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Remembering Single G
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Remembering Single G

There have been many legendary horses in the history of horse racing. Seabiscuit is a case in point. One of the greatest racehorses in history, Single G, was not a thoroughbred. His lineage was undistinguished. However, talking of racehorses, Single G was one of the most successful. This harness racer from Indiana is one of the legends of horse racing.

Called Single G because of a ‘G’ mark on the forehead, he was a crowd puller. It could be argued that he singlehandedly brought the crowd back to harness racing. He was fearless in the face of competition, even from the legendary Dan Patch, and kept his place consistently throughout his racing years. In 1913, he made his debut in Terre Haute. He would go on to start in 434 races and won 98 of those. This was an unprecedented feat in itself. He received placing in 418 races, which record has not yet been broken.

Legend has it that he ran his fastest race when he was 13 years of age. The time he made was matched and bettered only by Dan Patch, another great racing horse. Single G’s illustrious career spanned 14 years which earned him the nickname, ‘The horse that time forgot.’ Quite an apt epithet indeed.

Anderson Wilkes, his owner, foaled him out of Little Gyp in 1910. He was by no means the ideal racehorse. His appearance was shaggy and his temper uncontrollable. William Barefoot of Cambridge City bought him for the bargain price of $275. Soon after, he suffered from a bout of distemper and was nursed back to health. This is when he developed a bond with humans which would eventually stand him in good stead. He mellowed down and could now be controlled by humans. William Barefoot was known to have loved Single G inordinately. So much so that when in 1915, a blank check offer was made him for the horse, after the Chamber of Commerce stakes in Detroit, he turned it down.

Indianapolis is where Single G would winter and practice. Crowds of people would gather to watch Single G arrive and practice. He was clearly the darling of the masses. The crowd following and popular sentiment for this not so thoroughbred was massive. He retired in 1926. The R.H. Granger farm took him in to stud. The farm was situated to the west of Centerville, very close to his birthplace. He died in 1940, at the ripe age of 30. Another epithet that he earned was, ‘pacer of the half-century.’

The Single G Memorial was built in and dedicated to his memory. His bones were eventually returned to Cambridge City on July 4, 1962. It was part of the dedication of the memorial. It is here that the US Bank at 100 W. Main St. has a mural dedicated to him by artist Pamela Bliss. A book has been written in his memory. It is called, ‘Single G; the horse that time forgot’ authored by Marie Hill. in this book, the author goes on to talk about Single G’s on track and off track life.

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