Rail Runner

The Observations of a Horse Racing Enthusiast

Racehorse Biographies

Chase Me: The Gentle Warrior

The Maryland Bosleys were known for one thing, a great love for anything equine. They had their fingers in just about every equine pie you could imagine; racing, dressage, and jumping. John Bosley trained jumpers and hunters for the Maryland set and Mrs. Elizabeth Bosley was known to be just as good a trainer as her husband, if not better. In 1929 they purchased a mare from the dispersion of oil tycoon Harry Sinclair’s stable named Mayanel. Mayanel was in-foal to the great Sinclair stallion Purchase at the time. Shortly after buying Mayanel the mare gave birth to a brown colt with unusually large knees. After veterinarians told Mrs. Elizabeth Bosley the colt would never make a good racer due to his abnormally large knees, she decided to geld the newly named Chase Me and make him a saddle horse and family pet.

After being rejected early as a racing prospect Chase Me was given to the Bosley’s oldest daughter, 16 year old Sara, to train as a jumper. Chase Me turned out to be a pretty decent jumper and earned young Sara enough ribbons to cover the walls of her bedroom. All three of the Bosley children loved Chase Me and treated him as part of the family. His gentle personality and endearing temperament latched onto the hearts of the entire family and he became everyone’s favorite pet. Even the youngest children were allowed to ride the gentle gelding unsupervised because of his disposition. They taught him every trick imaginable over the years; rearing on his hind legs, begging for food, rolling over and playing dead, were just a few. He learned one particular trick that endeared him immediately to all the Bosley farm visitors. When given a cube of sugar he insisted on kissing his benefactor right in the face. Chase Me remained the loving family pet until he turned four years old, learning tricks from the children and being treated like a favorite son.

One day in the spring of 1933 Mrs. Bosley needed a work-mate for her promising race horse Lord Johnson. Chase Me was the only horse available so he was saddled up and the exercise boy was instructed to set a pace for Lord Johnson. Mrs. Bosley watched the work from the sidelines and was amazed at what she saw. Coming to the end of the work, Chase Me easily picked up his pace and blew on by his running companion, effortlessly extending his lead. So much for being a family pet, Chase Me had become an intriguing racing prospect. Mrs. Bosley began to use Chase Me against the best horses she had in her stable with the same results each time. After every workout Chase Me would drag the exercise boy over to the rail where Mrs. Bosley stood watching, and whinny for his cube of sugar which he always received. After several more works against progressively better runners Mrs. Bosley decided it was time to see how good Chase Me really was.

On September 28, 1933 the four-year-old Chase Me was entered in a cheap race for maidens at Havre De Grace. As the assistant starter reached out his hand to take the geldings reins to lead him into the gate, Chase Me lovingly lifted his hoof and shook hands with the startled assistant. He was an immediate favorite with the crowd. At the break Chase Me came out slowly and was last to leave the gate, trailing the field through the backstretch. Coming into the homestretch everything had changed. From dead last, Chase Me surged ahead coming off the turn and opened up by 20 lengths under the line. The Bosley’s were ecstatic and Mrs. Bosley especially was pleased that her faith in the gallant little gelding had been rewarded. She decided to try him against better allowance horses next out. On October 16 Chase Me emerged at Laurel Park to contest an allowance race for three year olds and up. He entered as a maiden winner and emerged as a powerhouse. After this victory Chase Me won yet another race at Laurel and two others at Pimlico and Bowie Race Track in allowance company before facing a new challenge. In his final start of 1933 Mrs. Bosley entered him in the Brian O’Hara Memorial Handicap at Bowie Race Track and watched as her beloved pet crushed the field by open lengths yet again.

To kick off his five-year-old season Chase Me made mince-meat of the Strathmore Handicap field at Pimlico, proving yet again that he was something out of the ordinary. He seemed to treat running the same way he treated everything else: learn it right and get the reward. It didn’t matter if it was just a trick or a stakes race; it made no difference to him.

After his easy victory in the Strathmore, Mrs. Bosley decided to go for the gold with her precious race horse and entered him against the great Equipoise in the Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park on May 19th. By this time Chase Me had developed quite a reputation with 7 wins from 7 starts and was made the second favorite behind Equipoise.

Chase Me broke slowly from the gate as usual and took up his customary position toward the rear of the field, with Equipoise about a length ahead. Mrs. Bosley watched anxiously from her box in the Belmont stands, eyes glued to her gelding through her field glasses as the horses approached the far turn. Into the far turn the field lunged and Chase Me began to surge to the lead at the urging of jockey Fred Slate, edging past Equipoise who was also making his bid for the lead. Past the five-sixteenths pole Chase Me hit the front with Equipoise glued to his side, the crowd going nuts, Mrs. Bosley urging her gallant runner on for all she was worth.

