Legends – Thoroughbred & Trainer
Martimas & Ed Whyte
On the morning of August 23, 1898, a groom was leading a young colt about the scarcely-built environs of Brooklyn, N.Y., looking for Sheepshead Bay race course. That afternoon the Futurity Stakes, a race for the best two-year-olds in America, would be run at the Coney Island Jockey Club track.
It had been a long day for Martimas, who was owned by William Hendrie of Hamilton. Following an overnight trip from Saratoga down the Hudson River to Manhattan, the colt was shipped by ferry to the docks in Brooklyn, about six miles from the track. The groom, after being misled many times and walking in circles for hours until he and Martimas were on the verge of exhaustion, arrived at the track 45 minutes before post time. With 23 horses at the post, many on their worst behaviour, it took the starter 1 1/2 hours to get the field away. Martimas broke on top and was never headed in this great classic that is now run at Belmont.
The money Hendrie earned in winning the rich Futurity was given to build the Martimas Wing at Hamilton General Hospital. A multiple stakes winner on U.S. tracks, Martimas also won the Toronto Cup at Woodbine and the Canadian Derby at Fort Erie for trainer Ed Whyte. Martimas sired King’s Plate winners Kelvin and Shimonese. When Martimas died in 1916 he was buried at the Hendrie’s Valley Farm in Aldershot near Hamilton. Near 1931 the farm was donated to the citizens of Hamilton and is now the Royal Botanical Gardens.
Whyte, one of the leading trainers at the turn of the century, ended the Seagram reign in the Plate when he won with Hendrie’s Butterscotch in 1899 and Lyddite in 1902. He also won the Plate in 1918 with Springside for G.M. Hendrie.