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)