Fred Slate aboard Chase Me suddenly heard a loud pop and the ground rose into his face before he had time to react. Chase Me stumbled badly, throwing Slate clear. Gasps escaped from the crowd as the gelding’s body helplessly somersaulted across the track and lay in a writhing heap. Elizabeth Bosley watched in horror as the most unimaginable nightmare was lived out in front of her. Above the roar of the crowd, now cheering for a victorious Equipoise, a single scream of sheer terror rang out. Mrs. Bosley rushed to the track, slamming bodies aside as she drove for her beloved animal lying helpless in the dirt. Squeezing under the rail she ran first to Slate and made sure he was alright then rushed to the side of Chase Me. As she approached the ravished body of her gentle pet Mrs. Bosley heard that all too familiar whinny as Chase Me recognized his adored owner. Her heart tore inside as she saw the terror in his eyes. By this time the crowd had realized the situation and silence ensued as they watched the traumatic event unfold. An assistant got Chase Me on his feet and began to lead him behind the inner track hedge. Mrs. Bosley threw her arms around Chase Me, tears pouring down her face in anguish as she said goodbye. While the crowd watched silently, Chase Me disappeared from view behind the hedge. Seconds later a single shot rang across the track followed by a woman’s cry. Chase Me had run his last race.

Chase Me was the ultimate thoroughbred; a perfect racehorse and the perfect family pet and companion. It was reported that his foreleg snapped high near his shoulder during the race, possibly the result of having crossed his two front legs while navigating the turn. His final record of 7 wins from 8 starts was nothing short of brilliant, but the manner of the grand little gelding is what was truly remarkable. Chase Me embodied not just the will, ability, and talent of the thoroughbred, but the wonderful, loving spirit as well.

Sources: Library at Keenland, Pedigree Online: Thoroughbred Database, The Milwaukee Sentinel (Dan Parker)

28 Responses to “Racehorse Biographies”

  1. Great writing, Brian! Lots of detail, and thorough examination of the facts. I can tell you did your research!

  2. Carla Ruth said

    This bittersweet biography is well written Brian. Where did you hear about Chase Me?

    • Thanks Carla, I read a 2-paragraph mention of him in an old book on different racehorses when I was about 12 and I’ve wanted to write about him ever since. It took me several years of on-and-off searching to find some substantial info on him.

      • Carla Ruth said

        I think that you became interested in horse racing in the same way that I did. I read about it in elementary school starting with the Black Stallion and then reading I guess what were fictional accounts of Man O’ War, Seabiscuit, Exterminator, Black Gold, etc… My favorite was always Man O’ War. My husband argues that Secretariat was the best, but I can accept no other but Man O’ War! (Well except maybe Zenyatta!(lol))

  3. Great article, Brian. (I’m assuming this is the horse bio that you referenced earlier to me in our talk about horses.) I had never heard of this horse until you posted the article. Thanks. :)

  4. Brian Kerr said

    Thank you. I work at The Maryland Club and everyone knows that I am a horse racing fanatic. One of the members was telling me if I knew of the horse Chase Me which was part of his family legacy before he was born. So glad that I could find such heart-wrenching info to give to him. Your account made me weep.

  5. […] nice, simple seal or logo for his blog. (While you’re visiting his blog, check out his “Racehorse Biographies” page, where he has a concise, fascinating, and moving biography of Chase Me, a horse with a […]

  6. Josh said

    Great writing as per usual Brian! I think this story should be made into a movie. However, you know movies they typically have to end on a happy note so perhaps the ending could be changed so that he somehow breeds with another horse before his last race? That way we are left with the horse being born as opposed to Chase Me’s sudden and tragic death. The story of Chase Me reminds me to live my life to its fullest potential and to love uninhibitedly and that ultimately none of us know when it will be our time to leave this earth and say goodbye to one another until we meet again in the hereafter. Thanks for sharing such a great and moving story!

    • Laura said

      No, no, a thousand times NO. First of all, Chase Me was a gelding, so he couldn’t sire any foals. Second, having him randomly sire a foal would be changing the facts. Why insert lies into the story? And it’s definitely not one I would ever want to see filmed, since it’s tragic. I bet that family wished they had never sent their pet to the track. :(

  7. Fine Filly said

    Beautifully written, I was engrossed. What a sad end. It must be a very difficult thing to witness.

    • Thank you, I’m glad you found it engaging. I was so struck and moved by Chase Me’s story when I first heard about it years ago that I determined I was going to write about it someday.

  8. A very touching biography. What a character Chase Me was. It may have been some consolation that his untimely end came whilst he was doing what he loved doing best – racing.

