Horses

Copper king Marcus Daly believed that the Bitterroot valley was the ideal place to breed and train trotters and thoroughbreds. The lush grass that grew there reminded him of his native Ireland. Daly figured that horses raised and trained at higher altitudes had more stamina. His Bitterroot Stock Farm had the best facilities. Daly imported veterinarians, trainers, and young African American jockeys to exercise the horses. Tammany was Daly’s most famous and most loved racehorse. He won both the Lawrence Realization and Withers Stake races at New York's Belmont Park in 1892.

Montana Historical Society Photograph Archives, H-3890
In 1893, a crowd of 15,000 witnessed Tammany defeat Lamplighter by four lengths in a legendary match race at New Jersey's Guttenberg track. Jockey Snapper Garrison led Tammany to such a breathtaking finish that it became known as a Garrison finish, a term defined in Webster’s dictionary. The win established Tammany as the East’s best thoroughbred racer from 1892 to 1894.

Tammany Castle. Photo by Tom Ferris in Hand Raised: The Barns of Montana
Daly built Tammany Castle for his champion and favorite pet; it presides at the top of a long, graceful drive. Cork floors half a foot thick imported from Spain protected the stallions from slipping, and the heated stalls were lined with velvet.  At his Montana Hotel in Anaconda, a mosaic of Tammany graced the lobby, but no one dared step on the revered horse’s head. After Daly’s death in 1900, his string of nearly two hundred thoroughbreds, including the beloved Tammany, were auctioned at a dispersal sale at Madison Square Garden in New York City and in San Francisco. Although none of Daly’s Montana-born horses were Kentucky Derby winners, his Bitter Root stock bloodlines went on to produce Kentucky Derby winners Regret, Paul Jones, Zev, and Flying Ebony.

P.S. Tammany's Castle has since been converted into a magnificent home, and it seems to be for sale. Would you buy it?
P.P.S. I'm featured on Reflections West this week. Listen.


  1. I am trying to find out what happened to Tammany after Marcus Daly died? Was he sold, if so to who and when and where? Also, when did he die and when and where?

    Thanks in advance for any Info...!

    1. Jockey Club records list Tammany as an active sire until 1902. Unfortunately, that is all the info I have.