Fans noticed a new Belmont at the opening of the 1913 season; renovations had altered the familiar plant. Underneath an extensive diagram of the refurbished courses, The Daily Racing Form wrote that, “Since racing has been resumed over the most extensive and commodious plant in America it is fitting that readers should have an opportunity to refresh their memories as to its various courses.”
Belmont’s main distinction continued to stand out: races there were run to the left instead of the traditional American right. Direction couldn’t save the favorite Rock View that year, when fans blamed a jockey for the upset victory by Prince Eugene over Rock View, who belonged to August Belmont.
“Rock View had beaten him so easily when they met last time that he was expected to duplicate the feat this afternoon, and he would have done it but for a careless ride on the part of Tommy McTaggart,” wrote The Daily Racing Form reporter.
According to The Form’s report, McTaggart, knowing his horse had easily beaten Prince Eugene and others, held him back in second place. It wasn’t until jockey Roscoe Troxler pushed up with Prince Eugene that McTaggart realized what he had done wrong: he was stuck in a “pocket” in the field, trapped while Prince Eugene seized the lead, speeding to a half-length victory.
McTaggart had had a rough day, losing the first race on the day’s card even though he was riding an odds-on favorite named Gallop.
“But this was no fault of McTaggart’s,” the article stated, “as Gallop swerved badly during the running of the race when struck with the whip.” The New York Telegram agreed about the swerving: “Had this not been the case, he would have given the winner a much harder race and probably would have beaten him.”
Troxler brooked no…