  9. Louis bosley said

    I am the grandson of Elizabeth Bosley and John Bosley very well done, a couple of notes,he also would fetch a stick from a pond. Clark Gable spent a week at the Bosley farm trying to talk my grandmother in to making a movie about him I have a picture of Gable shaking chase me,s leg. Also all the Bosley children were all very good horseman and horse women and just about all the grandchildren are someway still connected to horses professionally . I have to say the Bosley family is a very colorful family and have many story’s about horses and the people in the business. It would be a great movie

    • Hi Louis,

      Wow, that’s so neat, I’m glad you came on and shared that with me!
      The entire story of Chase Me and the Bosley family really struck a chord with me, I think it’s the perfect example of a family who loved their horses above all else and loved to excel with them.
      Is there any way you could send me a copy of the picture with Clark Gable and Chase Me? I would love to see that. I agree, what I know of the story would make a wonderful film!
      Thank you so much!

  10. Very nice site! Regards from Argentina!

  11. Christopher Dugan said

    It just amazes how people treat a family pet that they supposedly love so much…as something to profit from and obtain glory. I hope the Mrs. was haunted by her decision to race the beloved family pet for the remainder of her life. How sickening rich people are.

  12. Mary Zinke said

    Brian, I had not previously heard of Chases Me, but looked him up after someone mentioned him this week at Bloodhorse. I miss your h r n blogs. Thank you for this account of Chases Me, a remarkable Thoroughbred.

  13. Sarah said

    I just learned of Chase Me when I acquired a book called “Bobcat”, the follow-up story to a favorite childhood book “High Courage”, by the noted horseman and horse artist C.W. Anderson, who was probably best known for his “Billy and Blaze” series of children’s books. Both books feature stories of famous Thoroughbreds of the past, as related by the character of Holley, groom to the family in the books. The story of Chase Me is certainly one of the most poignant of all these stories, and I thought you might be interested in the connection.

    Thank you for the touching account of Chase Me’s life. So nice to know these special horses are still remembered.

    • I’m really glad you enjoyed it Sarah. It took me several years to get together enough information to write an interesting story on Chase Me, but he has such a great story! I loved the “Billy and Blaze” books when I was a kid and the illustrations were beautiful. I’ll have to check out “Bobcat”, thank you very much for letting me know!

  14. Richard Herbert,M.D. said

    There is a bit more to the story of Chase Me. In 1934 before his first start of the year and his 7th and last win, he was worked at the H.D.G. track a 5 f. prep. After his typically leisure start he picked it up good, blazing through the last furlong and clocking 1 min. flat for the 5/8 ths …..pretty good, in 1934 real good considering the slow start. But what took place next strains credulity. Chase Me couldn’t be pulled up and ran nearly another quarter mile before he was. A second clocker, watching the work, left his watch running another furlong to see if he could get a 6 f. time. What he stopped his watch on became a backstretch legend, a story told again and again for more than a half century until everyone who saw it died. I was told the story in the mid 1960’s by a retired jock named Charlie Martin working as a ticket seller at the old Sportsman’s Park outside Chicago. Chase Me got 6f. (after a leisurely start) in 1:10 1/5. Chase me ran a last quarter mile in the work in something under 21 sec. after a half in probably 49 and change. A final furlong in 10 1/5. He carried a 140 lb. exercise rider. That brush placed the gelding, as for sheer speed, in the storied past of racing. Martin claimed Chase Me had the fastest move he ever saw. He saw the best horses in the East and Florida from 1927 through Spectacular Bid before he died. R. Herbert, M.D.

    • That’s an incredible story, thank you very much Richard, I love hearing more about this incredible horse, he was so unique and talented.

      • Richard Herbert,M.D. said

        For a time now, nearly no one who saw the horse are still here. You were very accurate gathering and recounting his story. His breeding included, on the sire side St. Simon and on the dam side Kingston….no better combination great racers AND sires ever lived.
        Carl Hanford, the trainer of Kelso had a jock brother …his name escapes me here…who told the late Dickie Jenkins (Hanford’s assistant and Kelso’s exclusive exercise rider and my good friend) that Kelso was fast as lightening as a young horse and then the best horse he ever saw as he aged, as many have said. But for a quarter mile….within a race…not the start… Chase Me could move on any horse no matter what that horse had left. He had a huge motor, an enormous stride, and dropped very low stretching out…much like Kelso. His speed might have come from Kingston who ran a six f. in the late 1800’s in 1:08 flat. Chase Me’s speed lived on in bits and pieces of stories once told on backstretches from real memories….now, at least some of that has been recorded. R. Herbert, M.D.

  15. Dale said

    Ira Hanford was the jockey brother of Kelso’s trainer, Carl. He was nicknamed Babe and rode Bold Venture to victory in the KD, but I believe was taken off him for the Preakness

    • Richard Herbert said

      Thank you for remembering Ira Hanford’s name for me…..he deserves to be remembered for the excellent rider he was. Both brothers were jockeys, Ira the more accomplished but, of course, Carl, destined to train one of the truly great race horses and arguably the best ……to ever look through a bridle…Kelso. R. Herbert

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